We gotta give it to her. “Mad Man’s” Christina Hendricks is hot! The 35 year-old actress plays Joan Harris, the sexy and voluptuous secretary on the popular AMC show about Madison Avenue ad guys in 1960’s New York. The buzz is heating up around Hendricks and her striding hips, so much so that an Esquire magazine poll of female readers voted her “the sexiest woman in the world.” What’s more, Hendrick’s influence is apparently so powerful that, according to UK’s Cosmopolitan magazine, more young British girls want to look like Hendricks than top model Kate Moss. Louise Court, an editor for Cosmo says, “Joan has had a huge impact on fashion and on women having the confidence to flaunt their curves.” An Equalities Minister told the Telegraph that Hendricks is a role model for young women who are dealing with the “dreadful pressure” to be runway skinny.
But will a White woman from Knoxville Tennessee usher curves back into the Hollywood mainstream?
There has been a concerted effort to bring plus-size into fashion. From V Magazine’s controversial “Size Issue” featuring curvy women in sexy lingerie, denim, swimwear, and some even nude; to the whirlwind around Kim Kardashian, and “Precious” star Gabby Sidibe. But arguably none of these women have garnered the massive attention that Hollywood red carpet international sensation Christina Hendricks has brought to size. What’s more, Hendricks is a talented and gorgeous red-head headlining America’s favorite TV show that’s happens not to be about crazed vampires.
The excitement for Hendrick’s size 14 body is fascinating. The actress’ form says to White women everywhere that those extra pounds are okay. In fact, some of them are working the aim for curves into their fall workout plans.
The death of Marilyn Monroe in 1962, and the emergence of models like Twiggy in the mid sixties, ushered in a boyish slim. Suddenly the “it” size from runway to editorial became near anorexic skinny. The ideal form quickly transitioned from Monroe to Audrey Hepburn. America’s need to be a size 0-4 hasn’t changed since. But what does this say about some Black women who have never stopped being curvy?
While runways and fashion houses are taking baby steps toward their embrace of plus-size bodies, Hendricks’ influence, much like Kim Kardashian’s coveted derriere, may be the deciding factor that could ultimately turn gaunt bodies from chic to weak.
So what do we say to Christina? Should we give her the knowing eye roll as she rides the curvy train we’ve been boarding for decades into global stardom? Or should we give Christina the sisterly wink in gratitude, thankful that, because of her, we’ll have more denim options that actually fit our thick brown bodies from thighs to the waist?