Emma Kenney On Season 4 of Shameless and High School Life

Alysha Boynton ‘17 / Emertainment Monthy Staff Writer

Emma Kenney. Photo Courtesy of IMDb.com.
Emma Kenney. Photo Courtesy of IMDb.com.

Emma Kenney, the 14-year-old New Jersey native, who plays Debbie Gallagher on the hit Showtime series Shameless, is every bit as sweet and down to earth as one would expect, possibly even more so.

Despite her success on Shameless, Kenney says that she’s still been able to live a relatively normal life and feels “more like a teenager than a celebrity.” As a freshman at her New Jersey high school this year she was even able to attend the first day of school.

Kenney describes her situation as “definitely getting the best of both worlds,” endearingly speaking about her life as a regular high school student with just as much fondness as her life as a TV star.

“It really helps that none of my friends watch the show. I think it would be so weird if any of them were to like, try to get me to tell them what happens next week or something, you know?”

Kenney did say, however, that with her transition from middle to high school she gets recognized more and more often in the halls of her school. Although she definitely prefers it when people have no idea who she is, she still thinks it’s cool to know that people are watching her show.

Kenney’s character, Debbie, is growing up alongside her and she seemed excited to speak about Debbie’s progression in season 4.

“Debbie definitely grows up this season. She’s got a boyfriend, for one thing,” [not Little Hank (Nicky Korba), I checked] “and she’s experimenting with different clothing and makeup and other stuff like that. The way she’s growing up is pretty abrupt and sudden.”

In stark contrast to the previous seasons, Kenney says that Debbie is beginning to enter her rebellious phase as she is no longer trying to take care of her family and always be responsible like her older sister, Fiona (Emmy Rossum). As for the rest of the Gallaghers, Kenney says they’re closer than ever before, and are really forced to stick together in the upcoming season.

There are plenty of Debbie storylines coming up too, but Kenney was tight-lipped on the details. She did, however, give me the scoop on where the rest of the Gallaghers are at the beginning of the season.

Emmy Rossum, Cameron Monaghan, Jeremy Allen White, Ethan Cutkosky and Emma Kenney in Shameless. Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson.
Emmy Rossum, Cameron Monaghan, Jeremy Allen White, Ethan Cutkosky and Emma Kenney in Shameless. Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson.

Ian (Cameron Monaghan), who left to join the army at the end of last season, is still absent by the start of season 4, and apparently won’t be back for at least half the season. Lip (Jeremy Allen White) is doing well for once, meeting new people and focusing on himself instead of getting into any new romances. Fiona is still working at the cup factory, and Frank (William H. Macy), well, “You’re just gonna have to wait and see about Frank, I don’t think I can really give anything away!”

Kenney says she is extremely happy with where the show is going and absolutely loves working with everyone on the cast, especially Shanola Hampton, who plays Veronica.

“Shanola and I have so much fun in between takes, but the whole cast is really close, I enjoy my scenes with everyone,” said Kenney while also wishing she could work more with Joan Cusack, who plays the incredibly eccentric scene-stealer Sheila.

The fourth season of Shameless airs January 12th at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

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