Inspired by flame-haired heroines since she was a child, actress and former model Christina Hendricks has built her image and her career on saucy, strong, decidedly feminine characters. Before taking the stage as host of the P&G Beauty & Grooming Awards in Toronto back in November, the vibrant star sat down with me to discuss hair colour, makeup, and housework in a corset and heels.
christina hendricks kicks butt
I first saw you as Saffron in the cult hit Firefly -- what a great role. Fragile, strong, innocent, conniving...
I had no idea how much fun it was going to be. I auditioned for it, and I was like, it's a weird sci-fi show, I don't know what this is. Then I got on set and there was this massive space ship, and I was this is awesome, it's going to be so much fun! And the cast of that show was so great. I got to kick butt, I got to flirt with Nathan Fillion, and that was super fun. (Above: Christina Hendricks in Firefly)
You coloured your hair yourself for a long time. Do you still?
I let someone else do it; in a pinch I'll grab a box at a corner store. I'm usually scolded for that, but it always turns out fine to be really honest with you. I've had practice.
What was it about Anne of Green Gables that made you go red?
I fell in love with her as a character -- she was such a romantic, smart and spunky. But I do look back over the years and I think of all the people that I admired when I was a child, and they were all redheads: Ginger from Gilligan's Island, Ann Margaret from Bye Bye Birdie, Lucille Ball... It seems like all the people I really thought were beautiful were redheads. (Above: Christina Hendricks in InStyle UK)
50 shades of red
How long did it take you to find the red that you feel is you?
I've been a lot of different reds. I'm usually just trying to get the most vibrant I can possibly get. And red is very, very hard to maintain -- a lot of people who have red hair know this. It goes through different phases. Sometimes I start out real bright and then it goes into strawberry blonde because I'm a blonde underneath. I like 'em all. (At the AFI Awards, 2014, via bellasugar.com)
What do you use to maintain the red hair?
Depends on the colour and who's doing it. When I'm on Mad Men, they do it there. When I'm in LA at Andy LeCompte, Vanessa does my hair and she's got her own formula. They all know what they're doing.
a nice rosy cheek
What about your skin?
I'm super into moisturizer. I tend to have dry skin -- my whole family does. Right now I'm using Olay Regenerist. I like a really thick cream. And I'm drinking a gallon of water a day. I'm trying to be real good like that [chuckles] -- I read that was a smart thing to do, so I'm trying to do it.
Do you have a favourite makeup look?
I kind of have my go-to that I always feel comfortable with. When I started "Mad Men," I kind of already did my makeup like that in general, so I felt very comfortable in that look. It's actually very light, simple makeup. So when I do events or get to go to premieres, I like to play around and try new things.
My safety zone is liquid eyeliner on top and a pink lip and a nice rosy cheek. Sometimes it's fun to get a bit more rock-and-roll.
At home it's pretty much nothing. Usually moisturizer and I put on a little cheek. I always have a cheek. With my fair skin, I always want to liven up my face a little bit.
I like cream blushes, and I use all different kinds. I'm one of those people that, if there's a new cream blush, will try it. I tend toward the corals and pinks.
comfortable not unrealistic
I read somewhere -- no sweats at home.
Yeah, it's not a good look for me, so I made note of that [laughs]. I figure there are lots of pretty things I can wear at home that are just as comfortable as sweats but that will look nicer for my husband. I try to wear something a little feminine, sexy or lacy, but still comfortable. It's not like I'm walking around in a corset and heels at home. I'm still comfortable, I'm not unrealistic. (Above: with hubby Geoffrey Arend at Sundance 2014, via JustJared.com)
I also read somewhere that your husband had cut your hair once?
That my husband cut my hair?? I'd cut his hands off! [laughs] I don't know where that came from, but that would be really funny, though.
Do you get facials?
I do periodically. I probably should do them more. I do them mostly for relaxation, honestly. It's such a nice treat to go and have someone pamper you like that. I just try to listen to my skin, you know? I change things up. If I'm feeling dry, I'll use a heavier cream. I really like sometimes using a nice facial oil because my skin just sucks those kinds of things up and it makes me feel like I've got a glow.
misting myself with rosewater
Do you use body oils?
I do, but it's tricky. I usually do a body oil at home because I'm always afraid I'm going to get it on something, you know? [laughs] Even if it's a dry oil, it always seems to get on something, so I'm very careful about it. I use regular lotion when I'm out and about. (Christina Hendricks at a Vivienne Westwood store opening in LA, 2011, via JustJared.com)
I really like hydrating mists. I keep them in different rooms and they're always nice. Doing housework or whatever it is, just spritz yourself...
Housework in the corset and heels?
Yes exactly: [drawls] misting myself with rosewater. I'm very glaaamorous when I do chores.
* * * * * * *
ADDENDUM: This image is from a Playboy shoot in 1999; that's Christina Hendricks on the right. I didn't get a chance to ask her about it. *shrug*