Christina Hendricks' New Blonde Hair Is Her Farewell To Mad Men

Photo: Maria Laura Antonelli/REX USA.
Much of the world is undoubtedly wrapped up in speculation about the final season of Mad Men, AMC's hit drama that has enraptured audiences everywhere with its distinctly retro sensibility. And, as viewers plan their inevitable goodbyes to their favorite characters, one of the show's beloved leading ladies — Christina Hendricks — is bidding her farewell the good, old-fashioned way: by dyeing her hair.

The newly blonde actress, who's also the face of Clairol (she's Nice 'n Easy Permanent Color in 8G now, in case you were wondering), sat down with us to discuss life after Joan, the joys of being a redhead, and working with Ryan Gosling. Check out what she had to say — and her new 'do — below.

You're a blonde now! What prompted this change?
"Well, I’d been the same shade of red for over 20 years, which I loved — and will one day, I’m sure, experiment with it again — but Mad Men ended, and I was associating that red color with Joan, even though I had been that color way before...they began to represent each other. But, the show ended and it was emotional for me... I found myself moving to New York and all of these things were changing, so I thought, How about a fresh start? Get a new look, a new city, and embrace this newness?"

What was the best thing about being a redhead? 
"I chose the color I wanted to be. I took control of it. I had always been attracted to other redheads, and it had always seemed romantic to me — The Lady of Shalott painting, there was always a romance to it. It allowed me to express that part of myself."

So, you color your own hair, a prospect that sounds daunting to some. Do you have any tips for doing it right?
"It’s so funny, I’ve been doing it my whole life. My mom does it and I do it, and we’ll be on the phone with one another and I’ll be like, 'I gotta go, I got color in my hair!' It’s such a natural part of my life. It’s pretty simple. I follow the directions on the box entirely. I think you’ll have an instinct of what will suit you. The nice thing about what I did [to go blonde] is that it’s color tones I’m familiar with; I just shifted two to three shades lighter. So, you can play around in the same tones if you know it works for you, but shift it two or three ways darker or lighter. You can always change it again! It’s not that scary."

Besides the red hair, what are you going to miss the most about playing Joan?
"I'll miss the writing on that show — it’s just extraordinary. To work on something for eight years and feel creatively fulfilled for that long, and still want to tear into the scripts every time you got them; I don’t know if that happens hardly ever. We’ll all always have that, which is really great. But, I’ll also just miss playing that kind of woman! She was just so much fun to play and she was so many things, so she constantly surprised me and I got to do all sorts of things. I just loved her. The show, to me, really is something that changed all of our lives and we’re all deeply proud of...and I hope it’s one of those shows that will stand the test of time, and people will still enjoy it down the road and discover it [anew]."

What are you most excited about next in your career?
"I just did a pilot with Cameron Crowe, who I’m a huge fan of, so I was excited to work with him. We’re waiting to see [if it will get picked up]...it will be on Showtime. That will be a really fun show, if we get to do that. I also have a couple movies coming out that we’ve finished — I did this movie [Lost River] with Ryan Gosling that he directed, and Dark Places, a Gillian Flynn movie with Charlize Theron. I also just did a comedy. So, I’ve been keeping busy! And, they're very different projects. Dark Places is a thriller; Lost River is sort of a surreal art piece, a drama; and the comedy is a broad, naughty, goofy piece... I’ve been having fun!"

A photo posted by @clairolcolor on

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Can you tell us about a particularly defining moment for you as an actress? 
"Mad Men was so pivotal for all of us, because people started to trust [us] as artist[s]. [I used to be] constantly going into a room [for an audition] and doing [my] thing, and hoping to impress in that two minutes...and now, when I walk into a room, oftentimes they’ve already seen some of my work and enjoyed the show. It’s changed my career in a way that I can walk in with more confidence...which is a really nice feeling. When I worked with Cameron Crowe, whom I’ve admired for so many years, he just was so complimentary and so kind and gave me such positive feedback... I [felt like] I knew what I was doing just then. As an artist, you’re constantly questioning yourself. So, those little moments you experience...you try and remember them and hold onto them."

What would you most like to tell your 25-year-old self?
"I would say, work hard. This is the time to work really hard and to hone your skills, whatever you’re doing. Be passionate about it...I’ve always had this go-with-the-flow attitude, and it’s been wonderful and so many great experiences have happened, but I think I could have sped that process up had I been more of a go-getter... I just think it’s drive. A little bit of focus. Find what you really love, and get it. That's it. Get it!"

What kind of beauty advice would you like to give?
"I know it sounds sort of dramatic...but I think we need to go back and embrace individuality, and celebrate that we’re all so different. The women I think are beautiful...are embracing what they were given. Women on the streets of New York or London, I’m always inspired [by]. I come back to L.A. saying...I’m gonna do that! And, not worry about the criticism! I find when I do make those choices, other [people] respond positively. Some women are afraid to wear hats. I’ve gotten very into turbans, and people will come up to me and say, 'I’ve been wanting to do that, but I’m scared.' Don’t be scared! Wear your turban or your fuchsia lipstick! ... I wish I would see more of that on the red carpet — fashion risks, or showing your personality. We were joking that I might need to rock a Björk swan thing soon...it’s about time someone did it. In honor of the MoMA exhibit, I’ll come dressed as another sort of bird. I loved that look."

When was the moment you felt your most beautiful?
"I remember feeling beautiful on my wedding day... I look back, and the one thing I wanted to change was my hair... [D]o the hair test before! Don’t count your pennies on that one! I had given a picture to someone I’d never worked with before of these long, flowing waves, and I ended up looking like Bernadette Peters. I love Bernadette Peters a lot, but that’s just not what I expected. It was very curly. I’m hoping another 10 years will [pass], and it’ll be stylish. But, I was just so happy... Everyone I loved was there, and I felt certain and happy. I just felt happy. It was a great day."


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