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  • physically fragile than her celebrated alter ego, the all-knowing, fabulously flawed Joan Holloway. Those rightfully exalted curves are alluring but not particularly exaggerated or extraordinary. They simply make sense. Beautiful, womanly sense.

    Hendricks’ personality is softer, too, though there is a steeliness that lies beneath – a Joan-ism? Has playing Holloway for so long had a lasting effect? “It’s hard to tell. Are the things I’ve learned because of the show? Because of the character? Or is it just because eight years have gone by and I would have grown anyway?” she says, having clearly given this idea some thought. “If you can’t learn or hope to gain some characteristics from playing a role for eight years, then you’ve missed an opportunity.” So what has she gained from Joan? “I think some of her ability to bounce back after something horrible arrives in your life. That and her confidence.”

    Holloway was originally intended to be a guest part, with no lasting involvement in the storyline. But Hendricks’ on-screen magnetism

    “I think I’ve GAINED some of Joan’s ability to BOUNCE back. That and her CONFIDENCE”

    ensured her not just a recurring role, but a starring one. And now, as the characters make their way towards Weiner’s expertly woven crescendo, it is Joan we are rooting for. How would Hendricks write her character’s ending? “I want her to do the Thelma & Louise thing with Roger. Just go out with a bang. My fear is that Joan is going to turn off the lights of the office that night and just go home.”

    Right now, Hendricks is as much in the dark about how the story plays out as we are; the first half of the series has been filmed, but the second is still under wraps. Yet she is feeling the pressure of expectation. “Were you happy with the way Prison Break ended? Were you happy with the way Breaking Bad ended? I’m sure we’ll be added to the list,” she

    Dress by Vivienne Westwood Anglomania; shoes by Miu Miu; gloves by Simone Rocha; rings Christina’s own

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