Kiernan Shipka took Hollywood by storm at a young age and she hasn’t yet let up. Since first gaining fame at age 6 as Sally Draper on AMC’s Mad Men, Kiernan has wowed fellow actors, filmmakers, critics, and audiences alike.
Her young age (she only turned 21 in November 2020) makes her one of Gen Z’s finest stars, and we’re so excited to watch that star continue to soar in the future.
— JonnyLeTran5 🏳️🌈 (@JonnyLeTran5) June 16, 2021
Not sure you’re familiar with Kiernan? Let’s take a look at her life and work thus far. Maybe by the end, you’ll be a Kiernan Shipka stan yourself.
First of all, who is Kiernan Shipka?
Kiernan Shipka was born on November 10, 1999 to parents John Young Shipka and Erin Ann Brennan in Chicago, Illinois. Even though her breakthrough roles came at a young age, she actually started acting at just 5 months old when she appeared in an episode of ER. Kiernan worked sporadically in television for the first six years of her life before her family moved to Los Angeles once she successfully auditioned for a recurring role in Mad Men.
She Tweets infrequently yet when she does her posts are bizarrely funny!
april fools https://t.co/HipmwfX2Lh
— Kiernan Shipka (@kiernanshipka) April 1, 2021
Does Kiernan Shipka have a boyfriend?
It’s the only thing anyone ever wants to know, isn’t it?
Kiernan Shipka has never officially confirmed this, but all Instagram signs point to her dating young director Christian Coppola since 2019. Coppola (who is reportedly a distant relative of Francis Ford Coppola) and Kiernan were first spotted out and about together in November 2019 in Italy, and they’ve been going strong ever since.
In the past, Kiernan was rumored to have dated Gary Oldman’s son Charlie. When she spoke with Refinery 29, Kiernan declined to clarify either man’s role in her life. “It’s more fun for the people [that way],” she said.
Kiernan did confirm in an interview with W Magazine that her first kiss was on-screen.
“Everything happened for me on-screen before it happened for me in real life, to be quite honest,” she said. “I was prepared for everything on Mad Men, because Sally was a little ahead of me. She taught me the way.”
Kiernan Shipka television shows: ‘Mad Men’
At just 6 years old, Kiernan successfully auditioned for the role of Sally Draper in the AMC period drama Mad Men with only a few TV appearances to her name. Her family relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles after she landed the part, and it seems she was a natural talent from day one.
A 2012 Chicago Sun-Times piece says that Kiernan hadn’t received any formal acting lessons or training before Mad Men, and notes that series creator Matthew Weiner asked her parents not to get her a coach the day of the show’s first table read. The Mad Men creator spoke to Vanity Fair about how Kiernan stood out from most child actors ahead of the show’s final season in 2014:
“It’s really tricky casting kids. You really don’t have a lot of expectations. You want someone who can memorize some lines, deliver some kind of real person, and not look at the camera, not be too self-conscious. . . . [Kiernan] was so precocious. I really didn’t limit the length of her scenes at all, and by the second season I was writing whatever I wanted for her, whatever we thought was appropriate for the story. I never say, ‘She can’t do that many lines; she can’t be that intimate; she can’t convey that with a look.’ You don’t think when you pick someone when they’re six years old that they’re going to do that seven years later.”
Sally Draper’s Mad Men arc reflects that of a young girl growing up in 1960s America. She argues with her mother Betty (portrayed by January Jones), experiences grief for the first time when her grandfather dies, and (to her parents’ frustration) becomes an increasingly independent young woman as she grows up. Kiernan appeared as a recurring guest star for the series’ first 3 seasons and joined the show’s main cast for seasons 4-7.
Here’s a fun fact: her presence as a key cast member in a drama series intended for adult audiences meant she wasn’t actually allowed to watch Mad Men until she was 14, near the end of the show’s run.
Occasionally, Kiernan posts stills from her time on Mad Men to her Instagram page — and she seems to keep up with her old co-stars, too!
Kiernan and Jon Hamm will forever be the best daughter-father TV combo.
Let’s not forget her adorable friendship with January Jones, too.
Kiernan Shipka television shows: ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’
As a young adult, Kiernan has made a name for herself as the titular Sabrina Spellman in Netflix’s dark, moody adaptation of the Archie Comics series, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The series premiered on October 26, 2018, and ran for four seasons before its cancellation in 2020.
According to EW, Kiernan was reportedly series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s first choice for the role. Some may be familiar with the premise of this show from the ‘90s ABC sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but make no mistake: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a darker (read; more Satanic) take on the concept, and it gets spooky.
Kiernan has continued to earn praise from critics and co-stars alike for her role as Sabrina.
“Not only is [Shipka] masterful at everything she takes on, she also really knows how to drive a scene, which is something not all people know how to do,” Miranda Otto, who plays Kiernan’s Aunt Zelda in the show, told Refinery 29. “She keeps the energy of everything going. She really is a powerhouse.”
Kiernan Shipka movies: ‘One & Two’
Kiernan starred in Andrew Droz Palermo’s 2015 film One & Two alongside Timothée Chalamet, Elizabeth Reaser, and Grant Bowler. The film follows a Christian family of four whose children (Kiernan and Timothée) can teleport short distances and the troubles that arise when their strict father decides their abilities are unnatural.
“It’s like watching your brother do amazing things,” she said about Timothée’s success. “My mom drove him to his final audition for Beautiful Boy. He’s such a part of the Shipka clan. He should hyphenate his last name, actually.”
Kiernan Shipka used to bring Timothée Chalamet on dates
So you know now that Kiernan and Timothée are friends… but did you know that she used to bring him along on first dates?
Kiernan mentioned during an interview on the Ladies First With Laura Brown podcast in April 2021 that Timothée lived with her family in Los Angeles at one point, and she would have him join in on would-be first dates — an awkward situation many have experienced, but likely not with a big-time movie star along for the ride!
“If they want to get dinner or something, I’m like, ‘Sure, yeah, sounds great,'” Kiernan said. “And then I text them like an hour before and say, ‘Hey, my friend’s with me, I think they’re gonna join.'”
We can’t imagine those dates went all too well for the third party involved.
Kiernan Shipka’s Hollywood look-alikes
Oddly enough, Kiernan does seem to have a Hollywood doppelganger working in town, too — 14-year-old actress Mckenna Grace. A quick Twitter search for either actress’s name reveals that quite a few people think the two look eerily similar.
Vox writer Emily VanDerWerff noted the resemblance after watching Mckenna in Annabelle Comes Home and asked the question that’s now on our minds: why haven’t the pair teamed up yet?
A half-hour long search for a movie that would be reasonably diverting but not so good that we would feel bad if we turned it off to go to bed has resulted in……… Annabelle Comes Home.
— Emily VanDerWerff 🙋♀️ (@emilyvdw) April 10, 2021
One Twitter user suggested that both Mckenna and Kiernan look like the first two forms of Emma Watson, another Hollywood actress who knows a thing or two about being a child star.
mckenna grace and kiernan shipka are twins change my mind pic.twitter.com/q79ncWKk75
— k | old acc (@anakIusmcs) October 27, 2018
Kiernan acknowledged her resemblance to Emma in a WIRED YouTube video in 2019, saying she often receives Emma Watson photos from misguided fans hoping for a signature.
Another user went as far as to say Kiernan could face competition for roles from Mckenna when the latter turns 18. We hope not; we’d rather see them on screen together! Mckenna actually guest-starred in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s 2018 holiday episode as a young Sabrina Spellman, so we’ve gotten close.
Seriously, someone should start writing that con-artist sisters script.
Kiernan Shipka television shows: ‘The Legend of Korra’
From 2012-2014, Kiernan lent her voice to Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Legend of Korra as Jinora, an airbender, and granddaughter of Aang, the Avatar from the original Nickelodeon show.
Just found out that kiernan shipka voices Jinora and
J.K Simon voices Tenzin in The Legend of Korra…… pic.twitter.com/ddVYrNTs1T
— 𝕷’𝕺𝖘𝖈𝖚𝖗𝖎𝖙á 𝖉𝖊𝖑𝖑’𝕴𝖌𝖓𝖔𝖙𝖔🗝 (@williammoalaeua) December 29, 2019
Kiernan’s character in the series grows into a powerful airbender and by the end of season 3 earns her place as the youngest airbending master ever. Frankly, we wouldn’t be shocked if Kiernan could airbend in real life. She’s just that good.
Kiernan Shipka movies: ‘The Silence’
The Silence marks another horror showing for Kiernan. In 2019, she co-starred in this Netflix film alongside Stanley Tucci and her Sabrina castmate Miranda Otto. Kiernan portrays Ally Andrews, a teenage girl who lost her hearing in a car accident, as she and her family fight to stay alive amidst an outbreak of flying monsters that use sounds to hunt prey.
The Silence gave Kiernan an opportunity to learn ASL for the part, and director John R. Leonetti complimented her performance in a 2017 interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“She’s acting alongside Stanley Tucci, and believe me, she’s more than holding her own,” John R. Leonetti said. “It’s been spellbinding watching her.”
Horror fans and Kiernan Shipka fans alike can watch The Silence on Netlflix here.
Kiernan Shipka movies: ‘Let It Snow’
Kiernan has already proven she can do Halloween and horror films, so why not a holiday flick? Let It Snow (2019) depicts the lives of a group of teenagers in a small town in Illinois on Christmas Eve. Kiernan’s character, Angie (nicknamed The Duke), finds herself caught in a love triangle between her best friend Tobin and a college boy in this warm and enjoyable holiday special.
Kiernan told The Hollywood Reporter in November 2019 that she feels the movie is all about taking a chance on love.
“I think the main lessons are to take a chance on love, to not be afraid and to not let love stop you from doing scary things because if you do those scary things, life could be more fulfilling,” she said. “I think that’s the breakthrough that a lot of these characters go through, and I hope it inspires other people to do the same. To tell someone that they like them or love them. I think that’s lovely and I hope that happens.”
Let It Snow was 10/10, Kiernan Shipka is a cutie and apparently now I’m in love with Miles Robbins?
— 🎀 glittabones 🎀 (@glittabones) November 24, 2020
You can watch Let It Snow on Netflix here.
Kiernan Shipka is a budding fashionista, too
In 2016, Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant told Dazed that Kiernan “has that naturally chic gene” when it comes to her sense of style. The actress has identified fashion as a love of hers in numerous interviews, and even reportedly took a history of western dress course during her independent studies growing up.
She cited Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn as fashion influences to Vanity Fair in 2014, calling their looks “timeless.” We wonder how much that has to do with her formative years spent dressed like it’s the ‘60s!
Here are some looks Kiernan has served up on her Instagram feed in recent times:
Kiernan Shipka movies: ‘The Blackcoat’s Daughter’
Kiernan starred in the 2015 psychological horror film The Blackcoat’s Daughter alongside Emma Roberts, this time playing a Catholic boarding school student who is haunted by some sort of spirit.
The New York Times named this film from writer-director Osgood Perkins, in a piece entitled ‘The 13 Scariest Horror Movies on Netflix Right Now’ in October 2020.
One Twitter user called the film “extremely underrated.”
Oh and also, The Blackcoat’s Daughter is one of the best horror movies of the past 10 years. Extremely underrated. pic.twitter.com/gs36YDcSGj
— Jack (@JackMcL1996) June 20, 2021
Future Kiernan Shipka movies and television shows
What direction will Kiernan Shipka take her career in next?
Deadline reported in May 2021 that Kiernan is set to join the cast of HBO’s upcoming limited series The White House Plumbers, which aims to tell the true story of how Watergate masterminds E. Howard Hunt (Woody Harrelson) and G. Gordon Liddy (Justin Theroux) accidentally brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency.
Kiernan will reportedly portray Kevan Hunt, president of Smith College Republicans and E. Howard Hunt’s daughter. The White House Plumbers’ cast will also reportedly include Domhnall Gleeson, Lena Headey, Ike Barinholtz, and another Mad Men alum: Rich Sommer.
Beyond that? It’s hard to say what’s in store for the young actress moving forward. Kiernan told Refinery 29 in 2020 that she writes music in her spare time, but didn’t necessarily know whether she plans to pursue it professionally.
“I listen to sad indie music and I think my own music reflects that in a lot of ways,” she said. “But who knows, cause it’s just me and my guitar. If I actually [could] go into a booth and then mix it and add in all sorts of stuff, I have no idea what it would sound like.”
Kiernan told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019 that she “will literally jump at any chance to sing on camera,” and she had an opportunity to do so to promote The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 3 with a song and music video called “Straight To Hell.”
Should Kiernan decide to try to crossover into the music industry, you can bet we’ll be listening.
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