On the surface, Joan Holloway is a secretarial stereotype: the super-sexy, head-turning queen bee of the office, the one who's having a hot affair with her married boss. But as played by Christina Hendricks, Joan is so much more, and one of the many delights of Mad Men, AMC's Emmy-award winning series. It's hard to imagine anyone else in the part, but creator Matt Weiner originally envisioned "a mousy kind of a bossy sidekick" character, "and then he saw me and luckily he changed his mind," smiles Hendricks, who's relishing every moment of the role.
"She's so fun because she's so different from anything I've ever played before, and the furthest from me," says Hendricks, whose resumé includes regular roles on Kevin Hill and Beggars and Choosers and guest spots on Las Vegas, Without a Trace, Cold Case, ER and Firefly. "I love that she's self-confident and not a victim. She's playful, sexual and confident and always takes care of herself and the situation as best she can. But I also think there's a sadness to Joan. She acts like she's very happy being independent, but she's 30 years old and in 1960 if you didn't have a husband you were a sad story."
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In Season 1, Joan carried on a torrid affair with her boss Roger Sterling (John Slattery). "I don't think for one second she thinks he'd ever leave his wife so she doesn't even entertain it," Hendricks says. Never lacking for male attention, "Joan could go out and get married if she wanted to. But she does choose to go with a married man. She's sort of playing it safe and keeping it at bay."
The wolf whistles Joan get—and seemingly enjoys—from the office horndogs aren't entirely foreign to her. "I'm an actress. We face sexual harassment every day!" Hendricks declares, but doesn't have any casting couch tales to tell. "I modeled for years and I've been an actress for years. I've heard stories from other people, but I've been lucky and I've never personally ever had anything like that happen."