Having uprooted from native South Dakota and made The Move to Los Angeles, January Jones wasted no time using her ice-blonde beauty to catty effect in this abandoned and unaired TV pilot.
She’s henchbitch Number One, the supremely gorgeous, supremely shallow sorority sister whose scathing remarks cut deep. Jones stands out as one of the few actors is the pilot who hasn’t set their performance dial to ‘overact madly’, which is perhaps why she’s gone on to better things. Fortuitously, this was also Christina Mad Men Hendricks' first blink-and-you’ll-miss-her gig. Watch it here .
Dumb Blonde? Anybody that bitchy has got to have a few brain cells where it counts.
Get Real (1999)
At this point, Jones was dating lanky punkmaster Ashton Kutcher, who kindly informed her that she’d never make it in Hollywood. Who’s laughing now, funnyboy?
Another barely-made-it-to-air false start for Jones, Get Real was an hour-long dramedy that aired on Fox and scarcely survived a 22 episode first season. She appeared in the pilot episode as Jane Cohen. Though it’s impossible to get a hold of (hence the lack of Jones pic), it’s notable for its impeccable cast, including wet-behind-the-ears Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway
Dumb Blonde? Your guess is as good as ours…
All The Rage (1999)
Jones breaks into feature films with this little-seen drama, which struggled to get distribution and is now an all-but-forgotten entry on the blonde bombshell’s expanding CV.
Interlacing the lives of nine people, All The Rage follows Helen (Joan Allen), who leaves her husband after he shoots and kills her lover. Starting a new life, she starts dating a computer nut who also has a thing for guns, and likes to flash it around like nobody’s business. Meanwhile, the tech guru’s ex-assistant becomes smitten with a mouthy street urchin (Anna Paquin)…
Dumb Blonde? She looks more crazy than stupid here.
The Glass House (2001)
Another tiny credit, Jones’ role was so small in this teen thriller that her character wasn’t even granted a proper name – she was instead titled ‘Girl’. The cheek.
Leelee Sobieski is the star here, playing an orphaned teen who is taken in by a friendly couple (Diane Lane and Stellan Skarsgård) living in Malibu. But soon she starts to suspect that her new guardians are anything but nice. People in glass houses and all that.
Dumb Blonde? We’re not sure we’re qualified to judge a character’s intellectual capacity based on a millisecond of screen time. She definitely looks perky, though.
More obscure roles, this one in a Bruce Willis crime vehicle, which co-stars Cate Blanchett and Billy Bob Thornton. The latter two received Golden Globe noms for their efforts. At least this one gives Jones a name: Claire, aka Pink Boots.
The plot follows two convicts (Willis and Thornton) who break out of Oregon State Penitentiary and go on a bank-looting spree. On the way, they pick up runaway housewife Kate (Blanchett), which stirs a love triangle into being.
Dumb Blonde? She's clever enough to know some kind of kung fu moves...
Finally, Jones bags herself a lead part. That it’s in a teen thriller-cum-slasher with a dodgy script is neither here nor there, with Jones demonstrating she can hold her own.
She’s Elizabeth, a provocative pearl-wearer who goes on a trip with her friends and boyfriend to a remote castle, where they play a card game in which they confront various social taboos . A year later, they meet again, but now there’s a murderer in their midst…
Dumb Blonde? It’s Liz's responsibility to explain to her friends what a taboo actually is. So they’re definitely thicker than she is.
Full Frontal (2002)
Jones lands a gig with the bigwigs, signing up to appear in this ‘day in the life’ drama from director Steven Soderbergh. Blurring fiction and reality in a French New Wave style, it follows Hollywood inhabitants as they go about their daily existence.
It’s mostly a star vehicle for Julia Roberts and David Duchovny, as their debaucherous lives lead them into hilarious clinches. Critic Roger Ebert wasn’t enamoured, calling it “a film so amateurish that only the professionalism of some of the actors makes it watchable”. We're sure he meant Jones.
Dumb Blonde? She dons specs in the movie, which is a sure sign of intelligence. Right?
Anger Management (2003)
January lets her inner vixen loose as she spices up this raucous Adam Sandler/Jack Nicholson comedy. She plays Gina, a lesbian porn star who’s attending an anger management class after a threesome with her girlfriend and a random guy goes horribly wrong.
Appearing in just four scenes, January single-handedly adds spark to an already sparky film, not least with that immortal line: “nobody talks to my bitch that way, so I stapled his lips shut.” Legendary.
Dumb Blonde? Certainly not. It takes masses of grey matter to make it big as a porn star.
American Pie: The Wedding (2003)
“I feel as though my career really hit its high point when I was cast as a supporting actress in American Pie: The Wedding. I thought the script had a lot of depth and intelligence, and it really just jumped off the page.”
That’s Jones’ take on the role that finally upped her movie profile. Appearing opposite her Taboo co-star Eddie Kaye-Thomas (Finch), she’s Cadence, sister to the bride and relentlessly pursued by both Finch and Stifler. But who will she end up with?
Dumb Blonde? Cadence is no dummy, figuring out what the boys are up to pretty sharpish.
Love Actually (2003)
January returns to bit parts, though this one is at least a funny punchline to the film’s storyline in which luckless Colin (Kris Marshall, yes the BT chap) embarks on a trip to America where he’s heard the women “would seriously dig me with my cute British accent”.
Despite our doubts, it turns out to be true, with Colin befriending a trio of sizzlingly hot babes – among them Jones’ perky blonde Jeannie. They invite Colin back to their place for Christmas. Sadly, they have to sleep naked.
Dumb Blonde? She seems a few tools short of a kit, but it could just be an act…
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)
This belated prequel to the beloved, fleet-footed classic may feature a cameo from original star Patrick Swayze, but it was criticised for being a connect-the-dots follow-up that basically recycled all the best bits from the original film.
Still, it was a chance for Jones to slip into some period costumes – something that no doubt helped her in the Mad Men auditions. She plays Eve, the wealthy, quietly racist daughter of a wealthy Cuban businessman. It’s a classier, bitchier reprise of her Sorority role.
Dumb Blonde? Eve knows exactly what she’s doing, and is as cunny as she is catty.
Loves Enduring Promise (2004)
Jones travels even further back into history with this made-for-TV Christian drama, courtesy of the reliably touchy-feely Hallmark Channel.
Donning bonnets and devout expressions, she plays hard-working teacher Missie Davis, a woman who finds herself caught between two very different men – rich railroad heir Grant Thomas and troubled newcomer Nathan LaHaye. It’s based on the book series by Janette Oke.
Dumb Blonde? Really, Ms Davis is above all that love triangle nonsense. Leave it to the tweens next time.
From movies to TV movies to a TV series, Jones proves her diversity by lending her talents to two first season episodes of dramedy Huff .
Her Marisa Wells appears in ‘The Good Doctor’ and ‘The Sample Closet', and is an alluring young pharmaceutical rep who attempts to persuade Huff to prescribe as much as he possibly can to his patients.
Like many of Jones’ TV jobs thus far, Huff was to be a short-lived flash in the pan - it was cancelled after just two seasons.
Dumb Blonde? The PhD in PR probably indicates otherwise.
The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada (2005)
Tommy Lee Jones makes his feature directing debut and recruits his surnamesake January to play Lou Ann Norton. She’s the wife of a border patrol officer who shoots dead a Mexican immigrant working in Texas. When Lou Ann discovers what her husband has done, she leaves him for pastures new.
Tommy Lee’s film won the Bronze Wrangler at the Western Heritage Awards for Outstanding Theatrical Motion Picture, while the actor himself won Best Actor at Cannes.
Dumb Blonde? Anything but; it takes mucho smarts (and kahunas) to do what Lou Ann does.
Swedish Auto (2006)
Jones goes stalker in this low-key drama, playing Darla, the counter-girl from a diner who becomes fascinated with mechanic Carter (Luke Haas). When Carter discovers that he’s being watched by Darla, the two become inseparable.
But as their relationship blooms, there’s something from Darla’s past that could prove fatal to their happiness. Slow-burn indie at its most soulful, boosted no end thanks to Jones' earnest performance.
Dumb Blonde? Stalking is pretty stupid, but at least Darla gets something out of it.
We Are Marshall (2006)
True grit drama based on the real-life 1970 plane crash that killed 37 Marshall University football players and their crew. Pairing up with TV sensation Matthew Fox, Jones plays his wife Carole Dawson, who is relieved to discover that her husband wasn’t on the plane that crashed.
Though her role mostly exists as support to Fox’s character, Jones shows just how deft she is with drama in a role that could easily have been instantly forgettable.
Dumb Blonde? She’s blonde, but she’s definitely not dumb.
Mad Men (2007 - Present)
The big one. Finally, Jones finds the perfect place for her porcelain beauty, landing the role of troubled housewife Betty Draper. Married to a high-end ad man, she’s alternately distant, warm and crazy, but always perfectly coiffed.
Four seasons in, the show’s still going strong. Jones has received numerous award nominations off the back of the role, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe. In 2009, she won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
Dumb Blonde? Though the ‘60s society in which she lives would like to condemn her as such, there’s more to Betty than meets the eye.
Law & Order (2008)
January gets a prime spot on the long-running crime show’s 400th episode. It's been celebrated as one of the show's best. Appearing in 18th season episode ‘Quit Claim’, the plot revolves around a hit and run investigation that sees the cops going undercover.
Jones crops up as a con-woman who’s charged with eight murders, but uses her wiles to manipulate anybody and everybody it takes to get off free. Despite fans clamouring for more of her character, Jones hasn’t returned to the show.
Dumb Blonde? Her character keenly plays up to such misconceptions, exploiting her looks to get her own way.
The Boat That Rocked (2009)
January lands another role in a Richard Curtis comedy (after Love Actually ), this one seeing her swap the American ‘60s of Mad Men for a much more British version of the free love era. She plays Eleanore, who boards the titular boat with a view to marrying her DJ boyfriend.
Once they’re married, though, Eleanore confesses that she’s in love with another rock star who’s onboard. Though it’s really an extended cameo for the actress, her scenes are some of the film’s more amusing.
Dumb Blonde? More manipulations prove that she’s much more than just a pretty face.
Mind-bending, twisty thriller time, with Unknown opening in cinemas this Friday. January plays the wife of Liam Neeson’s doctor, who’s involved in a nasty car accident. Waking up from a coma, he discovers that nobody recognises him – not even his wife. Is it all a conspiracy?
Next, Jones will appear as Emma Frost in Matthew Vaughn’s comic book prequel X-Men: First Class (out in May), as well as Nicolas Cage’s thriller The Hungry Rabbit Jumps.
Dumb Blonde? Hard to tell – has she been brainwashed? Or is she really devilishly clever? Guess we’ll have to watch to find out.