Sandrine Holt

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writer / Alan Riquelmy

photographer + stylist / Kristy Benjamin

hair + makeup / Amy Hanlin

If given the chance, Sandrine Holt would escape for a few hours to binge watch MAD MEN.

Holt, who played Gillian Cole on HOUSE OF CARDS, enjoys the complexity of the characters on the show. She’s no stranger to them. HOC is built on multi-layered characters caught between shades of black and white.

Her infamous character on the popular Netflix show fought for clean water against powerful interests and stood up to the imposing Claire Underwood – a woman known for pushing people as easily as chess pieces.

“I think she comes from a very good place,” Holt said of Gillian. “I think she sacrificed a lot to do what she thinks is good.”

In the end, like many of HOC’s characters, Gillian got pushed into a corner by Claire. Gillian became the new CEO of Claire’s nonprofit organization, admittedly a plum job, and the character disappeared from the show. Holt doubts she’ll return.

“But who knows?” she quickly adds.

Holt has appeared in movies and TV shows for decades. HOC, however, is what causes many people to recognize her.

“Sometimes people will come up and say to me, ‘Good work. I like your work.’ I’d never had that type of  recognition. It’s nice when somebody says good work.”

Holt’s acting resume includes the TV show 24, THE MENTALIST,  and more recently “HOSTAGES.” Screen credits include appearances in the sci-fi franchise, UNDERWORLD: THE AWAKENING.

Her recent roles include spots in the movie TERMINATOR:GENISYS and the television show THE RETURNED.

THE RETURNED, like HOC, is distributed through Netflix, giving its viewers the chance to binge watch. Holt, a single mother of a 6-year-old, mainly watches shows for children, though she considers herself a binge watcher.

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“I think people like to sit down and have a full experience,” she said.

Holt is currently waiting along with her THE RETURNED cast members to see if she’ll have a chance to binge on a second season of the A&E show, which hasn’t been  finalized. She enjoys her role on the series. She’s done a lot of supporting parts, and feels like she’s being fully utilized on THE RETURNED.

Holt, speaks French, and would like to appear in a French film. She sees French movies as more character driven – like MAD MEN and HOC – and enjoys the camaraderie on the sets of European films.

Holt intends to travel to Paris this month with her daughter, who’s been asking for the trip for a year. She plans on building connections with Parisian filmmakers, though they’ll also play tourist and visit museums. Holt hopes her daughter gets the chance to participate in a sculpture class for children.

If it goes well, maybe she’ll return with a souvenir – a chess piece shaped like Claire Underwood that Holt can push around herself.

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