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Actress Christina Hendricks, named the sexiest woman alive by Esquire magazine, is known for playing Joan Holloway on the TV series Mad Men.
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Christina Hendricks was born May 3, 1975, in Knoxville, Tennessee. At 19 she moved to New York and modeled professionally there and in London for the next three years, after which she moved to Los Angeles to transition from model to actress. In 1999, she landed her first acting roles, including a recurring role in the TV series Undressed. In 2009, she was cast in Mad Men, an AMC series.
"I don't think I'd have as thick a skin as an actress if I hadn't done the modeling. Because you get rejected seven times a day as a model and you're not even doing anything. That can either kill you in a month or, you know, build up a tolerance in you, and I think it helped me."
Actress. Born May 3, 1975, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Christina Hendricks' mother was a psychologist and her father was a British-born forester who worked for the United States Forest Service. Shortly after Hendricks' birth, the family moved to Twin Falls, Idaho, a small, quiet town where one of the few activities available for children was community theater. "My mom got my brother and I involved in a community theater group, so we could create our own fun," Hendricks recalls. "And that's where it all started for me. I spent my whole childhood with this theater called J.U.M.P. Company: Junior Musical Playhouse. It was amazing how many talented kids there were in the group, and also how many people in the community jumped in to volunteer, to direct, to build sets, whatever needed to be done. We'd put on these shows at the community college, and half the town would show up! So it was great. It was the happiest time of my life."
When Hendricks was 14 years old, her family moved to Fairfax, Virginia, where she attended Fairfax High School. An artsy kid in a school dominated by jocks and preps, Hendricks struggled to fit in. "I had the worst high school experience ever," she remembers. "People literally spit on me. I was a Goth girl, and in preppy Fairfax County, that did not go over very well. My friends and I were all weird theater people. Some of us were gay. And everyone just hated us." Hendricks dyed her hair purple and wore thick black lipstick. "My mother was mortified and kept telling me how horrible and ugly I looked, and strangers would walk by with a look of shock on their face," she says. "So I never felt pretty, you know. I just always felt awkward." Nevertheless, no amount of hair dye or dark makeup could obscure Hendricks' increasingly apparent beauty, and toward the end of high school a friend persuaded her to enter a modeling competition to appear on the cover of Seventeen magazine. "When I got the pictures back my mum and I started crying because I had no idea I could be pretty," she recalls. "It just sort of changed my perspective of myself."
Hendricks did not win the contest but at the age of 19, after graduating high school, she moved to New York and began modeling professionally. Hendricks thoroughly enjoyed her time as a model. "I loved it a lot," she says. "I know a lot of girls who are like, 'Ugh, I hated it,' and I'm like, 'Really? You hated being paid to travel all around the world and have your picture taken? That must have been horrible for you.'" Hendricks refers to her time modeling as "boot camp," saying that it provided ample training for the cutthroat world of show business.
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