Christina Hendricks: Ahead of the Curves

If you’re still not watching the Emmy-winning AMC drama Mad Men, get ready to meet your new girl-crush.



Have you been in Joan’s shoes?
I’ve been casually hit on by women, but I certainly haven’t had an intimate, heartfelt moment where someone I’ve been friends with for years suddenly reveals her deep love for me. But, you know, it’s early in the day.

Could you empathize with Carol’s unrequited love?
I’ve had many, many unrequited crushes. I knew this one guy’s entire schedule my senior year of high school and would conveniently be outside his classrooms whenever class let out. But I was a goth kid and he was a soccer player, so he wasn’t having it. He was just horrified by me.

I sensed some strange sexual tension between Joan and Peggy in season 1, but I soon realized that Joan has sexual tension with everyone.
It’s pretty funny to think of Joan and Peggy having sexual tension; they just have tension. Joan’s one of those flirtatious, physical people. She’s the type who will always touch your knee or place her hand on your chest when she’s talking to you, whether you’re male or female. It’s a mixture of those comfortable gestures and the amazing ’60s clothing that makes her a very fiery and sensual character.

Might Joan explore any bicuriosity in the future?
I would love to see Mad Men go down that road. If there’s any character that would go there, it would definitely be Joan.

There’s also a scene in season 1 where Bryan Batt’s character, Sal, kisses Joan to show off for their coworkers. Joan’s facial expression afterward seemed to suggest she was on to Sal’s homosexuality.
Bryan, Matt, and I did a lot of talking about that because we really wanted to capture the right look. We decided it probably wouldn’t be too obvious to Joan, so we wanted to make sure there was some confusion there. We didn’t want to make an obvious statement with Sal at that point.

How would Joan react if Sal confided in her that he was gay?
There’s that scene in season 2 where another character, Kurt, announces to everyone that he’s gay in the middle of the break room. Some of the guys freaked out, but Joan kind of smiles, raises an eyebrow, and walks out. Joan loves the drama of it, so she certainly wouldn’t tsktsk it. She just enjoys something that stirs the pot.

So Joan wouldn’t be the best one to keep that secret.
Well, it depends on whether or not she could use it for her own benefit.

Are you and Bryan Batt chummy off set?
Bryan’s one of my closest friends in the world. I adore him and his partner Tom. They’re both amazing people.

Did you have gay friends growing up?
People would always say to me, “Your friends are gay!” And I would say, “No, they aren’t!” I didn’t really know what they meant; I just knew someone was saying something aggressively and it made me feel protective. It took me years of saying, “You don’t know what you’re talking about” before I realized that I didn’t know what I was talking about. In fact, those people were correct: My friends were gay.

Has your gaydar sharpened?
No. I have the worst gaydar. Just count up my ex-boyfriends for proof.
Tags: television