Kiernan Shipka, who plays Sally Draper on AMC’s Mad Men, wants you to know she’s nothing like her character. For instance, she doesn’t roll her eyes nearly as much.
“My eyes, by the end of this season, were so rolled out,” she said in an interview with Vulture. “I couldn’t move them! I was afraid they were going to freeze like that some times. Literally every scene I had to do at least three eye rolls. I’m getting so good at it now.”
Despite only being 13-years old, Shipka has a very Zen approach to acting. “The whole thing about acting in general, is that it’s about your imagination,” she explained. “You can draw from real-life experiences, but obviously nothing, unless you’re doing some biography, is going to be exact to your life. You create things in your head. That’s what’s fun about it. It’s not real life. I have a little bit of a wild imagination, so I could imagine anything I wanted to see there even if it wasn’t really there. It was cool to be in [the scene where Sally walks in on Don and his girlfriend], because I knew what my character was going to see, but I didn’t want myself to go in the room because I felt bad for Sally! Like, I could stop it but I couldn’t.”
In that particular scene, Shipka holds her hand over her face, but she wasn’t given that direction in the script. “There were a couple of variations of that scene, but putting my hand on my face is something I did naturally, and it felt the best,” she said. “It takes one or two takes before I get into the swing of it, especially for a scene like that. You have to warm up to it. It’s not something I can just jump into.”
But as dramatic as Sally’s life has been, Shipka’s not exactly bringing all that angst home with her.
“Most of the scenes I film, they don’t really affect me in my real life,” the actress admitted. “After any kind of emotional scene, I’m the type of person who’s able to snap out of it because it’s such a different world. Sally’s crying and going through all this emotional stuff, but then they yell ‘cut!’ and suddenly you’re on the Mad Men set and everyone’s so nice. There’s a big separation. None of it gets to me too personally.”