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(Her parents split up when she was 17.) A former model, Hendricks had appeared in a number of series and had a recurring role in ER but hadn't really broken through.
She says that Mad Men has changed her life 'in almost every capacity', from casting agents no longer trying to book other actresses during her auditions to people approaching her in the street.
Instead of Joan's elaborate hairdos (which Hendricks hates – 'It's sculpture in itself, takes forever and is just so hairsprayed and big and teased it's the opposite of sexy to me'), her hair falls in soft, choppy layers about her face, which has echoes of Cate Blanchett and, yes, Marilyn Monroe.
Unlike Monroe, however, Hendricks is actually a natural blonde. Hendricks is open and funny, and her voice softer and higher than her alter ego's.
Hendricks' on-screen magnetism, however, soon changed that and a movement was born: 1.5 million entries on Google, websites such as 'What Would Joan Holloway Do?
' filled with her best quotes and imaginary advice, even a Facebook group called 'I'd like to engage in wanton and unchaste activities with Joan Holloway'. 'When people use that word, it's just the most amazing thing.
Joan's this wonderful combination that people have responded to.
I think that in this world of men, in this boys' club, she gives a sense of levity to the workplace, and sexuality, and she's a little brassy. I love her.' Mad Men is Hendricks' first taste of the big time and comes 11 years after she moved to Los Angeles with her mother, a psychologist, now retired.
Christina Hendricks, a red-headed bombshell with va-va-voom curves, has been called the 'sexiest woman on television today' for her portrayal of the sultry secretary Joan Holloway in Mad Men, the television series set in the 1960s about an advertising agency.
The brother of Ben Affleck was unsurprisingly in high spirits as he was seen posing at the event with his Oscar.
Actor Adrien Brody was at the event with his gorgeous girlfriend Lara Lieto.
Christina Hendricks put on an eye-popping display at the Amazon Studios Oscar celebration party at Delilah in West Hollywood on Sunday evening.
The Mad Men actress looked radiant in a silk printed gown that featured a peep hole exposing her cleavage.