Christina Rene Hendricks was born on May 3, 1975 in Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S., is an English-American actress known for her role as Joan Holloway in the AMC cable television series Mad Men, and as Saffron in Fox’s short-lived series Firefly. A poll of female readers taken by Esquire magazine named Hendricks “the sexiest woman in the world.”
Her mother, Jackie Sue, was a psychologist. Her father, Robert Hendricks, who worked for the United States Forest Service, was from Birmingham, England. Through her father she has dual U.S./U.K. nationality. Her family moved because of her father’s profession, living in Fairfax, Virginia; Portland, Oregon; and Twin Falls, Idaho. Hendricks is a natural blonde and began coloring her hair red at the age of ten after reading the book Anne of Green Gables. She began acting in children’s musical theater productions in Twin Falls.
On October 11, 2009, Hendricks married actor Geoffrey Arend.
Hendricks started her career as a model, from the ages of 18 to 27. She made a number of guest television appearances, starting as a regular in the series Beggars and Choosers. Since then, she has starred in the series The Big Time and The Court, opposite Sally Field and Craig Bierko, as well as the legal drama Kevin Hill. She has also had recurring roles in ER and Firefly and guest-starred in episodes of Angel, Miss Match, Tru Calling, Presidio Med, Without a Trace, and Las Vegas. Hendricks starred opposite Kip Pardue in South of Pico. La Cucina, an award-winning indie film, premiered on Showtime in December 2009 and stars Hendricks as a sexy writer opposite Joaquim de Almeida. She has appeared in four episodes of the NBC TV show Life in the recurring role of Olivia, detective Charlie Crews’ soon-to-be stepmother and Ted Earley’s love interest. She also starred in music videos for “The Ghost Inside” by Broken Bells, and Everclear’s “One Hit Wonder”.
Her best-known role is that of Joan Holloway on the AMC series Mad Men. Hendricks’ character is the office manager of advertising agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (SCDP), providing mentoring to a group of women who must deal with the come-ons and callousness of professional advertising executives.
She appeared in the action-thriller Drive, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, and alongside Carey Mulligan and Ryan Gosling.
Hendricks has been credited as a role model for full-figured women and was named the “sexiest woman in the world” in 2010 in a poll of female readers taken by Esquire magazine.
British Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone praised Hendricks’ hourglass figure as an ideal shape for women, saying “Christina Hendricks is absolutely fabulous… We need more of these role models. There is such a sensation when there is a curvy role model. It shouldn’t be so unusual.” Hendricks commented in September 2010 that the media is too focused on women’s bodies and not their actual talents, “I was working my butt off on the show and then all anyone was talking about was my body.” A study by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons attributed a 10% rise in 2010 of the number of British women receiving breast augmentation surgery in part to Hendricks’ influence.
Los Angeles Times television critic Mary McNamara says her portrayal of Holloway has revolutionized perceptions of beauty on television. She has been called the “new modern ideal of Hollywood glamour—full figured, voluptuous; a throwback to the days of Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell and Veronica Lake.” British designer Vivienne Westwood selected her to represent its “Get A Life” Palladium jewelry collection in March 2011. Westwood described Hendricks as “the embodiment of beauty.”