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Jennette, who now hosts the podcast Empty Inside, played Sam Puckett for six seasons on the Nickelodeon show that signed off in 2012, and she later reprised the role on Sam & Cat opposite Ariana Grande. During her recent podcast interview with Anna Faris, Jennette confirmed she considers herself done with acting, and revealed she is not particularly proud of her previous shows.
"I quit a few years ago to try my hand and writing and directing—it's going great," she said with a self-deprecating laugh. "I quit a few years ago because I initially didn't want to do it. My mom put me in it when I was 6 and by sort of age, I guess, 10 or 11, I was the main financial support for my family. My family didn't have a lot of money, and this was the way out, which I actually think was helpful in driving me to some degree of success."
Jennette, 28, explained that "always, always, always, acting was difficult for me," as she had a tough time dealing with nerves during auditions.
"Once I started to get the nerves under control was when I started to actually get some traction, but I ultimately quit after my mom passed away because with her death kind of died a lot of her ideas for my life, and that was its own journey, and a difficult one for sure," she shared.
Anna asked if she would ever return to acting, and indeed, many fans hoped Jennette would reunite with Miranda Cosgrove and other iCarly cast members on the upcoming revival. Jennette responded that she returned as a thespian for her one-woman show I'm Glad My Mom Died, which debuted in Los Angeles in February 2020 and explored her mom's 2013 death from cancer, but that she considers it a one-off.
"I wrote this one-woman show, and I performed that, and I really did not want to because of the nerves,'" she recalled. "Because of feeling like I don't want to f—king act anymore, 'I'm done.' So I did it just for that show, but I think that one-woman show would be the most of it."
Jennette later went into detail about the embarrassment she felt regarding the type of projects she landed.
"My experience with acting is, I'm so ashamed of the parts I've done in the past," she said. "I resent my career in a lot of ways. I feel so unfulfilled by the roles that I played and felt like it was the most cheesy, embarrassing. I did the shows that I was on from like 13 to 21, and by 15, I was already embarrassed. My friends at 15, they're not like, 'Oh, cool, you're on this Nickelodeon show.' It was embarrassing. And I imagine there's a very different experience to be had with acting if you're proud of your roles, and if you feel fulfilled by them."
She also recounted a painful moment from age 10 when her mom was giving Jennette's agent a hard time after the child didn't book a role in the 2005 film Because of Winn-Dixie that ended up starring AnnaSophia Robb.
"My agent, I literally hear her on speaker phone go, 'They want an ethereal beauty. Jennette is not an ethereal beauty. She is homely. She reads homely,'" the star said. "And I was like, OK, guess I read homely."
As for whether she could ever imagine returning to acting, Jennette said it may depend on getting an opportunity to collaborate with a director she "really admired." She continued, "I feel like I have a point of view, and I have a vision. We'll see where things are in a few years."