As a kid growing up… watching the unspoken life of a child star

SMILE FOR THE CAMERA! This was something that McCurdy was forced to do all of her childhood. Now that she has evolved, this child star has taken the opportunity to present what was really happening behind the camera.

SMILE FOR THE CAMERA! This was something that McCurdy was forced to do all of her childhood. Now that she has evolved, this child star has taken the opportunity to present what was really happening behind the camera.

Maureen Gambogi, Staff Writer

What’s on the screen isn’t as always as it seems. Jenette McCurdy had seemed to be a happy kid, but it wasn’t until she released her memoir “I’m Glad My Mom Died” that she reflected on the reality of her childhood. As she looked back on her childhood, I looked back at mine with a different perspective now that I know the truth about the life behind the scenes.

On the Nickelodeon show, iCarly, McCurdy played the best friend role as Sam Puckett at the age of fifteen and glued the show together with her comedy. I grew up with the show and remember watching it with my sister and sharing lots of laughs. It was hard for me to come to terms with what really went on behind the camera and differentiate between a character and an actress. Yet, there is a huge difference, especially between the character, Sam, and the actress, McCurdy. A lot has changed since the show aired in 2007 and ended in 2012. Once the viewers of the show matured, it was McCurdy’s chance to speak the truth.

McCurdy was forced into the roles she played by her mother. This child star was put into acting at six and was pressured into pursuing it in order to provide for her unstable family. Acting was something that her mom, Debra McCurdy, always wanted to succeed in. Because she couldn’t, her daughter was her only hope. Her mom encouraged Jenette McCurdy into having anorexia so that she could continue acting and live out the ideal life her mom was unable to have. 

When I first watched the show, none of these major problems ever came to my mind. No one really noticed. It’s a weird feeling knowing that all of these problems were happening years ago and I just never found out until now. It makes me wonder that if I knew this was happening, would I have thought differently and grown up with a different view of the show and her character? Would it still have been one of my favorite shows? Would Sam still be my favorite character?

Problem after problem, McCurdy’s uphill climb seemed never ending. When McCurdy was twenty-one, she became a part of a spin-off series, Sam and Cat. While the show was airing, her mom died of cancer. McCurdy always neglected the abuse of her mother and when she died she felt lost without her, leading her to have bulimia and face an even worse condition. 

“I was never aiming for bulimia. I was attempting to have anorexia but I couldn’t keep it up without my mom so then that would lead to starving myself for so long and then I’d binge and then I’d purge because I hated the feeling of fullness. I hated it,” McCurdy opened up on ABC News. 

I am now seventeen, the age that McCurdy was going through all of this trauma. Learning about McCurdy’s past made me realize that everyone has a different background and grows up in different ways. These types of problems aren’t just happening on the screen, it is happening all around us. It’s not until an individual speaks up about their history when their truth is shared and has an effect on people. Knowing that the person sitting right next to me in class could be going through a similar situation as McCurdy is the main purpose of why her heartbreaking memoir is so touching and effective.

Letting go of her acting career after her mom died was the step McCurdy had to take in order to start realizing the reality of her previous years. It released her from the trauma of her mother and allowed her to focus on herself. McCurdy is currently thirty years old, fully healed, and writing her way to a brighter future.

I am really proud of McCurdy and her ability to overcome this traumatic experience. It shows the type of person she really is and the part of her we can’t always see. Using her voice let people get to know her, not just as the funny sidekick, but for what she has overcome to gain her independence and happiness.

“I just wish I could have shown my twenty-year-old self me now. I would have known what I was aiming for. I would have had something to hope for, something to be encouraged about. I didn’t have that”…“Look at me now, baby!” McCurdy concluded with a smile on her face on ABC News.