Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks: Modern Day Body Image Superwoman

I know, I know I’m late but I just recently got in to Mad Men. I was instantly enthralled! not only because the era was so interesting with the gender dynamics, the racial issues and of course the impeccable fashion but because the female characters were so rich and diverse. Diverse not only in personality but in look. I think Mad Men might be the only show that represents all types of women, real women not Hollywood’s version of what women are “supposed” to look like. Christina Hendricks is a prime example of that. She plays Joan Holloway (Harris) the Head Diva in charge of office management, she is in charge of the women behind (and under) the men at the Sterling Cooper advertisement agency.

(Hendricks and Joan Holloway)

She is the Marilyn Monroe zaftig red head that knows how to work her assets while keeping the wolves at bay. She is a tall, full figured woman the likes of which we seldom see on television or movies especially as the “object of desire”. There is such a confidence in the comportment that Hendricks gives Holloway, Joan is not only comfortable but confident in her shape and size, and it is glorious to watch. When I started to read interviews with her I was pleased to hear that Hendricks as a woman was as confident and comfortable with her body as her character and has been very out spoken about being a “larger” woman in Hollywood. Where the gauntlet was somewhat thrust into her hands because of the success of the show she has taken it up and been a spokes woman for the female body image in Hollywood. Here is a wonderful article with Hendricks that only solidified by respect and admiration for her!

‘I’m learning to celebrate what I was born with’: Why life is shaping up nicely for Christina Hendricks

Can there ever have been a more magnificent TV creation than Mad Men’s Joan Holloway? The indispensable office manager of Sterling Cooper and its breakaway ad agency, Joan is a woman capable of filleting secretaries with a single glance and subduing men with her incredible embonpoint (‘How does she not fall over?’ one potential client enquired).

Her majestic curves and waspish pronouncements seem to give Joan all the approachability of a lipstick-wearing crocodile, so it’s a pleasure to find that Christina Hendricks, the actress who portrays her, is not only approachable
but fun and girlie, too. ‘I love playing Joan because she’s such a departure from who I am. In season one I thought, “Oh Lord, this woman is terrifying – I couldn’t be her friend!”, but now I think I would be friends with Joan because she’s so strong and pretty wonderful,’ says Christina, adding: ‘I’d just ask her not to tell me what she really thinks all the time.’

But while Joan radiates impenetrable glamour, Christina herself is even prettier – softer and fresher (and at 5ft 8in, taller than you expect), but still exuding the creamy voluptuousness that has caused fans of both sexes to sigh in disbelief. Today her Mad Men wardrobe of fitted skirts and pillbox hats has been replaced by jeans, purple heels and a cream top (with cinched-in waist, naturally). Though it took her a while to get used to putting on Joan’s accoutrements, Christina is now a seasoned pro. ‘I was huffing and puffing into those things initially,’ she says, ‘but now I’m flipping on the garters with ease. It’s so great at the beginning of each season to see what’s in our characters’ wardrobes!’
We meet in the Koreatown district of Los Angeles in a charmingly unassuming café far from the glam environs of Beverly Hills, hours before Christina, 36, is due to attend the opening of a new Vivienne Westwood boutique. She’s a longtime fan of the British designer, ‘because her clothes allow you to show your waistline and shoulders and accentuate your bust,’ she says. ‘As a woman with curves, I love that her clothes unapologetically celebrate women.’

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