Kiernan Shipka Is Ready to Shed Her Good-Girl Image in Swimming With Sharks

Kiernan Shipka Is Ready to Shed Her Good-Girl Image in Swimming With Sharks thumbnail

Kiernan Shipka is all grown-up in the Roku Original series Swimming With Sharks—and she told E! News that it feels good to be bad.

Swimming With Sharks Stars Dish on Upcoming Roku Series

Say goodbye to little Sally Draper.

Sure, fans may associate 22-year-old Kiernan Shipka with her more innocent roles on Mad Men and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but she well and truly sheds her good-girl image in the Roku Original series Swimming With Sharks, also starring Diane Kruger.

The show presented a challenge for Kiernan, but a welcome one. “You read a lot of scripts that are based in high school until you’re probably like 30,” the actress told E! News. “But occasionally a script like this comes along that is gritty and gripping and edgy in different sort of ways.”

Kiernan’s Swimming With Sharks role is definitely a departure from her days as Sally Draper and Sabrina Spellman. In the series, based on the 1994 film of the same title, she plays Lou Simms, a Fountain Pictures intern who will backstab and bed anyone to climb her way to the top. 

The actress understood that starring in this project would entail sex scenes and other mature situations, but she said, “I’m not really scared of much.”

Kiernan said she felt more comfortable exploring darker moments because she “trusted” showrunner Kathleen Robertson, who appeared as Claire Arnold in Beverly Hills, 90210. “As far as kind of the racier end of it goes,” she shared, “I thought all of it was thoughtful and tasteful so doing it was was very thrilling.”


Kiernan that she didn’t take the subject matter too seriously, noting that Swimming With Sharks is a fictionalized and dramatized take on the world of Hollywood. “I see the flaws [of the industry] but my own personal experience has been so protected and fulfilling and enriching,” she said. “I know that I have a very unique experience in that regard.”

For her, the biggest downside of working in film and television has been growing up in the public eye, saying, “It’s not always an easy job or an easy place to be and there’s so much to grapple with as far as mental health goes and as far as managing your work and your own personal life and vanity and now social media and all that kind of stuff.”

See Kiernan star opposite Diane Kruger in Swimming With Sharks, streaming now on The Roku Channel.

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