The sex-symbol status of Mad Men star Christina Hendricks flies in the face of the idea that only waif-thin or super-sporty female body types qualify as objects of lust. Her confidence and “I know I’m hot” attitude have made her a poster child for size-immune self-esteem, and some see her as a modern day Marilyn Monroe.
But even Hendricks has moments of discomfort and self-doubt. During a recent interview, Australian Sun-Herald fashion editor Kate Waterhouse asked the star about her famous curves, saying, “You have been an inspiration as a full-figured woman. What is the most inspiring story that you can remember where you’ve inspired someone?”
It seems clear to us that the journalist meant no harm and probably meant to pay the actress a compliment. But Hendricks didn’t take it that way, and we’re willing to bet that what Waterhouse actually said and what what Hendricks heard were not one and the same. To Hendricks, the question probably sounded more like: “You’re too heavy to be conventionally beautiful, but somehow you’re confident and popular in spite of that. Let’s discuss.”
While some might see this incident as a PR failure, it’s more a reflection of the fact that “full-figured” is simply too close to the word “fat”, which remains one of our most painful insults. The connection inspires moments of insecurity even for a successful and self-assured woman like Christina Hendricks. She doesn’t have a PR problem — curves do.