Currently in her seventh season of AMC’s smash hit Mad Men, fourteen-year-old Kiernan Shipka is quickly establishing herself as one of the most promising young actors in Hollywood. Since making her onscreen debut at just five months old in an episode of NBC’s long-running medical drama ER, the two-time SAG Award winner, branded a “genuine powerhouse” by Entertainment Weekly magazine, has earned praise from critics and fans alike for her portrayal of the troubled and rebellious Sally Draper.
Originally from Chicago, Shipka got her start in advertising, completing over two hundred print jobs and two dozen commercials before making the jump to television with a series regular role in the CBS pilot The Angriest Man in Suburbia. After numerous guest stints on series including NBC’s Heroes, USA’s Monk and the FOX sketch comedy MADtv, and a leading role in the independent feature film Dimension, she and her family made the move to Los Angeles, where the then six-and-a-half year old quickly landed a “small, possible recurring” role on a new drama for AMC. Mad Men showrunner Matthew Weiner was so impressed by Shipka’s great emotional depth and her understanding of the character that he began expanding her role, and she became a full-fledged series regular when the show entered its fourth season. Of her character, Shipka says “[Sally] is really flawed, but she’s kind of going through these things in her life. She is just growing up right now, and there’s a really bold storyline for her this season”. Despite having spent nearly half of her life working on the show, the young actress is not yet allowed to watch it. “I go to table reads and all that stuff but I’m not really a viewer yet,” she says, “I’m planning on having my own Mad Men marathon when all the seasons end.”
When not working on Mad Men, Shipka continues to work in both film and television and has amassed an impressive list of credits, including“Flowers In The Attic” opposite Heather Graham and Ellen Burstyn, Carriers with Chris Pine, Lower Learning with Eva Longoria and Jason Biggs, House Broken with Danny DeVito, and the Hallmark Channel original movie Smooch. In 2012 she completed a comedic turn asherself in an episode of the new ABC series Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, and can currently be heard in the regular role of ‘Jinora’ on the Nickelodeon animated series The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra.
Shipka currently resides in Los Angeles with her parents and two German Shepherds. She is a gifted ballet dancer and is passionate about fashion, which she sees as a “really cool”” method of self-expression. Inspired by the classic styles of Grace Kelly, she often offers input into Sally Draper’s wardrobe and has served as a guest fashion blogger for Lucky magazine. She plays the piano and guitar and writes her own music, and enjoys watching television comedies and the Food Network. Last year, Kiernan filmed an independent film in New York, entitled Very Good Girls, starring Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen. It is set to be released this year.