Kiernan Shipka Shares Her Favorite Mad Men Memories
No one on Mad Men has changed more over the last 85 episodes than Kiernan Shipka’s Sally Draper. Shipka was just six when the show debuted in 2007, and since then, her character has transformed from a smiling kid at the breakfast table to a sullen, cigarette-carrying teen. While longtime viewers may feel a connection to Sally because we quite literally watched her grow up, her character has also become a portal for children of the sixties to re-experience their own youth. “This guy once came up to me and said, ‘I’m Sally Draper,’ ” Shipka, now 15, told us by phone. “It’s kind of this thing, like, oh my gosh, this character resonates with so many people.” As the nostalgia builds ahead of Mad Men’s final season, we spoke to Shipka about her favorite moment with Jon Hamm, working with eight different onscreen brothers, and whether or not she’ll end up in fashion.
Because of the sometimes-sensitive nature of Mad Men,you have said that you watched a censored version of the show. Have you gone back and watched the whole thing yet?
Yeah, I’ve watched it and now I’m kind of going back and sifting through them again and watching episodes I really like—I like all of them—but some of the more memorable ones to me.
What’s your favorite Sally episode?
A really fun memory for me was season two, episode four. Sally got to go to the office with Don, and it was really, really fun for me. I had met pretty much all the cast members, but I never got to work with them and I’d never really been to that portion of the set before.
Was that the same episode where Sally accidentally drinks Don’s drink?
How old were you when that scene was filmed?
I was probably seven.
Often your character faced some age-inappropriate scenarios. Were you aware of what was happening?
The thing is that I was always very focused on Sally’s storyline. I didn’t watch the show or go to the table reads, but . . . it never felt like people were shielding me.
Have you read any of the conspiracy theories about the show?
I have read some because I know there’s a whole Sharon Tate thing and it’s kind of really cool to see people that involved and excited about the show. It’s so wild how in depth people go and how specific and detail-oriented they can get to trace these little things. I honestly, above all, just find it fascinating.
Do you have any favorite memories with Jon Hamm?
Jon is an amazing guy and he’s been great to work with. We’ve always had fun together on set. There’s this photo that I love and he loves and it’s of Sally in her little ballerina costume and she’s sitting on his lap and it’s just heartbreakingly sweet because she’s so happy! It’s just such a sweet moment . . . . It sticks out to me as a special little capturing of their father-daughter relationship.
There have been a number of Bobbys, your onscreen younger brother, throughout the years. How was that for you?
Personally, I was a fan of all the Bobbys. I kind of wasn’t informed [of any of the casting changes], which was kind of funny. Just kind of one day you walk onto set and you’ve got a new bro. It’s kind of funny . . . but I got to work with eight great kids!
Did you get to keep any of your wardrobe?
I think everyone got to keep a little something. I got to keep a necklace. But for the most part, the clothing went back to Western Costume or any of the clothing houses. I mean, [a lot of the costumes] are at museums like the Smithsonian . . . so I can go visit.
You’re known for being sartorially savvy. Do you think you’ll end up becoming a fashion designer?
Oh, no. Honestly, I love wearing fashion, but I tried to sew once, and it took me a year to sew the dress. By the time that it was all complete, I had grown out of it. The last time I dabbled in that, it did not go well. Who knows, though, who knows? But I’m sticking with acting, I think.