Kiernan Shipka: "The Next Generation Can Make a Change"

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Kiernan Shipka: "The Next Generation Can Make a Change"

Kiernan Shipka has grown up on-screen and is continuing to dazzle in her roles; she speaks to Jack Sunnucks about why she started acting and where she wants to go next

Kiernan ShipkaPhotography by Ben Toms, Styling by Robbie Spencer

In celebration of the new generation of actresses determined to leverage their fame for the greater good, Ben Toms and Robbie Spencer’s fashion story, published in AnOther Magazine S/S17, featured young women from Rowan Blanchard to India Menuez; Sophie Kennedy Clark to Maddie Ziegler. Writer Jack Sunnucks spoke to each of these women on set, for a series of interviews running over two weeks exclusively on anothermag.com.

As Sally Draper, the daughter of Jon Hamm’s charismatic and ever more unhinged ad man on Mad Men, Kiernan Shipka spent almost a decade growing up on-screen. Now 17, she’s become known for her characteristically exciting red carpet looks – think Dior Haute Couture, Miu Miu and Valentino. Her next act is appearing in TV series Feud: helmed by American Horror Story director Ryan Murphy, it chronicles the rivalry between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, and sees Shipka acting alongside the brilliant Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon.

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Kiernan Shipka, AnOther S/S17Photography by Ben Toms, Styling by Robbie Spencer

Jack Sunnucks: Who is your hero?
Kiernan Shipka
: The women in my family are kind of my heroes because I’m so close to them and I think they are so strong and inspiring. Anyone, I think, can be someone’s hero. It doesn’t have to be someone famous, or a celebrity, or someone that a lot of people know. I think it can be someone or something that is just close to you, and for me that’s my family.

JS: Is there someone on- or off-screen that inspired you to become an actor?
KS: When I was really young, I watched the Wizard of Oz. Afterwards, I felt like: “Oh my gosh, we can do that! We can be in a fake pretend world and make magic happen, that’s pretty awesome. I wanna dabble in that too.” I think that’s the first movie which kind of ignited the fire within me to just act, and act, and act. Ever since then, I’ve been super excited and obsessed with it, non-stop.

“I personally love fashion. I think it’s an expressive thing, it can really tell a story and it can be more of a narrative than just wearing an outfit” – Kiernan Shipka

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Kiernan Shipka, AnOther S/S17Photography by Ben Toms, Styling by Robbie Spencer

JS: What is the role that changed your working life for you?
KS: The role of Sally Draper in Mad Men really changed my life, in pretty much every way possible. I was on Mad Men for ten years. I grew up in that amount of time - I really did - and I spent my formative years on the show. It was the best kind of acting school, the greatest environment to be in: it shaped me into who I am today in so many ways. If I didn’t have Mad Men my life would be wildly different, I don’t even know where I would be. I would probably… I don’t even know.

JS: Fashion is such a big part of Mad Men and you are known for really good red carpet choices. How do dressing-up and clothes make you feel?
KS: I personally love fashion. I think it’s an expressive thing, it can really tell a story and it can be more of a narrative than just wearing an outfit. At least for me, it’s something that signifies where I am at the moment: if I’m feeling a bit more edgy or if I’m feeling sweet, or whatever. I think it’s something that I have been really into ever since I was on Mad Men. Style was such a focus and I’ve been taken with it ever since.

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Kiernan Shipka, AnOther S/S17Photography by Ben Toms, Styling by Robbie Spencer

JS: 2016 has been a really big year of change in America and the world. If you could say something to people your age, what would it be?
KS: My advice to young people is always: read as much as you can, learn as much as you can, learn whatever you can. Educate yourself and become passionate and stand up for what you believe in. Because this next generation is a generation that can make a change.

JS: Is there a role that you haven’t played and you would really like to? Or is there a genre of film that you would like to do?
KS: I’d love to sing more in movies. I think that would be a really fun thing to do – a musical, or just something where my character sings a ton, because I love singing. That would be awesome.

Hair Marki Shkreli for Marki Hair Care; Make-up Samuel Paul at Forward Artists for Marc Jacobs Beauty; Set design Bryn Bowen at Streeters; Photographic assistants Vincent Perini, Geordy Pearson and Kaleb Marshall; Styling assistants Louise Ford, Johanna Burmester-Andersson, Bonnie Macleod and Sabrina Terlink; Hair assistant Kelly Oliphant.

These photographs originally appeared in AnOther Magazine S/S17.