'Weekend Drive': Christina Hendricks

Bill Weir goes for a ride with "Mad Men's" sexy star.

April 25, 2009— -- Christina Hendricks offered to take "GMA Weekend" on a Weekend Drive to her hometown of Twin Falls, Idaho. Hendricks is best known for her role as Joan Holloway on "Mad Men," a television series set in an ad agency in the early 60s. Hendricks is not new to acting. She's been on stage most of her life.

When we asked if we could get to know her better she suggested we meet her in Twin Falls where she got her start. Until now, Twin Falls was most noted for Evel Knievel's 1974 failed attempt at jumping the Snake River Canyon. Hendrick's recent rise to stardom may override the city's claim to fame. Bill Weir drove around town in a 1958 Chevy Impala with Hendricks to capture the lost pastime of Weekend Drives.

BILL WEIR: How has the success of the show changed your life?

CHRISTINA HENDRICKS: It's changed my life in every way possible. It's really nice, as an actress, you, you plug along for a while and you work on shows. And, and every time one ends, you gotta start from the beginning and start auditioning again and prove yourself each and every time. And for once, people already know what I've been working on. I don't have to work so hard to convince someone to audition me. So it's helped in that way, just walking into a room and not feeling so beaten down. People respect the show and they're excited about it, so that's been really nice.

WEIR: How do you regard the audition process?

HENDRICKS:I wish I knew a better way. I wish I knew a better way that wasn't so soul-crushing. I don't know of one. It's just a necessary evil and you have to go into that room and your hands are shaking and trembling. I get very scared for auditions. I get incredibly nervous.

WEIR: What kind of kid were you? Did you dream of stardom when you were living here?

HENDRICKS: I was always making up dances. I had choreography going every day and would invite the other girls to come over to my house. "Do you want to come over? I'm gonna choreograph a dance this afternoon. I could really use you in the number." We'd go to the Salvation Army and get great things for costumes and put on little shows.

WEIR: Are you a singer?

HENDRICKS: I sing all the time but I'm not that good.

WEIR: Will you ever sing for a role? Would you? Would you do a musical?

HENDRICKS: Absolutely. I would, I would train my butt off. I would study and study and study. Yeah, I would absolutely do it.

WEIR: Why do you think people respond to "Mad Men's" Joan Holloway so strongly?

HENDRICKS: Well, she's just written so fabulously. I can't think of another character like her on television. And I think that she's great because she's one of the guys and she's one of the girls. And she's not a pushover, but she can also be very vulnerable.

WEIR: It seems like there's a conflict there. She has a sort of a modern working woman's ambition. But at the same time, it's sort of that Feminine Mystique. She's there to get a husband, right?

HENDRICKS: Yeah, it's funny because some people say they love Joan because she's such a feminist. And there are other people who say Joan uses her sexuality to get what she wants, and isn't that the opposite of feminism? I think she's just using everything she's got. I don't think she's defined what it is. It's Peggy's character who's really breaking down barriers for women in the workplace and, and the kind of roles that women would get. But Joan's also really, really good at her job and takes a lot of pride in that.

WEIR: Right. But being there is a means to an end and that's a husband, right?

HENDRICKS: But is it?

WEIR: Maybe that's what she thinks initially.

HENDRICKS: Yet she keeps not getting married. I don't know what's gonna happen in season three. I haven't been told. But it seems to me Joan could have gotten married whenever she wanted. And I don't know if it's what she really wants.

WEIR: How much do you think the sexual politics of the workplace has changed since that era?

HENDRICKS: I don't think anyone's thinking differently. I think they just watch their tongues a little bit more, probably. There are a lot more lawsuits than there were. I think women have gotten power in that way and have stood up for themselves in that way but there's still a lot of sexist things going on and misbehavior all over the place. We're animals, we're human animals. We can't help ourselves.

WEIR: I just realized that I didn't open your door for you on the car.

HENDRICKS: Tsk, tsk.

WEIR: Is it true that Matthew Weiner, creator of "Mad Men," told the actresses to stop working on your arms? He doesn't want any chiseled arms?

HENDRICKS: He has a big issue with that. And of course, in Los Angeles where people are so fit and working out all the time and sometimes a little work on the face, it doesn't look like 1960s. So Matthew is very careful about his casting. He did specifically say, "I don't want to see any muscle. I don't want to see biceps." So we're all like, "No problem, thank you, this just became even a more perfect job".

WEIR: What was your first paid job as an actress?

HENDRICKS: I did a commercial about two weeks after I moved to L.A. with Pierce Brosnan. It was a Visa Check Card commercial. My line was, "Absolutely, James. I'll just need some ID."

WEIR: Sort of a Miss Moneypenny.

HENDRICKS: I was a lithe sexy girl behind the counter flirting with James Bond. And I was so nervous, I was so nervous, I was absolutely trembling and Pierce Brosnan was so nice. He said, "You're doing great. Calm down. You're gonna be fine." Of course he'd never remember me in a million years, but I thank him for being so patient with me. He was very nice.

WEIR: Who were your heroes growing up?

HENDRICKS: When I lived here, I was very much involved in dance at the time, I wanted to be a dancer. So my heroes were Margot Fonteyn and Baryshnikov. I think a lot of artists or actors have a dream of how their life would become or idols that they base their life on. And I just always have sort of gone with the flow. I never had a game plan.

WEIR: So, no standing in front of the mirror with a hairbrush as an Oscar?

HENDRICKS: I definitely played a tennis racquet as a guitar. I wanted to be one of the Go Gos for a little bit. Well, who didn't want to be one of the Go Gos, right?

WEIR: I wanted to be Belinda Carlisle. So do you still have that go-with-the-flow attitude in terms of your career?

HENDRICKS: It is an exciting time. Now I have all these people helping me figure it out. I have agents and managers and people who are saying, 'you should do this, and you shouldn't do this.' I've chosen to just listen to them for the most part. I guess I am still going with the flow. It's different now, though, because I'm getting married and my fiance's an actor and his show's in L.A. So now it's about making both of our things work together.

WEIR: How did you react when your fiance, Jeffrey Arrends, proposed?

HENDRICKS: I wept. I wept like a little baby. Everyone was in on it. My best friend asked me to come and baby-sit for her all day to get me out of the house. While I was there, I decided to do some gardening at her house. I was covered in mud and I came home and he had filled the house with flowers and purchased a chandelier for me that I'd wanted for probably 15 years. He was standing under it in a suit, just looking so dashing. And the second I walked in, I just started crying. After the whole thing happened, I realized I was covered in mud. Twenty minutes later, I said, "Can I call my mom? I want to tell my mom that we got engaged." He said, "Well, just give it a second." Three minutes later, the front doorbell rang and it was my mom and all my best friends and some of the people from "Mad Men." Everyone had champagne, everyone came in to celebrate.

WEIR: So, does any part of losing your anonymity trouble you?

HENDRICKS: Sure, absolutely. All of a sudden, people are coming up and taking pictures and stuff. And you're like, "Oh, God, it's terrible. This is awful." We were just at the airport in Los Angeles and someone took a picture of us -- it's the first time anything like that has happened, and we were sort of confused. I can't imagine what it must be like to be Jennifer Aniston. I feel sorry for her. What's happening to me is just exciting. What happens to her is a whole different level, you know.

WEIR: What is your advice for those little 11-year-old girls out there?

HENDRICKS: If you love something, keep doing it. That's what I did. I just kept doing what I love.

WEIR: Thanks for showing me around your town.

HENDRICKS: It was a pleasure.

We asked Christina to give us her ideal playlist for a road trip.

MIA PAPER PLANES (remix featuring Rye Rye and Afrikan Boy) -- MIA