It’s a poster as iconic as the movie itself, as rare a distinction then as it would be now. There aren’t too many films one can conjure an image of so clearly even 20 years later, but say the title “American Beauty” and one immediately sees a bright red rose placed diagonally across a flat stomach, held in place by a simple hand. Turns out, that hand didn’t belong to that stomach, and it isn’t just any hand — it belongs to Christina Hendricks.
The former “Mad Men” star took to Instagram to reveal that in her early days of her career she sometimes worked as a hand model, calling it a “fun fact” that she happened to book the gig for the “American Beauty” poster lo those 20 years ago.
“Fun fact…. wait for it…I used to be a model and sometimes a hand model…. this is my hand and another model’s stomach….proud to be a part if this film in ANY WAY!!!”
Directed by Sam Mendes, “American Beauty” was the critical darling of 1999, winning Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor (Kevin Spacey) the following year. Even more rare for an arthouse adult drama, it was financially successful as well, earning huge box office numbers ($356 million worldwide on a $15 million budget is mighty impressive).
Of course, it would be another eight years or so until Hendricks got her big break in “Mad Men,” the critically beloved AMC series created by Matthew Weiner. She worked steadily up until then, but it was her turn as sultry secretary Joan Holloway that established her as a force of nature. Hendricks was rewarded for her work: She received six consecutive Emmy nominations for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama series. She has since gone on to star in “The Neon Demon,” “American Woman,” and “Toy Story 4.”
That hand would be proud.