Christina Hendricks Does Not Like Being Referred to As "Full-Figured" by Waify Little Fashion Journalists
film / tv / lists / guides / news / love / celeb / video / think pieces / staff / podcasts / web culture / politics / dc / snl / netflix / marvel / cbr

Christina Hendricks Does Not Like Being Referred to As "Full-Figured" by Waify Little Fashion Journalists

By Dustin Rowles | Miscellaneous | October 4, 2012 | Comments ()


In an interview with the Australian outfit, The Sun Herald, Christina Hendricks took offense and clearly looked ticked off after the fashion editor Kater Waterhouse referred to her as "full figured." Now, knowing that, and before watching the video, I wondered why Ms. Hendricks would take umbrage with that characterization. While "full figured" is often used euphemistically, I've never known it as an insult, and since much of Mrs. Hendricks physical appeal -- what she clearly plays up in "Mad Men" -- has to do with the fact that she's the total opposite of the typical Hollywood body type, I wondered why she would later suggest that "calling me full-figured is just rude."

Then I saw the video. Then I saw the woman who was asking the question. Then I understood. Context is everything. Obviously, I'm not a woman so I probably should not speak to how one should prefer to be characterized, but I'm guessing that being referred to as "full figured" by a drooling male journalist is a lot different than being referred to as "full figured" by a super-thin fashion editor.

I, likewise, wanted to tell Waterhouse to jump up a koala's ass.

You know what's nice about being "full figured" in this situation? She can kick that fashion editor's ass. Or maybe break a vase over her head.


American Horror Story Trailer | Ranking THR's 50 Best Television Showrunners

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Strand

    Kate Waterhouse is a fuckin bitch anyway. Down in Australia, they're a fairly prominent family with their fingers in almost every pie from fashion, gambling, media to horse-racing. The unfortunate side effect is that nearly every Waterhouse, bar the incurably untalented, gains some coveted but attention-seeking job like this out of nepotism. They're basically the Romneys by way of the Murdochs.

  • Sars

    Hendricks is marketed and promoted as a "full figure" alternative to the hollywood body types you see everywhere. She doesnt object to that. She plays in to it. She gives interviews saying how she is happy to be the mascot of "real" women. she is famous for this (and rightfully so)
    Her reaction in this clip has everything to do with the marketing machine. She has every right not to want to be the flag bearer for the "full figured" movement. specially when full-figured is a euphomism often used for fat. At the same time, why blame the interviewer? because she is skinny? how does her body type make her more deserving of spite and anger (and body snarking), than if another "full figured" woman had pose the same question. Remember, this question, and its varying versions have been asked of Hendricks numerous times.
    Does it matter WHO asks the question? she agreed to the interview. she is an actress. an actress whose "actressin'" is largely promoted by her looks. for gods sake, even the writers on this site use her as a rep of "real women" So why does it matter if a skinny chic asks this?
    As a skinny chic, I often get asked how im so skinny, why im so skinny, why dont I eat something, I would look sooooo better with an extra 10-15 lbs... etc. How is this ANY better than asking someone how they feel to be an inspiration to "real" women everywhere? why do only the people with meat get the sympathy?
    its ok for you to insult the skinny one but not the one you deem perfect? why?

  • LibraryChick

    @89271304dc3263ebb2e7939e056022c8:disqus-I have a feeling in your personal situation, folks may be genuinely envious of your ability to have a desirable build in society's eyes. It really is all about context.

    My female coworkers range from roughly size 00 to 26. (I am somewhere in the middle on this figure.) The heaviest one was approved for gastric bypass but has other health problems so at this time she has chosen not to undergo the procedure. Her feelings have been hurt in the past when the male boss joked about needing to replace office chairs because the cushion was wearing out at her desk. One of my former size 00 coworkers was constantly trying to gain weight and got upset when my former size 18/20 coworker teased her during a discussion about "skinny" jeans. I've learned weight is not something to comment about unless the other person mentions the topic first. Even then, proceed cautiously.

    When my mom was undergoing chemotherapy, my dad and I bugged her the entire time about eating to maintain her strength. We never made it about her weight, though. When she was done with her final round of chemo, she was proud to tell us she had lost only one pound, but she was much happier to share the oncologist's news a few months later about the tumor's disappearance.

    Weight is a touchy issue, no matter who delivers the message. I think the reporter was very much mistaken in her approach to Ms. Hendricks. It's one thing to promote confidence in one's body or discuss her subject's role in doing so, but it's not up to her to label her interviewee's build. Leave that to the interviewee if s/he chooses to continue with the topic. Man, woman, it doesn't matter, just don't talk about weight.

  • Idle Primate

    i learned a long time ago that you never say "full figured". I love women more curvy rather than less, but there never seems to be a good way to complement that about a woman. everything gets taken as a veiled insult, or the equivalent of 'she'd be really pretty if she was a bit thinner'.

  • LibraryChick

    I will accept someone saying I look better with more weight on me, even if I don't necessarily agree. (I'm 10-15 lbs. up from my weight a decade ago.) If I get told I am stocky or chubby, I'm not happy, even if it's meant with love. If someone says I have a more muscular or solid build, I will accept that fundamental truth as not insulting, but it is a fine line to comment on any woman's weight. "You look great" is the best way to respond to changes in a woman if you think she looks better, whether she's plus 20 or down 20 lbs. from the last time you saw her or sports a new pair of hot specs.

  • Tammy

    ugh ugh ugh YES, she has a glorious body and YES she knows it and YES she accentuates it but NO that doesn't mean that she's not allowed to get annoyed that her glorious body is ALL anyone ever wants to ask her about.
    I absolutely bristle at the suggestion that because she doesn't "play down" her voluptuousness she's required to suck it up when it's the only dominant topic of conversation. I HEAR YOU, people out there who are saying "But she likes the attention!", I DO: she's an actor - we are a people that like attention, yes. But ANYONE would get bored with or annoyed by people asking the. same. question. in. every. interview. [Seriously. Show me one article about her that doesn't eventually devolve into this topic. I'll wait.]
    I REALLY am bummed out by how many people are making the "She dresses like X so she deserves X treatment and shouldn't complain about it." NOPE. It's a gross thing to say when people are talking about slut-shaming and it's gross here, too. She has no responsibility to you to dress down in order to be allowed to talk about something more substantial than her figure, and she's well within her rights to politely request before an interview that perhaps they should stick to discussing her work instead of her waistline. And if that request is denied by a dumbass reporter, she has every right to get annoyed. Because it's annoying.
    Fact remains she is a BRILLIANT actor, who has a banging body. She should be able to have that body and dress it in whatever way makes her feel good and still expect the public to ***occasionally*** want to hear about something other than her majestic breasts. Is that SUCH a horrible expectation???

  • L.O.V.E.

    Accept, the ONLY reason she was doing this press junket with a FASHION editor was to sell a fashion accessory putting appearance at the forefront of the subject matter, and the subject of her body WASN'T the only subject of the interview, and she has done interviews with the express purpose of ONLY talking about her body (she gladly answered similar questions to Shape magazine) and though the interviewer could have done a better job of phrasing the question she was really just giving Hendricks a softball question about being a role model re body image (hey, an actual substantive issue) and despite what some people have surmised, it is more likely that her publicist failed to note to the interviewer that this subject matter was hands off before the interview started.

    Frankly, I saw one seemingly successful, attractive female asking another successful, attractive female some questions that served their mutual interest, and neither is a bad person.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I don't like any of this. The whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  • Bert_McGurt

    That interviewer is bloody awful. "Why is it your first time in Australia?" Because it's on the other side of the world, idiot. And you REALLY couldn't find a picture of her in glasses?

    It's clear she's done minimal preparation and hasn't bothered to read Hendricks' requests before the interview. Based on the off-camera person's comments it's apparent that they told them beforehand that they didn't want any questions related to her weight or her body, because she gets asked those questions all the time. I'd be sick of it too by now.

    A tall, thin friend of mine was once walking down the street when some random dude stuck his head out the window of a car and yelled at her to "Eat some chocolate, skinny girl!" I can't think of a better reply for Ms. Hendricks to have offered this vapid questioner.

  • Strand

    "Eat some chocolate, skinny girl!"

    Sorry, I'm gonna steal this one.

  • FrayedMachine

    Okay, admittedly, I have not watched the interview yet, but... I'm sorry, but Hendricks' entire image and the vast majority of why she's famous is because of the way she looks. Whenever you see her on the red carpet, it's not about the dress she's wearing, it's about how much cleavage she can squeeze out without a nipple popping out. It's pretty clear she loves the attention for how she looks and is proud of the fact that she's not the typical looking Hollywood starlet, so I'm baffled as to why she would be surprised over people constantly talking about it.

  • David Sorenson

    As opposed to every other female on the red carpet? I hadn't realized that severe modesty had become a trend.

  • Bert_McGurt

    You should really watch the interview. The person asking the questions is clearly useless. She twice asked her a question on a topic that Ms. Hendricks had obviously specified was off-limits. THAT'S why she's surprised.
    It's not difficult to ask an actor about their work, which she does make a half-assed (pun intended) attempt at. But from the very first question the interviewer establishes her lack of common sense and preparation.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    As a woman that has very similar proportions to CH, I can assure you, it's not about how much cleavage one can show off. When one has tons of cleavage it's a constant struggle to straddle the line between inadvertently looking like a porn star and covering up like a nun.

    I think there's also a real difference between saying "she loves the attention" and her being a self-confident actress. People are talking about her figure no matter what and yet she's confident in her self - but that doesn't mean she's isn't sick of talking about her figure all the time. Wouldn't you be exasperated if that's the only thing people asked you about? It's like Cyrano de Bergerac getting teased for his nose.
    Also, you mention that it's not about "dress she's wearing" and that's for the very real reason that she doesn't fit into the sample sizes provided to most actresses, so her clothing has to be made specially for these appearances. Therefore she's rarely if ever going to be a in a dress from one of the haute couture houses and thus it will *never* be about the dress.

  • FrayedMachine

    The average woman with Hendrick's proportions does not have Hendrick's salary and tons of designers who are throwing themselves at her to wear their creations. I, too, am a busty gal with relatively similar proportions to CH (except a smaller version of her since I'm not, you know, a 6 foot tall woman) and have managed to figure it out. Needless to say, I'm not basing my identity on how I look, nor am I trying to market myself as a sex bomb shell.

    She's self-confident, yes, but she also loves the attention. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but when you're basically asking for people to pay attention to how you look, I start to lose sympathy when you get upset that people are... you know... paying attention to how you look.

    Also, please. There have been many a woman who did not fit into the run way fashion house mold who have had people falling all over the dress they're wearing. Oprah, for one, is a woman who once she reaches the red carpet, more often than not is wearing a dress that people are commenting and actively talking about (for better or for worse). Hendricks doesn't HAVE to wear a DG dress or a Chanel dress for people to pay attention. She, quite simply, has to just wear a dress that SUITS her. I also say this because not every woman who walks down the run way is wearing an insanely fantastic mind blowing ornate or detailed dress. In fact, as of late, the women who've been getting the most applaud for their dresses have been women who are wearing quite simple affairs. But THEY pull it off, THEY are part of why the dress looks good.

    I get depressed whenever I see Hendricks because she's increasingly becoming a caricature of herself. Not only that but she has a CHOICE. She is constantly walking down the red carpet. There's more than one designer who's given her a dress to wear, and I'd imagine there's significantly more than one who offers when she has a carpet to walk down.

  • She's not 6 feet tall. I've seen her in person. She's somewhere between 5'6" and 5'9" - She was wearing heeled boots when I saw her, but she wasn't much taller than I am, and I'm 5'6".

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    I'm afraid you have an unrealistic idea of what she commands. Designers aren't throwing themselves at her. Unless she's personally up for an Oscar (not just attending), CH is unlikely to get a Dior or simiarly upscale designer to seek her out. By and large, she wears dresses from Christian Siriano, winner of project Runway who makes them for her. He's talented, but he's B list. Also, let's be real, she a cast member of an AMC show and has no where near the wealth of Oprah. Oprah has dresses made my fashion houses at her request; but those houses are not flinging samples at her. She's much more in common with actresses like Octavia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy than say Julie Bowen. Hell, even size 8 Mindy Kailing has lamented that it's an issue for her, so I think it's inaccurate for you to compare CH's fashion selections to everyone else's when she genuinely doesn't have the same level of options. Tom Ford makes amazing simple dresses, but he makes them for Gweneth Paltrow, not CH. She does her best, but she is operating within limitations (keep in mind when she covers up, she's derided as dressing too matronly) .

    If you don't care for her looks that's obviously personal choice, but I think you're imputing way more to a low cut dress than is there. I've read several interviews with CH and I've never gotten out of it that she "loves the attention" and/or is interested in making it all about her looks. While that might be accurate for her character Joan, I don't get the sense that she's an attention whore in and of herself and she's even been described as somewhat shy. I think what's she's done in embrace the attention that's coming her way -whether she wants it or not- and go with it as her profession demands. In short, I don't think she's a caricature at all (are we going to start saying the same thing of Sofia Vergara?).

    I know @zeke_the_pig:disqus is with me when I say if you got it, flaunt it.

  • ,

    It took the TV anchorwoman 4 1/2 minutes to express her annoyance at (perceived) rudeness. It took CH five seconds, with body (yum!) language.

    CH FTW, as always.

  • ghisent

    Also, those glasses are doing it for me big time. It's not usually a thing for me, but on her, dang.

  • alwaysanswerb

    I guess I'm too lazy to boot up my Google machine right now, but I'm wondering exactly how this question has been posed and answered in the past. It's obvious to anyone who can see that Hendricks isn't a waif; she's said as much herself, and she's expressed pride in her figure (as well she should.) While I'm aware that the exact phrase "full figured" in fashion is often an underhanded euphemism, I feel like there has to be a way for a woman who, uh, doesn't share Hendricks' curves(?) to ask this kind of question in an earnest, non-offensive way. At its bare bones, it's not an offensive question (kind of shallow, maybe) but not offensive.

  • ghisent

    I don't know that I agree. If you're phrasing it like she did - that she's an "inspiration" to full-figured women, it's condescending and a bit insulting no matter what. Like, "what do you say to those other chunky monkeys who don't look as good as you? You're an inspiration to them!"

    Now, if she wanted to discuss the typical Hollywood physical archetype (which the interviewer herself falls into) and how Hendricks doesn't fit that mold and some of the ramifications of that, challenges she's faced because she's not crazy-thin, etc., then we'd have some interesting discussion. But lose the "inspiration" tripe.

  • alwaysanswerb

    I really think language must be the crux of the issue, because I've read countless articles about Hendrix being inspirational and a role model to non-size 0 women, but perhaps it's a question that is indelicate to ask her directly? She knows her body is a topic of conversation, she's spoken about it herself, and if she's simply tired of talking about it, I get it. And she's entitled to feel any way she wants about these questions, so I'm not trying to dissect the "right-ness" of her response, but this reaction seems to me a little disingenuous. She seems to act a bit like she's never experienced anything like this question before, when I know for a fact that's not true. So I'm just wondering what this particular woman did wrong.

    EDIT to add: Bert_the_Pajibian mentions off camera comments that seem to indicate Hendricks had requested beforehand that she not be asked questions about her body during the interview, which I didn't hear earlier (my sound is low.) So if that's the case then that seems to support the idea that she's tired of talking about it, which wouldn't be at all surprising.

  • ghisent

    I also get the impression that, based on her looking off camera for her "I'm sorry" part, that this was a topic that they'd asked not be used in advance of the interview, which is pretty common, and totally understandable. And then the interviewer did it again.

    But moreover, I think it was a semantic issue, but a critical one. You're right, that's an important topic and Hendricks has actively sought to insert herself into the conversation at times. I think it was just handled really clumsily (not to mention her ignoring what may have been pre-set ground rules) by the interviewer.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Much ado about nothing. The interviewer didn't say anything wrong, but use the politically correct term that is required today lest she be labeled insensitive. So she plays by the rules, uses the proprer term, and still is getting shit for it?

    The question was couched in terms of being a role model. She was not insulting or pandering. Hendricks has addressed similar questions without a hint of indignation. Are these fasion "journalist" now expected to pretend they are blind?

    I dont exactly see Hendricks playing down her "assets" either on Mad Men or on the red carpet.
    If Hendricks wants hard hitting questions about Syria I think Jim Lehrer is free.

  • seth

    Who the hell cares? I don't have any opinion of C. Hendricks, but she is just as vapid as the interviewer here. "I've just been driving around...". They can both go pound sand.

  • melissa

    I'd be interested to see this same article written by a woman. The idea that "full figured" means "curvy and womanly" rather than "a large/heavy woman" is so laughably a drooling-male concept. The fashion industry most definitely does NOT use the phrase that way. Calling someone "full figured" in the fashion industry/entertainment press is slang for "fatty fatty fatass, put down the hamburger." Which, ugh, she's not fat, but anything that isn't 6-foot-and-bony might as well be 300 pounds in the fashion industry.

  • Katylalala

    Agreed. As soon as I read the headline my first thought was "Well no shit, neither would I!"

    It is code for 'fat', just like saying 'She's got a great personality!'.

  • Artemis

    Yes. I've *never* heard full-figured as a compliment (even from a guy, who I think would be more likely to say something like "curvy"). It's a euphemism that the fashion industry uses, like plus-size, to describe someone that doesn't fit "standard" sizes. There are things like "full-figured fashion week" that show plus-sized clothing, and the term is often used to describe plus-sized stores/clothing lines.

  • Idle Primate

    i think a lot of guys learn to say nothing, rather than say something that will be interpreted as an insult. if i were making a sexy-0-meter, 'plus size', curvy, and full figured are on the hot end; petite, lean and the hollywood look are at the cold end. But if I was complimenting a girl I found hot, I would avoid any reference to anything in particular I found hot about her, unless her eyes or hair. To do otherwise is inevitably to risk insult. I just don't think of thin or lean as the ideal, but what a woman hears is not that she is sexy but that i have aberrant taste.

    I was schooled a long time ago about "full figured" which I thought, at the time, as complimentary.

    It's sad that people are more hung up on fashion, fashion models, and fashion lingo, than what regular(the vast majority) people think, like, and say.

  • Tammy

    Understand that being fetishized isn't awesome, either, unless that's your particular bag, baby. In which case, keep on keeping on.
    Best course of action is not to censor yourself out of fear of what the woman might say, but to make it more clear that you are talking to her as an individual, and not as a representative of a type or body part you find attractive.

    No one is going to object to being told she's stunning. Go with that - there's no need to lead with the specific feature (that can make a girl feel objectified - this one thing she may or may not have control over is now being singled out, intentionally or not, as the thing she is being valued for). Just tell her she's beautiful. If she then asks what makes her beautiful, you have full license to explicate.
    It's often not the words, but the context that matters. One rarely ends up having a problem when one speaks to someone as an equal, and not an object.

  • Idle Primate

    i don't think i was saying anything about fetishizing. but that is a good word for media beauty standards

  • K

    Ugh, gross. Classily deflected though.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    That reporter... is she an intern or something, how unprofessional. What a putz.

  • Wednesday

    What a totally vapid interview. Hendricks looks, rightfully, like she wants to slap the stupid out of that "reporter."

    Kate Headupyourass, as a flat-chested woman, how many flat-chested women have YOU inspired?

  • The interviewer basically calls Christina a liar, too, when she says she's never seen her in glasses, and then compounds it by saying she did an internet search and couldn't find any photos. By the way, I did a search and found tons. I'd be pretty perturbed at that.

    She could have asked a similar question, like, "I've seen you in TV, Movies, and at awards shows, and you exude so much sexy confidence. That's a huge inspiration to woman, do you have any tips for our viewers to feel more comfortable showing skin?"

  • L.O.V.E.

    Honestly, I did a search too, and you pretty much have to be a stalker to get to the pics of her wearing glasses. I dont think she was caling her a liar.

    Where are the pics with glasses?

  • Nisi

    If you search for "Christina Hendricks" you don't get any with glasses. If you search for "Christina Hendricks glasses" you get tonnes. Just because "outlets" prefer to post unbespectacled photos doesn't mean she doesn't have any photos with glasses. If I were about to do a story on Christina Hendricks promoting glasses, it might occur to me to add "glasses" to the search string if I were halfway good at doing research... but I don't suppose research skills are high up on the skill set for fashion reporters.

  • Danar the Barbarian

    As a flat-chested woman myself, I can tell you she was probably intimidated. We A-cup girls are often quickly dismissed right off the bat as unfeminine, unsexy and downright flawed. Not excusing the reporter's attitude, of course - there's no reason to be bitchy, and it's unprofessional. Honestly, if I were to come face-to-face with Christina Hendricks, I'd probably ask to feel her up, since I'll never have another chance at holding that magnificence in my own hands!

  • BierceAmbrose

    Honestly, if I were to come face-to-face with Christina Hendricks, I'd probably ask to feel her up, since I'll never have another chance at holding that magnificence in my own hands!


    I'm of two minds about this. (I said "minds." Pervs.) On the one hand (one can hope) some examples of female architecture just make me go "wuuuuh." That sure feels way closer to the reptile brain than any socially constructed "what people should look like." Some images just seem to set off something in the wiring. While nice, that's an effect and kind of thin, sort of like sneezing.

    On the other hand, plus any other body parts I can bring to bear, I've been stunned and left gawking by women wearing a A-cups. I suppose that's the difference - how you wear it, er, them.

    @Danar's honest appreciation even solves @Idle's problem. Don't talk about it, and double-plus-don't with the culture-words. Get a little lost in the curve that's caught your immediate attention and she'll get the message. She'll love it or smack you - maybe both.

    If you must speak, try being in the moment like " ... Oh, I'm just noticing the way that shirt hangs."

    Good Godtopus, all this culture-talk and fashion-mag pseudo standards getting in the way, when there's boobs? It's a sin.

  • alwaysanswerb

    I know you're being facetious, but it's not remotely the same. "Flat chested" isn't an explicitly erased body type in Hollywood, even if it's not per se preferable to being thin with a larger chest.

  • Guest

    ^^^ This-a-ness.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Would she object being referred to as Fucking Majestic? Because she is the definition of that in that header pic.

  • L.O.V.E.

    I don't know, I feel like that header pic may be missing something?
    Can't quite put my finger on it (no matter how many times I poke my monitor).

  • zeke_the_pig

    Thank you for that

  • L.O.V.E.

    I presume you were talking directly to the picture.

    I am but a vessel delivering the treasures.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    Too bad you weren't asking the questions.

  • zeke_the_pig

    I wish, but I'd have difficulty saying, 'fucking majestic' through a mouthful of drool and a beauty-induced stroke.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    Totally preferable, I assure you.

  • Cara

    She's stunning! She's so well proportioned - any woman would be envious of her figure. She seems to be the perfect weight for her body - what is wrong with people??

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    Is "full figured" considered to be in the same realm as "she's got a good personality"? Honest question. I'd also like to know how Ms. Waterhouse would characterize herself?

  • ghisent

    It's the female version of minorities being told "you speak so well."

  • janedoe

    That's easy. If you're flat chested, you have an "athletic" build, and if you have boobs you're full-figured.

  • LibraryChick

    That's funny. I'm pretty flat myself, but I certainly don't have an athletic build. Can't wait to hear what that journalist would call me. I would probably want to slap her myself if she called me an inspiration to pear-shaped flatties.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    So it's purely a chestal thing? Because I've seen plenty of athletic women with bigger boobs and many full-figured women with none.

    Now I want boobs.

blog comments powered by Disqus