Childhood & Early Life
Jones was born on 5th January, 1978 to Karen and Marvin Jones in Soux Falls, South Dakota. Her mother was a manager at the ‘Scheels’ sports goods store, while her father has been a coach, gym instructor and fitness trainer.
She grew up in Hecla, South Dakota along with her two sisters – Jacey and Jina. She is of Danish, English, German, Welch and Czech ancestry.
Jones went to regular school with her siblings. She also worked during her summer break as a life guard and at the local ‘Dairy Queen’.
After moving back to Sioux Falls, She went on to graduate from ‘Roosevelt High School’ and decided to discontinue her education and concentrate on a modelling career.
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Immediately after her graduation she moved to New York in search of a career in the fashion world. She signed quite a few assignments, even though she wasn’t tall enough for the fashion industry at 5 feet 6 inches. She still managed to bag modelling gigs and TV commercials owing to her sharp features.
She received no training in drama, and hadn’t participated in plays, yet she seemed to have had an inherent talent for acting. She soon became a commercial face for ‘Abercrombie’, ‘Fitch’ and Clearasil’.
As she gained prominence as a model, she began working in the hub of the fashion industry, Paris. However, her success in the modelling world didn’t satiate her ambition - it was plainly a means to a greater end.
She moved to Los Angeles to explore a career in the entertainment industry. She landed herself a couple of pilots for TV shows and a short cable television series but she got her breakthrough in the 1998 film ‘All the Rage’, in which she portrayed the supporting role of Janice Taylor.
In 1999, she was cast in the pilot of Fox Network’s comedy series ‘Get Real’ as Jane Cohen. In 2011, she starred in a guest appearance in ‘The Glass House’, a mystery thriller and also starred in ‘Bandits’ as Claire or “Pink Boots” in a supporting role.
In 2002, she was cast in her fist main role as Elizabeth in Max Makowski’s mystery thriller ‘Taboo’ alongside Eddie Kaye Thomas. The film premiered at the ‘Sundance Film Festival’ and received good reviews.In 2002, she also guest starred in the film ‘Full frontal’ based on a handful characters of Hollywood. She played Tracy in the movie and shared screen space with Julia Roberts, Blair Underwood, Brad Pitt and Catherine Keener.
In 2003, she was cast in several films in a supporting role. She played Gina in the American drama ‘Anger Management’, Cadence Flaherty in the sex-comedy ‘American Wedding’ and Jeannie in the Christmas rom-com ‘Love Actually’ alongside Hugh Grant and Liam Neeson.
In 2004, she was cast in a minor role as Eve in the musical romance drama ‘Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights’. She was cast as the lead in the TV film ‘Love’s Enduring Promise’ which received an excellent reception.
She starred in the comedy series ‘Huff’ in two episodes as Marisa Wells and also bagged a main role in the French-American film ‘Three Burials’ or ‘The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada’ as Darla alongside Barry Pepper.
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In 2006, she acted as Darla once again in ‘Swedish Auto’ and the same year she signed the role of Carole Dawson in the historical biopic film ‘We Are Marshall’ based on the 1970 plane crash which killed 37 football players.
The year 2007 brought her immense luck with the role of Betty Draper in AMC’s television series ‘Mad Men’. She played the ex-wife of Don Draper and a mother of three, with the show spanning seven seasons and Jones working in 67 episodes of the show which ended on 17th May, 2015.
From 2008 to 2009, she guest starred as Kim Brody in the police-legal TV drama titled ‘Law & Order’ for the episode ‘Quit Claim’, and as Elenore in the British comedy film ‘The Boat That Rocked’.
In 2011 she worked in several projects on the big screen, such as the character Elizabeth Harris in ‘Unknown’, and as the strong superhuman mutant named Emma Frost in the Marvel film ‘X-Men: First Class’. She also played Laura Gerard in the action thriller ‘Seeking Justice’.
In 2013, she landed the main role of Sarah Ramirez in the film ‘Sweetwater’ where she played the character of an ex-prostitute seeking a regular life with her husband. In the film she worked alongside Ed Harris, Stephen Root and Jason Aldean. In 2014, she was cast in an Andrew Niccol’s film ‘Good Kill’ in the lead role of Molly Egan. The film garnered positive reviews and was a contender for the ‘Golden Lion’ at the ‘71st Venice International Film Festival’.
Jones began shooting for the post-apocalyptic Fox series ‘The Last Man on Earth’ in 2015; the show has completed three seasons so far and is still running. She plays Melissa Chartres, a former real estate agent in the comedy series.
Her TV film ‘Love’s Enduring Promise’ received excellent reviews in general. In the series she plays a school teacher and an avid reader. The film emerges as a love triangle, and her performance in the film was critically acclaimed. It won the Most Inspiring TV Program from ‘Movie Guide’.
Jones has received tremendous applaud for her acting in ‘Mad Men’. ‘San Francisco Chronicle’ stated the series was “A visually arresting adult drama of introspection”. Owing to the performances in the show it was reviewed as one of the top ten shows from 2007 to 2012 by the ‘American Film Institute’.
In 2011, her performance as a superhuman in ‘X-Men: First Class’ was praised and the film received a rating of 7.4 out of 10 on ‘Rotten Tomatoes’. It grossed over 353.6 million at the box office.
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Her recent endeavour in the TV series ‘The Last Man on Earth’ has been reviewed by ‘The Hollywood Reporter’ as “a genre-busting breakout that is creative and inspired”. Her depiction of the intricate character of Melissa in the comedy series has been credited.
Awards & Achievements
In 2005, she received her first award for her performance in the TV program ‘Love’s Enduring Promise’ at the ‘Character and Morality in Entertainment Awards’.
She has taken home the ‘Screen Actors Guild Award’ twice in 2009 and 2010 for her role in ‘Mad Men’ in the category of ‘Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series’.
She was also nominated in 2009 and 2010 for ‘Best Actress –Television Drama Series’ at the ‘Golden Globe Awards’.
In 2011, she was ranked twelfth amongst the ‘Hottest 100’ women in the Maxim magazine, and as the 29th most desirable woman in the ‘Ask Men’s Top 99 Most Desirable Women’ rankings.
Personal Life & Legacy
January Jones dated celebrity Josh Groban from 2003 to 2006. After her breakup with Josh, she avoided sharing any information about her later relationships.
In 2010, she was held accountable for accidentally hitting several parked cars while trying to surpass the paparazzi. The incident was declared as a mere accident by the police as she wasn’t under the influence of alcohol.
On 13th September, 2011 she gave birth to her son, Xander Dane Jones at the ‘St. John’s Medical Centre’ at California. Though she never revealed to the press who Xander’s father is, sources have confirmed that he is the son of ‘X-Men: First Class’ director Matthew Vaughn.
She is a workaholic and took her maternity leave from shooting ‘Mad Men’ when she was eight months pregnant. Two months after her delivery she was back on the sets of the show.
Jones is an animal lover and has worked closely with ‘Oceana’ as a spokesperson. The organisation is involved in maintaining safety for endangered sharks.