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Mad Men Actress Christina Hendricks Covers New York Magazine: Hurt by the Scrutiny Over Her Body

More Than Just a Pretty Face and a Curvaceous Bod

A lot of attention has been paid to Christina Hendricks since she burst onto the scene as secretary Joan Holloway in the hit television drama, Mad Men. Mention her name and the conversation inevitably leads to her silhouette. Christina is often described as a throwback to the days of Marilyn Monroe, and it's easy to see why. Her body type is more Botticelli than waif: it's as if the term "hourglass figure" was conceived just for her. In an industry of skinny, svelte, and sometimes too-thin actresses, people find Christina's look refreshing, real, and downright sexy.

On the cover of this week's New York magazine, the Botticelli comparison gets perpetuated even further. With red hair cascading past her hips, the actress appears semi-nude in a set of pale vintage lingerie. If you were to put a scallop shell behind her, you'd have The Birth of Venus in living color. Despite that legions of fans and many in the media celebrating (though sometimes criticizing) her body, Christina was not feeling the love, and for good reason.

“It kind of hurt my feelings at first,” she admits. “Anytime someone talks about your figure constantly, you get nervous, you get really self-conscious. I was working my butt off on the show, and then all anyone was talking about was my body!”

It's a more than fair reaction from Christina, as any actress ultimately wants her body of work praised, not just her body. What she might not understand is that she has become a symbol of sorts. For the record, she is by no means a big girl. Perhaps we wouldn't have to celebrate (and scrutinize) women like Christina so much if there were more variety among Hollywood starlets.

So let's put the hourglass aside and focus on what's really important — the girl can act, and Christina's portrayal of Joan is heartbreaking, empowering, and infuriating all at once. Besides, when it comes to her body, her weight, her curves, and all the rest, you're not going to get much more from Christina — she is so over discussing it: "It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth."

Join The Conversation
sourcherry sourcherry 7 years
I agree with everyone that said her body type is the most unattainable of all. Saying that this is what real women are supposed to look like is not doing us any favours. Can't we just agree that she's a beautiful woman and leave at that?
Dr-Betty Dr-Betty 7 years
I have a similar shape to Christina and I sympathize with her because I feel this shape gets more commentary than any other (though perhaps I'm wrong). Ever since I was 12 years old people - strangers, co-workers, friends, even family - have felt that they can make comments about my body. I don't have any other friends whose body parts become a topic of conversation at a dinner party; we never sit around talking about A's legs or B's waist. But my boobs? Free-for-all. I can understand Christina wanting to be regarded as sexy (don't we all?), but it is uncomfortable when people feel that they can say anything about your figure, frankly it's just rude. And it can make you mortifyingly self-conscious.
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 7 years
not everyone looks like that naturally. maybe while breastfeeding but thats it! i just want madmen back on tv do i really have to wait till august?
KrisB KrisB 7 years
If you want people to talk about things other than your body then don't go on magazine covers revealing it to the world. Her figure looks like most women I know, nothing different about it. I don't understand the fascination women have about other another woman's body type. We come in all shapes, sizes and colors. There is no typical women we are all different, that shouldn't be news to any of us.
Limone Limone 7 years
"Her body type is more Botticelli than waif." Nice, Fit. Very nice.
misskacie misskacie 7 years
Some of us are-- while in excellent health-- just shaped rather thin and straight-ish. It doesn't make us any less "real" women. I really hate it when people try to preach what a woman's body "should" look like as much as I hate the phrase "REAL women have curves." The importance is to be healthy and comfortable with yourself as a healthy woman. You can be thin and unhealthy or curvy and in great shape.
jkat jkat 7 years
I think she also ignores the fact that so much of who her character Joan is on the show is based around her body. She uses her body and looks to get what she wants from men on the show, and to dupe them into a sense of security around her. Though Joan is smart, she relies heavily on her sexuality to put her other talents into play. The sexuality of her character combined with magazine covers like this is going to fan the flames of discussion about her body.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
Just because she has an hourglass figure doesn't make her anything special. Some women have one, some don't. We ALL have gorgeous bodies, whether or not we have big hips and boobs. I happen to be small and svelte and muscular and I love my body. Sure, sometimes I wish I had a little more on top, but I'm content with what I have.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I love Christina! But, it's comical to me that people herald her as being the return of the "real woman." As darc5204 said, she has the most unattainable body type. If I stopped working out and started eating junk food and gained 25 lbs, I would probably be the same weight as Christina, but all I would have to show for it would be a giant flabby stomach, flabby arms, and flabby thighs. I would not have anything that even remotely resembles her hourglass body. I also agree with Glowing Moon - if you want people to stop talking about your body, then clearly the most logical thing to do is pose on a national publication in lingerie.
xtinabeena xtinabeena 7 years
are you KIDDING ME!?!?!?! i work out A LOT and have muscle and I LOVE IT! how is that 'unnatural' or 'manly', anon8?!
itsallabouttheg itsallabouttheg 7 years
wow, she's like a real-life jessica rabbit!
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
I find Christina to be a bit hypocritical. If she wants people to stop talking about her body, she should stop doing magazine covers like that, and dress provocatively on the red carpet. SHE puts her body out there, and gets upset people notice her body. She's being a bit crazy, I think. I happen to have a hourglass figure like Christina. And yes, sometimes I dress up my figure. When people notice my figure (and give compliments, and such), I silently accept the attention, and when it comes to the compliments I would say,"Thank you. You're kind to say that." I don't get mad that my other aspects (such as my work, personality, etc) received no reaction. Those aspects are unrelated. JMHO.
ticamorena ticamorena 7 years
I'm so tired of body fetishizing, whether it is Christina Hendricks and her hourglass figure or anybody else, we're just validating that how our body looks to others consitutes a more important measure of who we are than our hobbies, personality, achievements, etc.
darc5204 darc5204 7 years
Variety or not, her figure would still be rare. The reality is that her figure is even less attainable than the "svelte, skinny" look; an hourglass like that is genetic. Both looks are real.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
another Sugar article covering Christina Hendricks' body and her dislike of talking about her body
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