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Mad Men Q&A – Kiernan Shipka (Sally Draper)

Kiernan Shipka, who plays Sally Draper on AMC’s Mad Men, talks about saying goodbye to her on-screen parents and Sally’s reunion with Glen.

Q: You basically grew up onscreen. Do you still remember your first day on set and that scene with Betty’s dry cleaning bag over your head?

A: I do! I remember it very vividly. I’m lucky – I was six when I started – and all my memories early on are very vivid and I’m so glad I have them.

Q: Sally has certainly gotten sassier over the years and lots of fans love her for that! Where does that sass come from?

A: I think the fact that Sally’s sassy is because she’s a very smart girl and I don’t think she likes to put up with a lot. I think that’s where it stems from and I think it’s heightened usually when she’s frustrated with someone or just having fun. She’s witty.

Q: What was it like to reunite with Marten Weiner in Episode 710? What do you make of Sally and Glen’s friendship?

A: It was great. I love working with Marten. He’s the best. I’ve known him for a really long time. It’s crazy [how] we’ve both grown up so much and he’s at real college now, so that [episode] was cool to do because it felt like a lot of time had gone by. Sally and Glen’s friendship throughout the years has always been a really special thing to both of them because they were there for each other. Sally never really had an adult to confide in or lean on and trust. She loves both her parents, but she doesn’t really feel that comfort to talk to them like she could always talk to Glen. This is such an emotional time for her. She was mad at him, but also sad for herself. She was really losing her best friend.

Q: Sally mentions not wanting to be like Don or Betty, but do you see any similarities that she shares with them?

A: I think that Sally is in some ways like her parents, but I think in general, she’s very much her own person. As an individual, I really just see her as Sally and not a reflection of either of her parents.

Q: Speaking of Don and Betty, how did you say goodbye to your on-screen parents?

A: The last day on set was very crazy and sad, for sure. Throughout the day, the cast members were all making their speeches and it was definitely somber. After everything wrapped, we hung out for a little bit and played Catchphrase and all sorts of other games. That was really fun and it did feel, in a way, like a last hurrah.

Q: We went back and reread your interview when we first spoke to you almost six years ago…

A: Oh my god! [Laughs]

Q: [Laughs] You predicted Sally would go to college and have a family, but now she seems pretty unsure about her future and career goals. If you could offer her any advice, what would it be?

A: I have faith in Sally. I would probably just tell her to do her thing because I think she’s pretty great and very smart and really on the right track. She’s going places.

Q: If you weren’t acting, what would you be doing professionally?

A: I always said I would want to be a food critic. I love eating so much and I love writing, so I thought it would be a perfect combination. It would definitely be something artistic.

Q: Are you still planning to have that full Mad Men series viewing marathon when all the episodes are over?

A: I couldn’t wait! I already did it. It was awesome. It’s really nice because the scenes that I was in are very nostalgic and just watching them as a whole is very special. Seeing the whole picture was nice.

Q: Have you gotten to keep anything of Sally’s? What do you treasure the most?

A: I got to keep Sally’s “SBD” necklace. I was very happy I got to keep that because I feel like it’s a very vital part of her character and her style – which is also something that I really love – and it’s also really cute, so I can wear it.

Read an interview with Jon Hamm, who plays Don Draper.

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