Kiernan Shipka Gets a Tarot Card Reading. It’s Mostly Good News.


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:

Kiernan Shipka, the New Sabrina, Is a Half-Witch Offscreen Too


Anne Boleyn,” Kiernan Shipka announces. “Tituba, Mary Bradbury, Baab spelled with two As.”

Shipka is sitting in front of two bright lights and a camera, listing famous historical witches. The 5’2” actress is wearing a shimmery silver turtleneck, a shoulder-grazing blonde bob, and so many coats of mascara that from behind the camera, her eyelashes look like twin black widows. We’re here talking metaphysical women because Shipka is the star of Netflix’s newest cult teen series, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which premieres apropos of the spooky season on October 26. The supernatural drama charts the story of spunky 15-year-old Sabrina Spellman, who was born half-witch, half-mortal. On the eve of her 16th birthday, Sabrina is forced to make a high-stakes decision whether to stay with her fleshly friends or transfer to a school for the dark arts, giving herself over to the twisted mystical world forever.

Chilling Adventures is a macabre take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the sitcom some of its audience will remember from 20 years ago. One person who does not remember, however, is Shipka—you have to remind yourself as you sit across from her that she is only 18 years old. In between looks at today’s photo shoot, we film a video in which Shipka has to guess fictional witches from modern history with the help of a few simple clues. Everyone backstage squirms as she struggles to recognize Teen Witch, Halloweentown, or Practical Magic, somehow failing to remember, though we’re all fully familiar with her bio and wrinkle-free complexion, that these movies came out 10 years before Shipka was even alive. (To end the challenge, the Chilling Adventures actress flexes her objectively more impressive knowledge of real-life witches—Anne Boleyn, etc.—redeeming her lack of ’90s pop culture.)

Shipka may be the youngest person on this set by almost a decade, but her relaxed sense of poise and professionalism—“Thanks, girl. So lovely to see you!” she says to every photographer and makeup assistant as they leave—make it clear this is not her first rodeo (or broom ride, as it were). The performer’s highest-profile role until now was little Sally Draper, the daughter of the main anti-hero on AMC’s period drama Mad Men. That series premiered when Shipka was only six years old and ended eight years later. Shipka didn’t spring into another project right away. She took a few a years to step back from Hollywood, and she owes much of her current self-security and -awareness to that choice. “Right when Mad Men wrapped, I was sort of figuring out my life,” she tells me in her dressing room as a stylist snips a few inches off her bob, “and I got a lot of time—from 15 to 18, when I started working on Sabrina—just to sort myself out, learn to practice self-love and self-compassion, and make a lot of mistakes.” Shipka says that going into Chilling Adventures, she felt armed with a well-developed self-care routine. “One that I liked and that worked for me because it’s not going to look the same for every person,” she explains.

Though she tries to keep her hopes low, Shipka knows this groundedness will help her after Chilling Adventures hits the web to the nail-biting reception of millions of young fans. With a similar target audience to the smash hit Riverdale, whose cast became overnight teen icons, Chilling Adventures will no doubt elevate Shipka to a level of fame much rowdier than the 30- and 40-something Mad Men viewership could ever create. Internet-obsessed teens, after all, are the most zealous breed of fan. (The Chilling Adventures trailer amassed almost four million Youtube views in less than two weeks.) “I’m ready for it,” Shipka says with an anchored disposition.

Our intimate dressing room exchange is mostly dedicated to what exactly the young star is doing to mentally and physically prepare for such an explosive life change. It is perhaps no coincidence that some of this self-care routine involves practices rooted in witchcraft. Here, in her own words, Shipka’s views on alternative wellness, perfectionism, skincare, and staying mortal on the precipice of otherworldly fame.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina seems to be coming at the perfect time because witchy practices are having such a huge resurgence in American culture. Do you engage with any witchy rituals yourself?
I approach everything with a little bit of skepticism, and I’m not going to call myself a witch by any means because I know that there are practicing witches out there. But I definitely do believe in and vibe with that kind of stuff. The last time I was in L.A., I saw a medium for the first time. It was something I’d always wanted to do. And I love looking at astrology. Whenever I need some advice, I’m just like, okay, what are they telling the Scorpios to do today? Sabrina is a Scorpio, I’m a Scorpio, our showrunner is a Scorpio—it’s a very Scorpio-heavy show.

I’ve got some crystals, too, and I’ve been using them as of late, mostly for healing purposes. I cleansed them under the moon; I did the whole damn thing. I mostly use my hematoid quartz. I have bad hips, so I’ve noticed that if I’m achy and I lie down and place the stones there, it really does help. But you have to set a clear intention for it. You can’t just expect a crystal to work; you have to really vibe with it and manifest. I also have a Dalmatian Jasper that I’m really into. It’s supposed to be a stone that’s really good for adjusting to change in your life. And since this show has been such a massive change, I think I’m gonna start leaning on that stone a little more.

The drink I make myself in the morning is pretty witchy, too. It’s a matcha latte that’s got ashwagandha and Cordyceps and all sorts of mushroomy powders and superpower-y things. I’m just getting into this stuff. I’m not super versed or anything. Just dabbling. But I definitely am into witches and all the different interpretations of them that there have been through time. They’re just cool, interesting women. There’s a reason they’ve been a fixture for such a long time. Bring on the witches.

Full interview:

Kiernan Shipka Is Poised to Be the Next Netflix Superstar


Last week, at a venue tucked just above Sunset Boulevard, I arrived at the Hollywood premiere of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The series, a fresh reboot of ’90s sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, lands on Netflix October 26 and promises to be darker—more chilling, if you will—than the original Melissa Joan Hart show. Many say it’s poised to be the next cult teen drama, masterminded by the executive producers of The CW’s Riverdale and sharing a similarly complex storyline and macabre tone. At the L.A. premiere, though, the scene was all smiles.

As the cast arrived on the red carpet, you could sense the excitement. Kiernan Shipka, who plays the lead role of Sabrina Spellman, stepped out confidently in shimmery burgundy eye shadow, pointed black Mary Jane heels, and a black-and-oxblood Elie Saab dress that matched the colors decorating the room to a T. In front of a row of flashing cameras, she and her tightknit castmates couldn’t help but beam with enthusiasm about the new series, gushing about everything from the spells they wished they could use IRL to how personally empowering it has been to film a show with so many talented women. In one of the most touching moments on the red carpet, Shipka snuck over to hug co-star Ross Lynch—a gesture that speaks to the cast’s bond.

Riverdale stars also turned up in support of the upcoming series, including Madelaine Petsch, who rocketed to fame after her show’s success. Like the casts of previous Netflix hits Stranger Things or Queer Eye, who’ve found overnight stardom, Shipka is poised to be a big name. As she explained to our sister site Byrdie, when it comes to an explosive new hit, she’s “ready for it” but remains humble at the thought of the show’s future success and her imminent rise in profile.

Ahead of the premiere, we had a chance to chat with Shipka, who weighed in on Chilling Adventures and how her focus on fashion has changed since she started working on the show. “I love Sabrina’s style, but it’s very different from mine,” Shipka explained. “There are two types of people in the world: people who wake up and get ready and people who don’t. I’m of the latter.” While Sabrina Spellman takes the time to put together a full look each morning, Shipka admitted, she would rather concentrate on working hard right now.

I actually do enjoy getting ready,” she elaborated, “but I’m in a season of my life where that is really not the case.” After her run on AMC’s Mad Men, she took time off to focus on growing herself personally, learning to “practice self-love and self-compassion, and make a lot of mistakes,” she said. Now that she’s filming again, though, Shipka is throwing 100% of herself into the project at hand.

She promised that she does appreciate fashion, though. “I used to be into really putting together an outfit every day,” she admitted. “Gossip Girl was my vibe.” In fact, she told me some of her most vivid fashion memories are linked to her time growing up. In a twist of fate, 2000s style is having a moment this season, so many of those same trends are top of mind for the young actress again now.

In fact, the piece she most wants to wear this fall is an iconic 2000s fashion item that she grew up in. “I had at least four Juicy Couture tracksuits as a young child,” she said, and she’s ready to bring them back. Her love for fashion goes beyond throwback pieces, though. “Style is a wonderful form of self-expression,” she explained, and it’s something she enjoys exploring for herself—that is, when she isn’t on set paving her way to becoming the next small-screen superstar.


‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ Star Kiernan Shipka Never Watched The Original ‘Sabrina, The Teenage Witch’

As this generation’s newly-imagined Teenage Witch, actor Kiernan Shipka has some pretty big shoes to fill. But, judging by Chilling Adventures of Sabrina star Kiernan Shipka’s latest comments on the original series, it seems safe to say the talented teen isn’t letting herself get caught up in comparisons to Sabrina circa 1996. Which probably means fans shouldn’t, either. During a recent sit-down interview with E! News, Shipka — who will make her onscreen debut as Sabrina Spellman 2.0 just a few days from now, when Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina premieres Friday, Oct. 26 —revealed that she’s never seen an episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

I actually didn’t really know that much about the old Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” the 18-year-old actor recently revealed to E! News, adding that she “was a little too young for viewing” when the series saw its first run back in the ’90s. (Anyone else feeling ancient right now?) Sabrina, the Teenage Witch premiered in 1996, three years before Shipka was born.

According to E! News, Shipka does “eventually” plan to watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch. (Which, presumably, means she still hasn’t seen it.) But, if her comments are any indication, it definitely doesn’t sound like she’s rushing into anything on that front. Why? As Shipka told the outlet, she wanted to make this Sabrina all her own:

I was sort of excited to take a crack at something that was iconic and interesting, but sort of have a completely different take on it that was new and hopefully fresh and fun and exciting, so this Sabrina is my Sabrina.

While it’s a little surprising to hear that 21st-century Sabrina hasn’t furiously studied the fictional shenanigans of her ’90s predecessors on TV, Shipka’s rationale also doesn’t come as much of a shock. Those who’ve been following the recent wave of updates about the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on social media know Netflix’s upcoming adaptation will depart from the original in some pretty notable ways.

Perhaps most notable? In stark contrast to the lighthearted — albeit, nonetheless spellbinding — quips that characterized much of the narrative on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Netflix’s new take promises comparatively more haunts than humor. Anyone who’s borne witness to the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s official Twitter account (and its exceedingly spooky social media promos) probably knows this to be true already, given its recent output of ultra-creepy photos and accompanying messages, including but not limited to an August tweet whose caption literally read: “scared yet?”

The network’s official description, which was first released over the summer, called the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina “a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror, the occult and, of course, witchcraft,” adding that the adaptation will be “tonally in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist.” Continuing, the series’ description teased some serious doom and gloom ahead for Shipka’s Sabrina:

This adaptation finds Sabrina wrestling to reconcile her dual nature — half-witch, half-mortal — while standing against the evil forces that threaten her, her family and the daylight world humans inhabit.

OK, so, yes, we’re definitely at least a little scared. But, echoing some comments Melissa Joan Hart, the original Sabrina Spellman, made to People back in August, Netflix’s brand-new take on Sabrina is also pretty exciting. “I’m glad they’re not doing a reboot of Sabrina,” she told the publication, expressing both relief and appreciation for the new series paving its own way, as far as tone and characterization are concerned.

And, judging by Shipka’s lack of concern over watching the original series, it sounds like she and Hart are more or less on the same page. So, even though the young actor certainly missed out on some quality television — and should definitely make up for it with a well-deserved Sabrina, the Teenage Witch marathon one of these days — here’s to a brand-new decade. And a brand-new Sabrina.


Photocall of Netflix’s ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’


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Appearances & Events > 2018 > October 07 – Photocall of Netflix’s ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’

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