Christina Hendricks (born May 3, 1975) is a British-American actress, producer, and former model.
Her accomplishments include six Primetime Emmy Award nominations, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and two Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. A 2010 poll of female readers taken by Esquire magazine named her “the sexiest woman in the world,” and voted as Best Looking Woman in America the same year.
Born in Tennessee, Christina Hendricks was raised in Portland, Oregon and Twin Falls, Idaho, where she became active in local theater. After completing high school in Virginia, Christina Hendricks relocated to New York City and pursued a career as a model following her entry into a Seventeen cover contest. She continued to work internationally as a model for over a decade before transitioning into acting.
Christina Hendricks had recurring roles in several television series, including Beggars and Choosers (2001–2002) and Kevin Hill (2004–2005) before being cast as Joan Holloway on the AMC period drama series Mad Men in 2007, of which she remained a main cast member until the series’ conclusion in 2015. She received critical acclaim for her role on the series, including six Emmy Award nominations and multiple Screen Actors Guild Awards for Best Ensemble. While starring on Mad Men, Christina Hendricks also began appearing in films, receiving critical notice for her performance in Nicolas Winding Refn‘s thriller Drive (2011), Sally Potter‘s drama Ginger & Rosa (2012), and Ryan Gosling‘s neo-noir fantasy Lost River (2014).
Following the conclusion of Mad Men, Christina Hendricks starred in the comedy series Another Period from 2015 to 2016, and in the SundanceTV drama series Hap and Leonard (2016). She reunited with Refn for a supporting role in his thriller film The Neon Demon (2016), followed by roles in the comedy Fist Fight (2017), the horror film The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018), and the animated comedy Toy Story 4 (2019). She returned to television with starring roles on the crime drama series Tin Star (2017–present) and on the NBC comedy-crime series Good Girls (2018–present).
Christina Hendricks was born May 3, 1975, in Knoxville, Tennessee, the second child of Jackie Sue Hendricks (née Raymond), a psychologist, and Robert Hendricks, a Forest Service employee originally from Birmingham, England. Through her father, she has dual British and American citizenship. Christina Hendricks has one older brother. Though born in Tennessee, Christina Hendricks‘s family relocated frequently due to her father’s Forest Service job, first to Georgia when she was two months old, and subsequently to Portland, Oregon, where Hendricks attended elementary school.
When she was nine years old, the family left Portland, relocating to Twin Falls, Idaho, where Hendricks completed elementary and middle school. Hendricks described her family as “outdoorsy”, relating that she, her brother, and parents frequently went on camping trips in the Pacific Northwest.
Christina Hendricks‘ mother encouraged her and her brother to join a local theater group in Twin Falls as a way of making friends, and Hendricks appeared in a production of Grease. “I had all these amazing friends through the theatre company,” she recalled. “And it was a community that really respected theatre. The kids would put on a play and the entire town would show. And you were cool if you were an actor.” Hendricks, a natural blonde, began coloring her hair red at age 10, inspired by the book Anne of Green Gables.
When Christina Hendricks was a teenager, her father’s job necessitated the family move near Washington, D.C., so the family settled in Fairfax, Virginia. Hendricks described the move from Idaho to Virginia as “traumatic” for her, and she was frequently bullied while attending Fairfax High School. Hendricks described herself as an “outcast” and a “goth“, and found companionship in the school’s drama department, where she appeared in plays. In addition to theater, Hendricks also studied ballet throughout her teenage years. She left Fairfax High School during her senior year and completed her studies at a local community college.
1994–2006: Modeling career and early acting
After high school, Christina Hendricks worked as a receptionist and shampoo girl at a salon before entering a competition to appear on the cover of Seventeen magazine. This resulted in her signing with IMG Models, after which she moved to New York City at age 18, forgoing her pre-acceptance into Virginia Commonwealth University‘s drama school.
Christina Hendricks began modeling in New York, London, and Japan between the ages of 18 and 27 before transitioning into appearing in commercials. Hendricks lived in London for around a year during this period, residing with two friends who were working there as teachers. In her early twenties, Hendricks relocated with her mother and brother to Los Angeles, California.
Initially, Hendricks pursued a career working in the administrative sector of the music business, but was dissuaded by friends, and instead continued working as a model before auditioning for acting roles. She appeared in commercials for Carl’s Jr. and Dr. Pepper, and also starred in the music video for Everclear‘s “One Hit Wonder” (1997). She appeared as the hand model in the poster for the film American Beauty.Hendricks in 2005
She made her television debut in the MTV anthology series Undressed. Her first starring role was as an intern on Beggars and Choosers, a Showtime comedy series focused on a group of young professionals. The series filmed in Vancouver, and ran from 1999 to 2001. During this time, she also had a guest role on the series Angel in 2000. Hendricks subsequently appeared in the television film The Big Time (2002), and had recurring guest roles on ER (2002), The Court (2003), and Firefly (2002–2003).
2007–2015: Mad Men
She played Joan Holloway on the AMC series Mad Men as the office manager of advertising agency Sterling Cooper & Partners, providing mentoring to a group of women who must deal with the come-ons and callousness of professional advertising executives. Her performance has received critical praise, resulting in six Primetime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series over the course of its seven seasons.
In Season 3, Episode 3, “My Old Kentucky Home” of Mad Men, Christina had the chance to show off one of her hidden talents, when she played the accordion to entertain dinner guests of Joan Holloyway’s husband, much to their (and the audience’s) delight. Many fans noted that Hendricks actually seemed to be playing the instrument, and as it turned out, she was doing just that.
When asked about her playing, she said at the time, “I started taking lessons five years ago. It is such a rich instrument for one person. You can get so much out of it, like a one-man band. I also think its a very romantic instrument, and it channels all the things I love”.
Also in 2007, Christina Hendricks made her feature film debut in La Cucina, a drama film that premiered on Showtime in December 2009, and which stars Hendricks as a writer. The same year, she starred in the thriller film South of Pico, and appeared in four episodes of the NBC series Life (2007–2008) in the recurring role of Olivia, detective Charlie Crews‘ soon-to-be stepmother and Ted Earley’s love interest.
She appeared in a supporting role in the action-thriller Drive (2011), directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, alongside Carey Mulligan and Ryan Gosling. The following year, she was cast in a supporting role in Sally Potter‘s drama film Ginger & Rosa, playing the countercultural mother of a teenager growing up in the 1960s.
In 2011, Christina Hendricks appeared onstage in a production of Stephen Sondheim‘s Company at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts opposite Martha Plimpton and Stephen Colbert. Hendricks also lent her voice and likeness in the 2011 racing video game Need for Speed: The Run, playing the role of Sam Harper opposite Sean Faris.
In 2014, she played the lead character in Gosling’s directorial debut Lost River, a fantasy film set in Detroit. The film received mixed reviews. The following year, she starred in the novel adaptation Dark Places (2015) opposite Charlize Theron. After the conclusion of Mad Men in 2015, Christina Hendricks starred as a prostitute in two seasons of the Comedy Central series Another Period (2015–2016), set during the early 20th century.
2016–present: Subsequent acting roles and Good Girls
In 2016, she appeared as one of the leads in Refn’s thriller film The Neon Demon, portraying a modeling agent. Critical response to the film was polarized, though the French film magazine Cahiers du cinéma named it the third-best film of 2016. The same year, she starred in six episodes of the series Hap and Leonard, playing the ex-wife of investigator Hap Collins.
In 2018, she was seen in home-invasion based horror film The Strangers: Prey at Night, playing the matriarch of a family under siege by killers. Upon release, the film received generally unfavorable reviews from critics, though The Guardian‘s Benjamin Lee praised Hendricks’ performance. It was a commercial success, however, grossing $30 million.
In 2018, Hendricks returned to television in the Amazon Prime series The Romanoffs, reuniting with Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner. She was cast as one of the leads on the NBC comedy crime series Good Girls, playing a woman who attempts to gain financial control of her life by holding up a grocery store.
The show was renewed for a fourth season in 2020. In late 2018, Hendricks starred opposite Sienna Miller in the drama American Woman, portraying a woman helping her sister raise her family in rural Pennsylvania. She also supplied the voice of Gabby Gabby, the main antivillain in the Disney/Pixar animated sequel Toy Story 4 (2019).
In October 2019, it was announced that Hendricks and husband Geoffrey Arend had separated after 10 years of marriage, they never had children. The divorce was finalized in December of that year.