Bello Magazine released their February issue and inside features an exclusive photoshoot and interview with Jennette McCurdy.
You’ve had massive amounts of success for the average twenty-one-year-old. What do you attribute it to? I think I definitely worked very hard. I felt like, for me, with acting, there was no plan B. I wanted to make people laugh, and that was it. I don’t feel comfortable doing anything else. I think we as humans have some sort of sense of home, and you have to pursue that. Home to me was acting. There simply was no other option.
What grabs you so much about comedy as opposed to drama?
Jennette: There is so much happening in life on a daily basis that can bring you down in so many ways. There’s so much to be stressed out about. It’s always like, no, not another piece of drama. But you just need to laugh; you need to just let loose. Every time I see a funny movie or a funny TV show, my mood completely changes. I was watching Parks & Recreation the other night and I realized that I was just having the best time. Just sitting down, eating potato chips. Complete cloud nine.
Nickelodeon has been really kind to you. The relationship between your costars, both past and present, and Dan Schneider very much resembles the friendship between Molly Ringwald and the late John Hughes. How’s that been with you?
Jennette: I first met Dan when I was twelve years old, and I am now twenty-one. He’s been in my life for half of it. He’s very much like a father to me, or an uncle. He takes his actors under his wing like nothing I’ve ever seen. He likes a certain work ethic, and works hard to set an example of [that]. And so, I definitely think there’s a different style to the talent that’s worked under him than others. He’s got his own creative voice and we all naturally adopt that after working with him. So his method of doing things…it clearly works. Our on- set environment is very strict. We have to know our lines; if we don’t know our lines we get a sit-down conversation. We have to be on our game, and it’s understood that we aren’t going to have such a conversation twice. We can definitely have opinions regarding line delivery and creative decisions like that. But at the end of the day, Dan gets to do whatever he wants. Of course, he’s the one with the best track record, so it makes sense.
So he definitely gives you a certain extent of freedom?
Jennette: Especially as I’ve gotten older. When I started iCarly it was more instructional, and became more collaborative around the age of seventeen. But now I feel like I do half of the blocking in an episode; I feel like the picking up of props and such can really add to the fluidity of a joke. So that is something I work on with the directors a lot. I enjoy that. When it comes to delivery, if I don’t like something, I’ll jokingly say to Dan, “I hate that, I’m not doing it that way.” So our relationship has clearly shifted. He’ll sometimes even say, “Hey, what do you think is funnier?” I feel honored when he asks me that.
Have you had a textbook Dan Schneider moment that looking back on your years working with him describes him?
Jennette: A textbook Dan moment? Let’s see, how many times has he made me cry? [laughs] I’m kidding. We were doing an iCarly run-through during the fifth season of the show. It was our fourth episode in, and we all got called into Dan’s office. We were all like, “Yeah, our ratings are so in, we’re going to get like gift bags or something, this is amazing.” So, we get into the office and sit down. At this moment we’re all just sitting back and bantering back and forth, laughing. Dan is just sitting there, stone cold case. We’re ready for him to just break into a laugh and tell us how great we are. He waits a second and then says, “Your run- through yesterday was atrocious. None of you knew your lines. It was sloppy, it was muddy. Where was your timing? Where was your chemistry? Were you thinking about the date you went on yesterday? Were you thinking of what you were going to do after work? What was going through all of your minds? Get it together because you all have senioritis.” I don’t think either of us messed up our lines one more time for the remainder of the season. Those kind of talks are the reasons why he has such successful shows. So I think there’s definitely something to take and learn from him. I don’t get hurt from those things because that’s not uncle Dan, that’s boss Dan. I admire it.
What other things are you passionate about besides writing?
Jennette: I love writing. I write all the time. I’m also passionate about live comedy. Anything from improv groups, groundlings, the UCB. I had a moment with figure skating, [laughs] I had a little stint, and then I tried ice dancing. My Ukrainian ice dancing coach coached me to the point where I was ready to have my male partner come in and rehearse with me in order to start competing. They try to match you up with a good fit. And so these guys were flying in from all over the U.S. – and some from out of the country – for tryouts. I was so uncomfortable being touched at where they have to hold you and lift you, so needless to say I backtracked and stopped [laughs].
Who do you admire professionally?
Jennette: I love Tina Fey – her career is so respectable and she’s so classy – as well as Kristen Wiig. You don’t see them in the tabloids or hear of any antics of them clubbing the night before or anything like that. They’re hilarious, super intelligent, and super well spoken. Honestly, just amazing businesswomen. You look at them and just think, power. Then I also love Lucille Ball and Gilda Radner. Also Jimmy Fallon? I love him! He’s got the most easygoing guy vibe. He’s likeable and seems like he’s just living to live; he just loves everything.
You’re twenty-one now, and have accomplished so much. What sets you apart from other child stars who have gone off into the deep end?
Jennette: Oh, I’m far off the deep end [laughs]. I think it’s strange because a lot of people that have, for lack of a better phrase, “gone off the deep end,” you know, if they’re happy taking part in the antics that they do, then by all means. But I’m twenty-one now; I don’t feel the need to walk out in the street naked or something like that to show the world that I’m twenty-one. I love working for Nickelodeon and I love making people laugh. Adults and kids come up to me all the time and tell me I’m funny. That’s my goal in my life, and so I don’t see any reason to have to shed that, and show that I’m a “grown woman.” I say, what’s the rush to grow up; you’re going to grow old, and we’re all going to die.
What’s a day in the life of Jennette?
Jennette: When I’m filming it’s very routine: Monday through Friday, I wake up in the morning and go to work. We’re off rehearsal days by 5pm and off on shoot days by 11pm. But for a fun day, I like to do fun things. A few months back, I had a few days off, and so my friend Colton [Tran] and I set out on a road trip to the Redwood forests. We didn’t have a hotel to stay at, and we just went out on an adventure: hiking, shopping. I’m kind of big on spontaneous trips. A few weeks before going to the Redwood forests, Miranda Cosgrove, who I was on with, found an old gift card in her drawer and says, “Hey, you want to go to Monarch Beach with me?” She came and picked me up; we wound up there, and then we were in Orange County, then we wound up in Disneyland because she made some wrong turns. I think there’s so much fun in spontaneity and just going with the flow. I can be very literal and very planny in my head. So it’s nice to turn that handle upside down.
You’re a homeowner now. How independent does that make you feel?
Jennette: I do feel independent. I had lived on my own for about a year and half beforehand. I lived in an apartment in Hollywood, but I had been searching for a house. I though it would be nice to have a place that I could call my own, with all the traveling that I do. When I came to my apartment I felt sometimes like I was coming back to another hotel, so I wanted to change that. But I love it. It’s been really hard to find all the furnishings and having everything set up…ten times harder than I would’ve imagined. It’s very fun decorating, but it’s quite exhausting. For example, I picked out some napkins at Z Gallerie. I have taken three separate trips to Z Gallerie to pick up these napkin rings that did not get delivered due to some casual mistake. It’s understandable, but at my expense it’s very frustrating, especially in the L.A. heat. But I finally got the napkin rings, so all is well. But I mean, three trips for napkin rings… come on, Z Gallerie. Get it together.
Check out the scans below and read her exclusive interview on Bello Magazine’s site: