The story behind the hand on the American Beauty poster

·2-min read
American Beauty poster (Dreamworks/Kobal/Shutterstock)
American Beauty poster (Dreamworks/Kobal/Shutterstock)

The American Beauty poster is one of the most famous in the history of film – with its bare, youthful stomach, its red rose and its perfectly manicured hand – but it doesn’t actually feature any of the movie’s cast.

Kevin Spacey starred in the 1999 movie as Lester, a man whose life seems perfect on the outside but who, on the inside, is slowly slipping into depression. Struggling with life, he gets infatuated with his daughter’s friend, Angela, played by Mena Suvari.

In 2019, it was revealed that the hand on the poster belongs not to Suvari but to Mad Men star Christina Hendricks.

Posting on Instagram, Hendricks wrote alongside an image of the iconic poster: “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 of this film in ANY WAY!!! #americanbeauty.”

During an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show last week, Hendricks explained the full story behind the image.

“I used to be a model, and one of the gigs I got was to go and shoot a movie poster,” said Hendricks. “I had no idea what the film was. There were two models, myself and one other. And we did different versions of her hand and her stomach, and my stomach and her hand, and my hand and both. My hand made it in and her stomach made it in.”

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The stomach reportedly belongs to model and actor Chloe Hunter.

“I did a few gigs where I did some hand modeling,” Hendricks continued. “I was a ballet dancer, so I guess I know how to move my hands in an elegant fashion. It was just a plain, ol’ gig. I probably got paid a hundred bucks or something. I was just thrilled to have a job. I didn’t know what American Beauty was going to be. And then I finally saw it and was like, ‘Hey, that’s my hand!’”

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