Christina Hendricks was spat at and sat on in high school.

The 'Mad Men' actress and former model grew up in a small town in Idaho in the US and moved to the big city in Virginia when she was 14, where she didn't get on with the in-crowd and had ''the worst high-school experience ever''.

She said: ''I had the worst high-school experience ever. We had a locker bay and every time I went down there to get books out of my locker, people would sit on top and spit at me.''

Rather than crumble and become depressed, the star dealt with it by showing she was different from her abusers.

She explained: ''I dyed my hair purple and turned goth. I wanted to show these bullies that I was separate from them, that I didn't believe in the bullying, that I didn't fit in with the set of values they lived by.''

Now aged 40 and married to actor Geoffrey Arend, 37, Christina credits her mother Jackie for arming her with the tools to be calm and reasonable in life.

She told Psychologies magazine: ''My mother is a kind woman. There's not a mean bone in her body. I think kids can be cruel, but if she ever saw me being mean, she'd pull me aside and talk to me in a reasonable way. My mother taught me how to argue patiently and calmly, and how to listen more. They are tools that I still use to this day.''