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Christina Hendricks - "Mad Men" Tv Series - Nypost.com Review

vendredi 17 octobre 2008, par Webmaster

Some Like It Hot : Christina HendricksMad Men star Christina Hendricks is the sexiest woman on TV today—and with her hourglass curves, she’s changing Hollywood’s skewed views of females. Meet the whip-smart, funny (and, yes, va-va-voom) charmer who’s a throwback to the days of Marilyn Monroe. By Alison Prato Tadashi Collection dress, $268 ; Lord & Taylor, lordandtaylor.com.

Photo : Brian Bowen Smith

Tadashi Collection dress, $268 ; Lord & Taylor, lordandtaylor.com.

Just three days after Mad Men nabbed the Best Drama Award at last month’s Emmys, Christina Hendricks, who plays the show’s buxom, flame-haired resident SILF (Secretary I’d Like to F—k) Joan Holloway, slides into a booth at Zucca, a downtown Los Angeles Italian restaurant, still jacked up on awards-show adrenaline.

"It was a crazy night !" she says, whipping off a brown suede hat to reveal a very un-Joan-like pageboy haircut. "Everyone was saying it was excruciatingly long—and let’s face it, even the hosts knew it was terrible—but it was the fastest three hours of my life ! When our category came up, I told myself, "You’re not gonna win, and that’s OK, but the cameras are on you, so when you lose, don’t look like a jerk.’ Then they announced Mad Men and I remember feeling high, like after an operation or something. It was awesome !"

In case you’ve been living under a Nintendo Wii, AMC’s critically acclaimed show revolves around the men and women of Madison Avenue’s tony Sterling Cooper ad agency, circa the 1960s—a politically incorrect era when office decorum was tossed aside in favor of chain-smoking, booze guzzling and blatant sexual harassment. Christina’s alter ego, Joan, is the queen bee of the secretaries, whose hourglass figure, tight dresses and whiplash-inducing wiggle have pitched a thousand trouser tents, making her an object of lust both on the show and off. In season one, she had a torrid affair with her boss. This year, in an episode called "Maidenform," when each secretary is categorized as either a Marilyn (Monroe) or a Jackie (Kennedy), Joan’s co-worker and former beau Paul Kinsey put it best : "Well, Marilyn’s really a Joan, not the other way around." The Joan worshipping exists in real life too—there is a Web site entitled "What Would Joan Holloway Do ?" and even a group on Facebook called "I’d like to engage in wanton and unchaste activities with Joan Holloway." Tadashi Shoji dress, price on request ; tadashicollection.com to special order.

Photo : brian bowen smith

Tadashi Shoji dress, price on request ; tadashicollection.com to special order.

"Joan is a person I sometimes wish I could be," Christina, 30, admits. "She’s a presentation—I don’t think she ever lets anyone see who she really is. She’s very confident and pulled together." And as for her trademark wiggle ? "I’ve always had a bit of a walk—this girl’s got hips—but on the show it’s exaggerated. The first day, I put on those [retro] undergarments, and I was walking around the office like, boom, boom, boom ! They called ’Cut,’ and I turned to [creator] Matt Weiner and said, ’That was Joan.’ And he said, ’That was Joan.’ It all just dropped into place."

Although this year’s Emmys were the least watched in TV history, it was a monumental night for Christina, who, decked out in an emerald-hued Tadashi Shoji gown, had one of those red carpet breakout moments fantasized about by fashionistas everywhere. Thanks to the way she was poured into the dress—complete with major "look at me" cleavage—she was catapulted to the top of the night’s best-dressed lists as the epitome of old-Hollywood elegance.

Clad today in a bright blue Banana Republic dress, blue tights and Marc Jacobs wedges, Christina calls her personal style "romantic rock ’n’ roll," and name-checks Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano as favorite designers. "I’m a huge fan of fashion, and those are the things I love but can’t afford," she says with a laugh. In high school, she was a goth kid with purple hair and black lipstick who dreamed of being a rock star. Now, "I love a bustle, a corset, powdered faces and red lips—Marie Antoinette all the way. I’ve learned from Joan that tailored things suit my body." Still, she’s stunned by all the hoopla surrounding her Emmys ensemble. Christina, on the set of the award-winning Mad Men, proves her character, Joan Holloway, is the curvy queen bee of the office secretarial pool.

Christina, on the set of the award-winning Mad Men, proves her character, Joan Holloway, is the curvy queen bee of the office secretarial pool.

"I never even thought I’d be at the Emmys, because this is my fourth series [including Showtime’s Beggars and Choosers, 1999–01 ; The Court, 2002 ; and UPN’s Kevin Hill, 2004–05] and no one’s ever paid attention to anything I’ve been on," she says. "And I certainly didn’t think anyone would be looking at me. When [the Mad Men cast] went to the SAG Awards earlier this year, no one had heard of our show, and no one could care less about interviewing us. Afterward I was like, ’I didn’t like my dress, and I hated my hair.’ This time, I wanted to look back and think I looked pretty."

There’s nothing better than hearing a woman—not just in Hollywood, but anywhere—say this and then order a second glass of sauvignon blanc while she digs into a plate of rabbit ragout, as Christina does. Perfect timing for the actress to divulge what it’s like to be one of the more curvaceous women in a town full of 90210 pogo sticks.

"No one will send me dresses," she says. "Designers loan size 2 or 4 samples to actresses, but I’m not that size. It’s like I’m a freak because I’m curvy and I can’t squeeze into those things. I’ve had some problems with that." The actress hits the red carpet at this year’s Emmys with boyfriend Geoffrey Arend. Although she loves the way she looked that night, she notes, "No one will send me dresses. Designers loan size 2 or 4 samples to actresses, but I’m not that size."

The actress hits the red carpet at this year’s Emmys with boyfriend Geoffrey Arend. Although she loves the way she looked that night, she notes, "No one will send me dresses. Designers loan size 2 or 4 samples to actresses, but I’m not that size."

And then there are nasty bloggers : "My boyfriend, Geoffrey [Arend, 30, an actor on TNT’s upcoming drama series Truth in Advertising], read some crass things people were saying about my breast size, and I was like, ’That’s absolutely mean, because it’s my body. I didn’t pay for it to happen. I didn’t get a boob job. It’s who I am. And I’m lucky to be on a show that celebrates it. [Brothers & Sisters actress] Rachel Griffiths, who I’m a huge fan of, came up to me the other night, and said, ’I love your character ! I have a bust size like you and I’m always trying to hide it, but I tried on a dress the other day, and I was like, ’I’m gonna do it like Mad Men.’ I was so proud."

Christina’s boyfriend of 18 months also appreciates her killer curves. The two met through her Mad Men co-star Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell), and they’ve been smitten ever since. "He’s amazing," she gushes. "He’s half Pakistani, and he has these thick, gorgeous curls that drive me crazy. He’s like, ’My curls to you are like your boobs to me.’ "

Still, that’s not to say she hasn’t been pressured to jump on the starve-yourself bandwagon. "I was a model for years, and even when I was 19 years old and 115 pounds [and 5´8˝], my agency said, ’Your ankles are a little large. If you could lose 10 pounds, that would be really great,’" she says. "I’ve always had boobs and hips, even when I was 115 pounds. And here I am, much heavier than when I was modeling, and all of a sudden people are giving me positive feedback. Sure, I’d be happier with 10 pounds off—wouldn’t every woman ? But at the same time, when I looked at myself in those red carpet pictures, I thought, ’Oh my God, I looked beautiful.’ I didn’t tear myself apart."

As a child, Christina’s family—including her mother, a psychologist, and her father, who worked for the U.S. Forest Service—moved all over the country, with stops in Portland, Ore., Twin Falls, Idaho, and Fairfax, Va. In an effort to make friends in each new locale, her mom encouraged Christina (who has one older brother) to join the community theater. It wasn’t long before she realized her passion for acting and ballet dancing. "I was a huge ham. Performing suited me. I was like, ’I get to march around stage in a costume and people look at me ? Fabulous !’ "

She started modeling at the age of 18, working in New York and London. In 1997 she got a fateful phone call from her now-single mother, who wanted to move from Virginia to a warmer climate. "She asked me if I would be up for moving to L.A. because she didn’t want to do it alone," Christina says. Two weeks after touching down in Hollywood, she landed a Visa commercial with Pierce Brosnan, which led to "a million other commercials" and a video for the Everclear song "Hater." But it was her appearance in the appropriately titled pilot The Big Time, produced by John Wells (The West Wing), that was her big break. Though the show never got picked up, the producer offered Christina a three-year contract to appear on his other programs, including ER and Presidio Med. "He gave me a career," she says. "He was my fairy godfather."

Now that she’s being compared to glamorous old-Hollywood starlets like Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe, Christina is elated. "I’m in love with Marilyn, so that makes me feel incredible. Throughout my career I’ve been told I look like her, though I think I’m much more crass," she says. "I actually just watched The Seven Year Itch for the first time, which is the most boring movie, but every time she’s on-screen, it’s magic. She’s like fireworks times a million. So to anyone who has ever compared me to her, thank you, thank you, thank you."

Suddenly, as if possessed by Marilyn, Christina morphs from a giggling, candid goofball into a coy, sex-soaked bombshell. Her smile fades, her lips pucker and her eyelashes flutter. Her aforementioned boyfriend has been eating alone at a different table, and she’d like to send him a drink.

"Excuse me," she coos, calling over the waiter, "Do you see that handsome man over there with black, curly hair ? I’d like to send him a glass of whatever he’s drinking."

The waiter, realizing whom he’s been serving for the past two hours, picks his jaw up off the table and scurries off. Back in Christina mode, our ingenue takes another sip of vino : "I’ve been [getting recognized] more and more, and it’s really weird. I like that people are watching the show, but as an actor I’m already self-conscious. Now when I’m at dinner, I’m wondering if people are talking about me. Since the Emmys, some of my neighbors have been like, ’Hi Christina !’ and I’m like, ’Really ? I’ve lived here for two years, and you’ve never said hi to me, ever.’"

Still, she vows not to let her newfound celebrity go to her head. "I’m proud of my profession, but Hollywood has gotten so trashy and ugly. The sense of entitlement some actors have is bizarre. We’re like court jesters—we act like other people for a living. But if that’s all you do, fool, do you really think people should bow down ?"

Her phone beeps. It’s a text from Geoffrey : I love you I love you I love you. And pretty soon, if they don’t already, so will the rest of the world.

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