The “iCarly” star discussed her departure from acting on recent episode of her podcast “Empty Inside” which featured actress Anna Faris as a guest.
When Faris asked McCurdy if she ever viewed acting as a “refuge,” McCurdy revealed that she made the decision to quit a few years ago.
“I quit a few years ago to try my hand at writing and directing—it’s going great,” she said with a 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. It was very much the pressure of 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 because I don’t think I would have been as ambitious if I didn’t know that it was for my family. I had to f–king do good and hit my mark and nail my thing.”
McCurdy said acting was “always, always, always difficult” due to the anxiety that came with it.
“Going into auditions…I’d get so stressed out my heart would just pound, I’d get so clammy, really it was kind of a battle of nerves. 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 said.
McCurdy questioned Faris about her own entrance into acting, and the former “Mom” star explained that her interest began at an early age when her mother enrolled her in “imagination” classes. From there, Faris took up acting in community theater.
“I loved acting, but it wasn’t quite that clear in any way. I don’t remember saying ‘This is what I want to do,'” Faris explained.
The “House Bunny” actress furthered that acting became “my identity outside of school,” and considered herself fortunate that she was able to decide on her own to quit college. “By that point, my parents had been out of my career for quite a long time. I can’t imagine though, that must have been really difficult,” she said of McCurdy’s personal experience. “That’s a whole different journey than I was on.”
Ultimately, McCurdy said she believes acting during her transformative years stunted her ability to develop her own emotions at the time.
“For me, I kind of had my own emotions on the back burner as a kid. I think it was really detrimental to my own emotional wellbeing because this character’s emotions was the priority. Also I was always playing the sad, crying thing,” she said.
McCurdy noted that she resents her past acting career because she’s not particularly proud of the roles she played.
“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, weren’t 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.”
McCurdy also touched on judgement she received at a young age. One thing that still sticks with her today is overhearing a past agent describe her image as “homely.”
“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 former actress said. “And I was like, OK, guess I read homely.”
McCurdy is known for playing the role of Sam Puckett on “iCarly” for six seasons. She went on to reprise the role on “Sam & Cat” alongside Ariana Grande. Her departure from acting may upset Nickelodeon fans, who according to E! News, have been holding out for her return in the upcoming reboot of “iCarly.”