Rejoice, Sally Draper fans: 'Mad Men' star Kiernan Shipka rules in real life, too

Recently EW gathered five of the most promising child stars — Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka, Let Me In‘s Chloe Grace Moretz, Modern Family‘s Rico Rodriguez, The Last Airbender‘s Noah Ringer, and True Grit‘s Hailee Steinfeld — to talk shop. We picked these impressive kids, who range in age from 10 to 13, because they are each doing incredibly sophisticated work that has earned them legions of adult fans. None more so perhaps than Shipka, whose extraordinary portrayal of Sally Draper on Mad Men, in particular her bravura run in season 4, has folks crying Emmy.

In real life, Shipka likes to unwind playing the piano. She’d love to star in a big action movie one day. She was aghast when one of the other kids revealed that he had never seen The Wizard of Oz. She does martial arts (!). She shot her first commercial — for Gerber Baby Food, of course — when she was five months old. Oh, and as you’ll hear in the video below, she sometimes has to fight the urge to give on-screen mom Betty Draper a proper beat-down. Do it! She also reveals whether she thinks a grown-up Sally would gravitate toward Joan or Peggy, and sounds off on how her character can possibly survive all this family drama intact.

For more on The Kids’ Table, check out the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on sale Oct. 29, and view our bonus interview with Kiernan Shipka in the video below. After that, check out what Hit Girl had to say in our video chat with Chloe Moretz.

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  • Karate Pants

    I think the editing of Sally watching Kiernan’s interview on the TV was creative, but for that particular scene?!? lol
    Such a interesting group of kid actors doing amazing work – why didn’t EW hint at this piece on the cover?

    • tracy bluth


    • harry


    • Wil


  • rob

    Kiernan reminds me a bit of Elijah Wood when he was a child actor, an actor who was extremely good for his age and who you knew you’d see again as an adult. I’m certainly a fan.

  • Couchtime With Jill

    What an intelligent and eloquent girl! I hope she has a long and successful career ahead of her.

    • wino

      she’s adorable! hope too see more of her in season 5, maybe the writers can create a scene where sally does punch betty in the face:)

    • Lucy

      she’s an amazing actress!!

  • Jen

    She reminds me of Drew Barrymore so much. Like, what Drew could have been in those formative years if she hadn’t been into the substances.

    • Jan

      Rather than “into the substances,” I’d say “so poorly parented.”

  • getreal

    such an impressive young girl! If they dump her to age the character……. Naaaaaa …. they wouldn’t dare.

  • saint of E. 69th st

    sally will be at woodstock soon! and a 70s porn star!


    She also reminds me of Drew Barrymore. I just hope that her parents are able to keep her from going down Drew’s destructive path.

    • Ana170

      I don’t think Drew was destructive so much as she had no guidance and had to figure out how to raise herself.

      • besimon

        Exactly Ana170. Drew’s mother took her to clubs and Studio 54 when she was like 10 years old.

      • Jan


      • Candy

        There’s a terrific amount of kndowelge in this article!

  • Hannah

    she brings me to tears when I watch any of the scenes involving her interaction with Don or Betty. What a gifted and articulate child, I hope she keeps her head on straight and doesn’t go the way of so many other child actors and proteges and become involved in the drinking, drugging and party scene when she hits puberty.

  • Lisa Simpson

    This is the second interview with her that I’ve seen or read. She seems like a very grounded young girl, and I love how she can tell the difference between the actress and the part (so many adults can’t seem to handle that).

  • elena

    I love this kid. Seriously, she’s the best thing about Mad Men. Seeing her see the different characters through a kid’s view…it’s something remarkable. And for whatever reason I feel crazy protective of Sally whenever I watch, a testament to how real Kiernan makes the character. Yay for Mad Men’s awesomeness all around.

  • graeme

    Very articulate. Loved what she said at the end about Betty being her favourite character.

  • eddiehaskell

    Wow, I love this kid. She is an extremely good actress. I can’t wait to see how this kid does with her new stepmother. Great, now I am missing Mad Men already!

  • Via

    She seems like a great kid and she certainly is a terrific actress. It’s weird that her favorite scene this season was the one that was so heartbreaking to watch. It just reminds you that she is still a child, she just liked the action of it all.

  • Kay

    She came across so much better than person interviewing her!

  • J

    Kiernan Shipka DOES deserve an Emmy nomination. Her performance shows shadings of the performances by the actors playing her parents on the show. It’s really quite remarkable.

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