From Showtime’s hit series to Roseanne spinoff The Conners, Emma Kenney is showing she’s wise beyond her years.
Photo by Chris Patey
She may be newly 19, but Emma Kenney is already a veteran actress, now in her ninth season co-starring as Debbie Gallagher in Showtime’s hit TV show Shameless—her first professional project. “I got to grow and learn everything I know on this set, and continue to do so,” says New York-born Kenney.
In some respects, she’s also grown up in “her favorite city” of Chicago, where Shameless is filmed. She and the cast have been spotted at The James Hotel, Oak Street Beach and Pizzeria Due. And she’s developed friendships with neighbors in the Lawndale neighborhood around the Gallagher house from the show. “There’s a little boy who was 1 when we started the show, and now he’s 10,” says Kenney. “He said he had an interest in filming, so last year for Christmas I gave him a video camera.”
When she’s not working, Kenney loves cuddling with her two dogs, Charles and Prince. She doesn’t have a lot of spare time at the moment, though, as she’s also starring in the first season of The Conners, ABC’s Roseanne spinoff, which just debuted in October. Up next? She’s jonesing for a role with a stellar female cast, like one of her favorites, HBO’s Big Little Lies (“I really look up to Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley”). But she’d also love to do a movie soon. “I tend to get bored easily, so I’m always looking for something new and exciting.”