Hardin was born on June 29, 1967 in Houston, Texas. She is the daughter of acting manager/coach and retired actress Diane (née Hill) and actor Jerry Hardin. She is the sister of Flock CEO Shawn Hardin. She was raised in San Francisco, California, after her family moved there when she was four years old.
Hardin went to middle and high school in the San Fernando Valley at Patrick Henry Junior High School and Ulysses S. Grant High School, respectively. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College.
Hardin started her acting career as the young star of the television series Thunder (1977–1978), and has appeared in over 70 movies and television programs since, including two 1981 Little House on the Prairie episodes (as Belinda Stevens in "The Reincarnation of Nellie", Parts 1 and 2) as well as playing Michele Pierson in the 1983 television movie Little House: Look Back to Yesterday. She starred as Baby in the short-lived 1988 television series Dirty Dancing (based on the 1987 film of the same name) and two 1992 episodes of Quantum Leap (as Abigail in "Trilogy", Parts 2 and 3).
Hardin co-starred in the 1990 dance movie Lambada as Sandy. She appeared in Absolute Power (1997) as Christy Sullivan, and played Ross's dirty-talking love interest in the season 1 Friends episode "The One with the Stoned Guy". She was also originally cast in Back to the Future as Jennifer Parker, but was re-cast after Eric Stoltz (the original Marty McFly) was let go.
Hardin starred in the 2000–2001 series Cover Me: Based on the True Life of an FBI Family, and she played the recurring role of Trudy Monk, the title character's deceased wife, on the USA Network series Monk (2004-2009). She appeared on the series NCIS as former Petty Officer Erin Toner in the episode "The Curse". In 2005, Hardin portrayed Linda Evans in Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure, a fictionalized television movie based on the creation and behind the scenes production of the 1980s prime time soap opera Dynasty.
Hardin is well-known for playing former corporate manager Jan Levinson in The Office (2005-2013). She appeared in the 2006 film Thank You for Smoking, and appears in Hannah Montana: The Movie as the love interest of Billy Ray Cyrus's character. She played the role of Fantine in the Hollywood Bowl's concert of Les Misérables in Summer 2008. Hardin appeared in several episodes of the popular web show Elevator on YouTube.
Hardin made her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in the revival of Chicago: The Musical on December 29, 2008. She stayed with the show until February 12, 2009. She was cast as a major character in Outlaw. She played the role of Isabelle Palmer's mother Nancy in An American Girl: Isabelle Dances Into the Spotlight (2014).
Hardin appeared in a recurring role on Amazon's critically acclaimed series Transparent, for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. Since 2017, she stars as editor-in-chief Jacqueline Carlyle on The Bold Type.
Hardin has been married to British actor Gildart Jackson since 4 June 1997. They have two daughters, Rory (b. 29 September 2001) and Piper (b. 2005).
- Hardin was uncredited in "Mothers and Daughters".
|A Million Little Things: Season 1|
|"Pilot":||"Band of Dads":||"Save the Date":||"Friday Night Dinner":||"The Game of Your Life":||"Unexpected":||"I Dare You":||"Fight or Flight":||"Perspective":|
|"Christmas Wishlist":||"Secrets and Lies":||"The Day Before...":||"Twelve Seconds":||"Someday":||"The Rock":||"The Rosary":||"Goodbye":|
|A Million Little Things: Season 2|
|"Coming Home":||"Grand Canyon":||"Mixed Signals":||"The Perfect Storm":||"Austin":||"Unleashed":||"Ten Years":||"Goodnight":||"Time Stands Still":||"The Kiss":|
|"We're the Howards":||"Guilty":||"Daisy":||"The Sleepover":||"The Lunch":||"Change of Plans":||"One Year Later":||"Mothers and Daughters":||"'Til Death Do Us Part":|
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