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Now that nostalgia is officially the name of the TV game, Nickelodeon has greenlit an iCarly reboot. As a result, fans of the show can’t stop talking about how much it shaped their childhoods, which, same! But unfortunately, Jennette McCurdy—who played Sam Puckett—can’t exactly relate because she wasn’t in a great place emotionally while filming iCarly and Sam & Cat.
In a recent episode of her Empty Inside podcast, Jennette admitted the fame she garnered from being on a Nickelodeon hit show didn’t make her happy. In fact, it was quite the opposite. “I was a famous 19-year-old and making a bunch of money, and I felt like I had everything at my fingertips,” Jennette said. “But I was deeply unhappy, and I actually really resented my life because I didn’t like the projects that I was a part of.”
Despite knowing how much Sam & Cat and iCarly meant to their viewers, Jennette said she often felt a huge disconnect because being on those shows didn’t actually bring her joy. “The shows that I was on were so loved by so many people and so many kids, and I hear constantly, ‘You made my childhood,’” she said. “And I think that’s great that they had that experience. But that just was not my experience, and I felt a lot of shame—that I wasn’t able to identify at the time—because I didn’t like waltzing onto an overlit, cheesy set and shouting a line. It felt so pointless and shallow.”
Jennette also shared she felt “very different” from her character, Sam. “To be known globally for this thing that’s not really me, it was just like, What the f*ck am I doing?” she continued. “How do I even find myself when I’m 19 and I’ve been famous for all the years that I would normally be stumbling through finding myself, yet I’m known as a thing that I’m not. It just was—‘hellish,’ I think, is not too intense of a word.”
When Jennette’s mother passed away, sadly, from cancer in 2013, Jennette decided to step away from acting altogether…much to the dismay of her agents and management.
“Everybody I know is telling me I’d be crazy to leave. ‘How can you walk away from this? Are you kidding, do you have any idea how many people want you have?’” Jennette recalled. “It didn’t matter because I didn’t want it—it just wasn’t true to me. And walking away was really difficult, but it was something that I needed to do for my mental health and for my overall peace. And it was difficult. I didn’t know what to do with myself when I didn’t have things that always dictated my identity around anymore.”
Once Jennette started to branch out and explore other areas of interest, including writing, directing, and podcasting, she finally felt like she was no longer “living this lie.” Jennette added, “I’m living a life that’s in accordance with who I am, and that feels a million times better.”
Continue living your truth, Jennette!
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