Curvy star sees red over slim pick­ings

Christina Hen­dricks cham­pi­ons the hour­glass fig­ure, write Veronica Parker Dar­ren Devlyn

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Cover Story -

SHE’S RENOWNED for her shock of red hair, dan­ger­ous curves and for prowl­ing her work­place in body-hug­ging dresses. She’s Mad Men’s vamp­ish ad­ver­tis­ing agency siren Joan Har­ris and ac­tor Christina Hen­dricks sim­ply can’t get enough of play­ing her.

Such an im­pact has the hour­glass-fig­ured Hen­dricks made as this proto-fem­i­nist war­rior that she’s looked upon as a role model for her tal­ent and her torso.

So what does Ten­nessee­born Hen­dricks, 35, make of all the fuss?

‘‘ I’m thank­ful that I’m get­ting recog­ni­tion and the se­ries is so highly re­garded,’’ Hen­dricks says.

‘‘ I love the way Joan can con­trol other women with her at­ti­tude and ma­nip­u­late men just by putting her a---in their sights.

‘‘ I love the out­fits Joan gets to wear and I’m not at all em­bar­rassed by the tight fit. They’re part of her power look in some way and it’s part of the sex­ual pol­i­tics of her time. Those dresses are part of her com­bat uni­form.’’

Life wasn’t al­ways so easy for the woman who brings a melan­choly sub­text and mul­ti­ple lay­ers to a role that goes far be­yond the ob­vi­ous camp el­e­ments in­her­ent in a woman who struts around in her ’ 60s era dresses.

Hen­dricks, whose sex sym­bol sta­tus is set to turn her into a movie star — she has filmed Life As We Know It with Kather­ine Heigl and will next year ap­pear along­side Adrien Brody and James Caan in De­tach­ment — says she could eas­ily have suc­cumbed to in­dus­try pres­sure to starve her­self thin.

‘‘ I give credit to my mum, who told me to feel good about my ap­pear­ance and not feel em­bar­rassed about my body be­cause she was never wor­ried about look­ing too big or feel­ing fat. I started out as a model and when I went to Italy to build my book I gained 15 pounds (6.8 kg) from all the pasta and cap­pu­ci­nos that were part of my life over there.

‘‘ I saw my body change and I loved how it changed my ap­pear­ance and how it made me look more wom­anly and sexy.

‘‘ Peo­ple in the in­dus­try, ei­ther di­rectly or in­di­rectly, have been telling me to lose weight for years but I like the way I look and only once did I find my­self los­ing a lot of weight af­ter a bad break-up.

‘‘ But then Taye Diggs ( Pri- vate Prac­tice), an ac­tor who was work­ing with me on Kevin Hill, the TV se­ries I did be­fore Mad Men, came up to me and told me to stop los­ing weight and stick with my look. And I haven’t tried to take off any weight since that time.

‘‘ I like salty, creamy foods. I could sit down with a bag of chips and French onion dip and go to town! That would be on my last-sup­per list.’’

Hen­dricks just laughs when asked if she’s as tough as her Mad Men al­ter ego.

It’s ap­par­ent Hen­dricks is on the mild-man­nered side when she be­gins talk­ing about the un­der­wear she must wear un­der Joan’s ul­tra-snug dresses.

Such is the pro­duc­ers’ de­ter­mi­na­tion to bring au­then­tic­ity to the show, Hen­dricks says, that the women are not al­lowed to ‘‘ cheat’’ by wear­ing mod­ern bras and un­der­pants.

‘‘ Un­for­tu­nately I nor­mally

Frock and awe: (from left) Jan­uary Jones, Elis­a­beth Moss and Christina Hen­dricks in Mad Men.

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