'Mad Men' Star Christina Hendricks a Role Model for Women?

British official hails curvy "Mad Men" actress as ideal role model for women.

ByABC News
July 26, 2010, 2:44 PM

July 27, 2010— -- If Christina Hendricks was hoping all the attention over her ample curves would die down already, she was wrong.

A British official just reignited the flames by singling out Hendricks, the "Mad Men" star as, a role model for young girls and women.

Lynne Featherstone, the U.K.'s Equalities Minister, who has campaigned against the fashion industry's use of size-zero models and airbrushing in magazines and advertisements, told the Guardian newspaper: "Christina Hendricks is absolutely fabulous. We need more of those role models."

Featherstone said young girls and women are constantly subjected to false images of extremely thin models and celebrities.

"All women have felt that pressure of having to conform to an unrealistic stereotype, which plagues them their whole life," she said. "It is not just the immediate harm; it is something that lasts a lifetime. Young girls are under intense pressure the whole time."

Ironically, Hendricks has been under a different kind of pressure. The actress, who plays outgoing office manager Joan Holloway on the AMC hit series, has become a poster girl for a new kind of beauty despite her desire to be known more for her work than her figure.

"It kind of hurt my feelings at first," she told New York Magazine earlier this year. "Anytime someone talks about your figure constantly, you get nervous, you get really self-conscious. I was working my butt off on the show, and then all anyone was talking about was my body!"

Like it or not, Hendricks has touched on a collective desire for a healthy conception of beauty.

"I think Christina is a breath of fresh air on "Mad Men," Mary Ann Stinson-Ottaviano, a resident of Raleigh, N.C., and a fan of the show, told ABCNews.com. "I do believe that she is a great role model for women."

Emme, the pioneering plus-size supermodel and television personality, said it's not so much who Hendricks is as what she represents that makes her a role model.