Candids > 2018 > November 24 – Out in Los Angeles
Kiernan Shipka has been working as an actress for pretty much her entire life, but for years, the former Mad Men star was probably more on your parents’ radar than on yours. “I may as well have been a fly on the wall at the Kids’ Choice Awards,” she tells Seventeen in an interview. Now, with the 19-year-old playing iconic teen witch Sabrina Spellman in Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, she’s finally ready to welcome a new fan base: people her own age. “Having my friends be genuinely excited to watch the show is really cool,” Kiernan says.
The creepy series has all the facets of a grown-up role (A love triangle! Challenging authority! Blood!) and a pro-female message she’s happy to get behind. “I’m unreasonably excited that young girls are going to get to have this character be an inspiration to them. I think she is so strong-willed, has such a good heart, speaks her mind, stands up for herself, and questions things that she feels aren’t right.”
Get to know Kiernan and you’ll feel the same way about her too.
ON DOING GOOD
An upside to having phones and social media has been so much more awareness of all the injustices and things going on in the world, and having a voice and platform that just didn’t exist before. It’s just really incredible to me—I feel like I can continually learn new things every single day. Recently on Instagram, I did the 10 Featured Teachers [campaign], and it was so amazing and such a beautiful experience to see all these teachers and kids getting books that they needed. It was very gratifying to see it actually have an impact in individual people’s lives and to [watch] thank-you videos from [people] who are just so, so happy to have a book that they’ve wanted…it’s just amazing. So more of that to come, for sure. I’m interested to see how we can take that hashtag and put it on a greater scale.
ON HER BIG ROLE
She’s drawn to Sabrina’s girl power.
I gravitate toward feminist content because that’s just who I am. But there was something so cool about this show being so feminist while still having this very separate fantastical element. It’s sort of set in this “timeless” period where there aren’t many references to pop culture, or what’s happening now or what happened in the past. But at the same [time], it’s related to what’s happening in many different ways and resonates on so many levels.
The character pushes her to be a better person.
Sabrina is, for all intents and purposes, a teenage girl as much as she’s a witch who’s faced with decisions no teenager could ever deal with. She puts herself in situations that are very risky—on the life-threatening side of risky—but to have a character who is so strong-willed has really inspired me. To play someone completely and utterly passionate, and who doesn’t back down, makes me want to be the best person I can possibly be.
It made her change up her look.
I was two months into having long dark-brown hair and just absolutely loving it—and then this happens. No complaints! I’m down for anything, but I actually want my hair to be brown or red.
Sabrina is witch-spo.
I would hesitate to call a 16-year-old—Sabrina Spellman—a role model. But at the same time, I remember when I was 13 or 14, how I would see a movie and I would want to be exactly like a character. So to grow up and have a character like Sabrina [influence] someone’s life, that’s so cool to me.
She loves heron-screen BF, Harvey Kinkle (aka Ross Lynch).
Ross is the best, and I couldn’t imagine having a better person to be ‘shipped with. I think our relationship [on Sabrina] is so pure and so sweet. And I’m totally in love with it. I think that a lot of people are going to be as well, and I don’t blame them.
She’s now too busy to date IRL.
I’ll wrap on Saturday at 6 a.m., so I’m pretty much useless on Saturday. And then Sunday, I have to get all my stuff done for Monday. Occasionally, the cast can drive me out for a fun time, but work is my number one priority right now.
ON TAKING CARE OF HERSELF
She’s all talk.
I love to talk things out but don’t necessarily always start by wanting to. Yet I immediately find that if I talk to someone—just to personify whatever is happening and acknowledge it for what it is instead of catastrophizing about it—it feels so much better.
Full interview: seventeen.com
The Halloween holiday season may be over, and with it your first binge-watch of the excellent Netflix series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but there are more holiday treats in store for fans of the witchy-watchy show. As we recently reported, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa‘s spellbinding adaptation will be airing a special Christmas episode this December. The one-off, fittingly titled Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Midwinter’s Tale, can be glimpsed in a batch of new images from the upcoming hour.
Starring Kiernan Shipka, Lachlan Watson, Lucy Davis, Chance Perdomo, Michelle Gomez, Tati Gabrielle, Miranda Otto, and Ross Lynch, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Midwinter’s Tale arrives on Netflix December 14th. The special arrives as part of the platform’s Christmas programming blitz, which includes Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas, Kurt Russell‘s take on Santa in The Christmas Chronicles, and other holiday classics.
Today Kiernan turns 19! We want to wish her the best of birthdays! We wish happiness, health and love!
“I worry a lot,” said the actress Kiernan Shipka, with a nervous laugh. “I’m a catastrophizer by nature.”
Ms. Shipka was perched on the edge of a red velvet sofa in the well-appointed Upper East Side sitting room of David Scoroposki, an astrologer. The room was all crown moldings, gilded mirrors and porcelain dog figurines. The early-autumn light was sumptuous and fell at an angle across shelves filled with books about the occult and magic.
Mr. Scoroposki sat opposite her on a matching couch. Between them was a carved wooden table covered with crystals and a hand-drawn diagram of her astrological chart.
The good news: Everything is going to be all right, Mr. Scoroposki assured her, including her career and next week’s release of Netflix’s “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” in which she stars.
Still Mr. Scoroposki did foresee some hiccups on the horizon. He leaned in, eyebrow cocked. “Let’s talk about your love life,” he said.
“Oh, I do need to know about that,” Ms. Shipka said, eyes wide and nodding vigorously.
“I figured,” he said with concern, which prompted Ms. Shipka, who turns 19 in November (she’s a Sagittarius), to let out a gleeful cackle befitting, well, a teenage witch.
Romantic uncertainty aside, this is an exciting moment for Ms. Shipka, who is stepping into her first big leading role, and it’s a juicy one. She plays Sabrina Spellman, in a reimagining of the 1990s sitcom about a half-witch, half-mortal high school student juggling homework, a boyfriend and a demon overlord keen on possessing her soul.
You know, typical teenage stuff.
The series comes from Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the executive producer behind “Riverdale,” a soapy reimagining of the Archie Comics series.
Like that show, “Sabrina” places adolescent melodrama in a supernatural milieu, drawing parallels between everyday teenage antics and otherworldly horrors.
There are also social overtones. “Sabrina” invokes witches as a metaphor for womanhood, and the challenges that girls and women face in a male-dominated world. “I loved the feminist quality of it,” Ms. Shipka said.
“Witches are such a thing right now, aren’t they?” she added. “I think it’s interesting how we keep returning to them time and time again. This feels like a very current take on the whole idea. What I like about the show is that it simultaneously feels like an escape but also a commentary.”
The role of Sabrina, with all its layers and contradictions, was also an exciting challenge. “The way that her character is so multidimensional and still so young, but driven and smart, brave and selfless at the same time,” Ms. Shipka said. “That was really fascinating to me.”
Ms. Shipka could have been talking about herself. With her wavy blond bob, sleeveless white Miu Miu shirt, slim black pants and velvet fanny pack, she cut a professional yet playful look.
“Young people deserve to be portrayed with depth,” she said.
She would know. After all, Ms. Shipka first came to fame on “Mad Men,” as Don Draper’s deeply complicated daughter, Sally, a role she played from ages 6 to 15. “I still remember my first day on set,” she said. “I was so giddy.”
Did she have an early inkling that the show would change her life? “Oh, never. I had no expectations whatsoever,” she said. “I remember leaving the first day of set, and my dad was like, ‘This seems pretty legit.’”
Maybe because she has spent so much of her life in the public eye, and in the company of adults, it’s no surprise that, in person she comes across as preternaturally poised. Her smile radiates genuine warmth and she has no hang up about hugging a reporter upon first meeting.
Full interview: nytimes.com