As buxom Joan Harris in the hit TV drama Mad Men, Christina Hendricks has attracted a worldwide following of admirers for both her curvy figure and bold body confidence.
The 39-year-old actress, who was voted “the sexiest woman in the world” by Esquire’s female readers in 2010, has been a scene stealer on the 1960s-set series as the sassy secretary at advertising agency Sterling Cooper.
But filming this year has been a bittersweet experience for Christina, as the cast wraps up their seventh and final season.
“It will have been nine years working together by the time we’re done,” Christina laments.
“I’ve been grieving it for a very long time. I think I’m finally getting to a place of acknowledgment where I’m excited about the future, new projects and hanging out with my husband.”
Married to fellow actor Geoffrey Arend since 2009, Christina already has a number of projects in the works, after spending her five month break from Mad Men each year working on other roles.
Now the award winner is in hot demand – after a small part in Drive alongside Ryan Gosling, he cast Christina in his directorial debut, Lost River, which premiered at Cannes Film Festival last month. She also has two movies, including one alongside Charlize Theron, due out later this year.
With an enviable figure and great attitude to boot, Christina credits her family for instilling a strong sense of pride in her appearance from a young age.
“I was raised with a very open and celebratory attitude about one’s body,” she says.
"My mum told me to be proud of everything that God gave me and just use it to my advantage, rather than worry about whether people thought I was too heavy or whatever.”
The flame-haired beauty says Hollywood’s obsession with appearance deeply angers her, as well as the notion that beauty comes in one distinct dress size.
“There are so many different body types,” she exclaims. “Why should there be only one concept of beauty?
“Earlier in my career, I had so many people tell me that if I would lose weight, it would help me get work. But I never believed that. I felt beautiful the way I was and in the end, that faith in myself has paid off.”
Christina, a natural blonde, first dyed her tresses to her trademark red hue at 10 years old, when she was obsessed with Anne of Green Gables.
Her iconic red hairdo has now become part of the fabric of her character, but Christina says she shares a number of similarities with Joan’s appearance.
“I’ve had a go-to look for years that’s pretty similar to [my character] Joan Harris’. I do black liquid eyeliner along my top lashes, rosy cheeks and pink, red or coral lips. That feels the most me,” she smiles.
“I’m pretty good [with liquid liner], I have to say! My make-up artist on the show may not agree!”
Christina says part of the secret to her success – and staying grounded – is to keep a calming morning routine whenever possible.
“I’m not a shower person, so I always start my day with a bath,” she says. “There’s something about having water poured over my head first thing in the morning that seems aggressive!”
She’ll then have her only cup of coffee for the day while sitting down to breakfast.
“I don’t really like the taste of it,” she confesses, “but I love the smell. It’s about having something aromatic and warm in my hand first thing.”
And Christina always spends some time during the day being kind to herself and counting her blessings – something she says women need to do more of!
“We all need to look in the mirror and see the things that are beautiful in ourselves, and to remind ourselves of what those things are.”
Words by: Frances White