Mckenna Grace as Mrs. keyes in The handmaid's Tale
This Is Why You Totally Recognize Mrs. Keyes From 'The Handmaid's Tale'

by Ani Bundel

With the return of The Handmaid's Tale, Season 4 introduced a brand-new Commander — but more importantly, it introduced his Wife, Mrs. Keyes, who just might have an important part in the new season. If you recognize Mrs. Keyes, it's probably because you've seen 14-year-old actor Mckenna Grace in a handful of other projects. Grace may be young, but she's been playing prominent roles for over half her life, and these facts about Mckenna Grace will remind you of all the places you've seen her before.

The Handmaid's Tale centers around its titular character June (Elisabeth Moss). But the people June meets in Gilead have fascinating (and often horrific) stories all on their own. Grace's role as Mrs. Keyes, a girl forced into child marriage and then repeatedly raped, was a tough one. One minute she's an eager child, the next, a haughty woman of privilege, and then a terrified, traumatized human being — sometimes all in the span of a single scene.

Grace's performance is the stuff Emmy guest star nominations are made of. It turns out, she's been preparing for her own turn to carry award-winning work and blockbusters for years, including working with Oscar-winning and nominated actors in major tentpole films. Let's run down some of the highlights of her career so far:

She's Been The "Kid" Version Of Multiple Famous Actors

Although Mckenna Grace got her start on The Young & The Restless, her breakout roles were as the kid or teen version of multiple award-winning actors:

  • In The Vampire Diaries, she played the little kid version of Candace King's Caroline Forbes.
  • She was the young version of Jennifer Morrison's Emma Swan in Once Upon a Time.
  • In The Haunting of Hill House, she played the younger version of Katie Siegel's Theodora Crain
  • She was the kid version of Oscar nominee Margot Robbie's Tonya Harding in I, Tonya.
  • In Captain Marvel, she was the kid version of Oscar winner Brie Larson's Carol Danvers in all the flashbacks.
People Think She Looks Like Kiernan Shipka

One of the most noticeable things about Grace in her turn as a Wife in Gilead is that she looks like another teen star who co-starred in a very mature show for her age. Kiernan Shipka initially rose to fame in the 1960s-set series Mad Men, and it's a little uncanny how much Grace looks like Shipka in her formal Wife's outfit.

Or maybe it's not so uncanny. Much like her turns in the above projects, Grace has also played the younger version of Shipka. Grace was a guest star in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina holiday special back in 2018; she appeared as Young Sabrina in "A Midwinter's Tale."

She Played Rose In 'Fuller House'

The Haunting of Hill House and CAOS aren't the only times Grace has done a Netflix stint. Fans of Fuller House will also recognize her as Rose Harbenberger. She's not a direct descent of any of the original characters, but rather the daughter of C.J., the woman who D.J.'s former flame Steve is engaged to marry. (And who looks strikingly like D.J. Listen, Steve's got a type.)

Even though Steve and C.J. never tie the knot, Rose became an essential character in her own right, becoming the best friend of D.J.'s son Max and his eventual crush by the time the show ended.

She's Currently Starring In 'Young Sheldon'

Not all of Grace's roles come from playing the younger version of another actor or playing the next generation of an already-famous show's cast. Sometimes, she plays the previous generation. That's true of her role as Paige Swanson, the rival child prodigy Sheldon befriends in The Big Bang Theory's spinoff/prequel Young Sheldon.

She's Already Winning Awards
Rachel Luna/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

With so many credits under her belt, it's not surprising Grace is already taking home awards. In January 2020, the Hollywood Critics Association gave her the Next Generation Award for rising stars in Hollywood.

Her Next Big Role Is In 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife'

What fans might not know is that Grace has one of her biggest roles to date still to come. She's slated to star alongside Finn Wolfhard as his younger sister Phoebe in the new Ghostbusters remake, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which should have come out in 2020, but was delayed due to coronavirus shutdowns in Hollywood. Fans can mark their calendars for the movie's arrival in theaters on Nov. 11, 2021.