Jennette McCurdy on the insane swarms of fame

Jennette McCurdy (Sam) with co-star Nathan Kress (Freddie) on the iCarly episode "iOpen a Restaurant." (Photo by Lisa Rose/Nickelodeon. ©2012 Viacom International Inc.)

Jennette McCurdy (Sam) with co-star Nathan Kress (Freddie) on the iCarly episode “iOpen a Restaurant.”
(Photo by Lisa Rose/Nickelodeon. ©2012 Viacom International Inc.)

If you become famous, the attention you get will be mind-blowing … You’ll think to yourself, Wow, are people really getting this excited over ME?

It’s at those moments, in the midst of the craziness, that you’ll want to soak it all in, smile and enjoy it – even if the attention is a little overwhelming.

Jennette McCurdy, who became famous playing Sam Puckett on the Nickelodeon show iCarly, once told me, “The fan response has just been insane. I never expected it to be this huge. Everywhere I go, whenever anyone is under 16, they just come in swarms.”

In fact one time, when Jennette went to Disneyland with fellow iCarly star Nathan Kress, so many swarms of people came up to them that they blocked Main Street – as a parade was coming through!

For years Jennette skated on Friday nights at a local rink. She used to be able to do it in peace. Once she got on the show, Jennette tried to skate around the rink in circles, but instead seemingly every young person in the place circled around her! The rink staff became her security, pulling fans away.

Once, when Jennette was signing autographs at the skating rink, a mother apologized because her kids were infringing on Jennette’s personal time. Another mom butted into the conversation and said, “Don’t worry about it. She gets paid for this.”

She doesn’t, of course. Jennette’s job is acting, not signing autographs. But she’s made it her business to be grateful to her fans.

One time, when Jennette was heading to her publicist’s office for a meeting, she walked past an elementary school. Some kids were playing basketball outside. A little girl who looked to be 8 years old say Jennette and yelled, “It’s Saaaaaammmm!”

Suddenly, the full group of kids crashed on the fence that separated the schoolyard from the sidewalk. Most were screaming, some were crying, a few were climbing on each other. Kids held small bits of paper for Jennette to autograph.

“It’s quite overwhelming for someone like me,” Jennette said. “I never imagined I would be in that position. I tried to sign as many of the little scraps of paper as I could because I know how I would feel if I was one that didn’t get a signature and all these other kids had one. I would feel terrible.”

Jennette’s publicist looked out her office window, saw the mob scene, and rushed outside to help keep control. She also helped Jennette leave by telling the kids she had to go. Otherwise, the autograph session could have gone on for as long as kids were in the schoolyard.

“I felt like I was one of the Beatles or something,” Jennette said. “It was pretty cool.”

Tim O’Shei, LSY founder

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