Emily   March 31, 2019

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD Hollywood is littered with tragic stories and cautionary tales about child actors. Then there’s Kiernan Shipka, the unaffected young actor who grew up in our living rooms, playing Don Draper’s precocious daughter Sally between the ages of eight and 15 in the TV series Mad Men.

Now 19, the sassy blonde has come into her own, starring in the titular role in the Netflix series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the latest TV show to be based on the Archie Comics’ character Sabrina the Teenage Witch. This adaptation is a dark coming-of-age story, inspired by Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, that follows the half-mortal witch Sabrina Spellman as she struggles to reconcile her dual nature.

It’s been so much fun,” Kiernan says, giggling into the phone from a taxi in Toronto, Canada, on her way to a doctor’s appointment on her day off from filming the romantic comedy Let It Snow. She’s excited about the upcoming second season of Sabrina, in which her character struggles with a deal she’s made with the devil.

It was cool because we shot both the first season and the second all in one and I felt like there was this natural progression throughout,” she says. “Sabrina grew up mortal, so that’s a more dominant personality trait in the first season. But as she comes into her power, it’s about exploring the other side of herself and she really goes all in.

I really enjoyed playing her in the second season because her dark side is just so feisty and fiery and there’s a really powerful element to that.”

One of Sabrina’s more complex relationships is with her capricious Aunt Zelda, played by Australian actress Miranda Otto (the pair had just worked together on a horror film, The Silence, when they discovered they’d been cast as family in Sabrina).

I love her and we are very close in real life, nothing like the tumultuous relationship we have on the show,” Kiernan says warmly. “And I learnt so much from her professionally. She truly creates such a beautiful history for her character and has a lot of ideas for Zelda that come just from her, and that kind of extra care and thought put into the role really shows.”

Kiernan Brennan Shipka was born in Chicago to John Shipka, a real estate developer, and his wife Erin Brennan, a one-time queen of Chicago’s St Patrick’s Day parade. Kiernan was only five months old when she made her acting debut in the long-running medical drama ER.

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