Kiernan Shipka, A.K.A Sabrina the Teenage Witch, on the Much-Anticipated Reboot

On the new Netflix series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Kiernan Shipka channels a much darker, much more feminist teenage witch.

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Today, October 26th, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the Netflix reboot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, premieres. Marie Claire chatted with the new Sabrina herself, Kiernan Shipka, about the role, political injustice and of course, witchcraft.

Marie Claire: You’re probably too young to have watched the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch, right?

Kiernan Shipka: True. I think I realized after I took on the show how passionate people were about it. This project is so wildly different, I didn’t feel I had to go back and watch. I’ve tweeted briefly with Melissa Joan Hart. I would love to meet her.

MC: Your Sabrina is pretty different than hers. What drew you to the part?

KS: She’s my dream role. She’s got this duality to play with. She’s funny, she’s smart. After I auditioned, I was like, “Even if I don’t get it, I’m just going to keep on playing her in my own life.”

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MC: The show is set in the ’60s. Which is funny because...Mad Men.

KS: I’m never getting away! Sabrina isn’t very culturally ’60s [though]. I was like, “Oh, we’re wearing cute clothes [again].” Not, “Oh my God, Sabrina’s the exact same age as Sally Draper, and they’re existing in the exact same world.” It really isn’t that.

MC: There’s a pretty resonant political undercurrent here: The witch world is a total patriarchy. Sabrina has to fight for control over her own body and fate.

KS: I love the message. It’s this fantastical experience, but at the root are all these real issues. There’s no reference to specific things, but there is injustice. We’re tackling it in a way that’s smart and subtle. The show is woke! I’m really proud of it.

MC: So if not Sabrina, were you a Harry Potter kid?

KS: I mean, I’m a Harry-Potter-till-I-die kind of person. Those are the movies I grew up on. I was like, “Why would I want to watch any other movies when there’s Air Bud and Harry Potter?” It makes no sense why I have to expand my movie-viewing experience when I have two really wonderful films. [Laughs]

MC: Are you into the current cultural obsession with witchcraft?

KS: I totally wasn’t, and then we had a week filming hiatus. I was in L.A. and like, “You know what? I’m going to go and see a medium for the hell of it.” So I went and had a really nice experience and bought a bunch of crystals. Then I learned that you have to cleanse the crystals, so I kid you not, I have like 10 crystals on my deck that have been sitting there for a month, cleansing. I keep forgetting about them!

A version of this article originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of Marie Claire.

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