Gibby grows up: iCarly star Noah Munck reveals the latest (but keeps his shirt on)

Former iCarly star Noah Munck has grown – both in his appearance and his career – since the conclusion of the show that made him famous, Nickelodeon's iCarly.

Former iCarly star Noah Munck has grown – both in his appearance and his career – since the conclusion of the show that made him famous, Nickelodeon’s iCarly.

By Emma Murphy   

If you were to walk into Tween Stars Live, you might recognize a lot of faces. People you’ve seen on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel, like Calum Worthy and Peyton List, would be there for you to meet and have fun with. If you’re a fan of Nickelodeon’s iCarly, you might expect participant Noah Munck to act like his odd, sometimes shirtless, but still very lovable character, Gibby, but you would be pleasantly surprised to learn that he’s different in real life.

Noah, who first appeared on iCarly when he was only 11 and became a starring cast member at 14, is best known for his role of Gibby Gibson. Starting out as a friend to main character Carly Shay and a guest star on her web show, Gibby’s eccentric behavior won over the hearts of the audience and made him a recurring character.

Since the show’s conclusion, Noah has grown up a lot. Now 18 years old, he currently attends Biola University, where he is studying screenwriting. He also continues to pursue acting and, though he couldn’t tell me much about his upcoming roles, he believes people are really going to like them. He has also started making music and has released an EP, “Road Warrior.”

In advance of his appearance at Tween Stars Live on Nov. 8-9 in Detroit, Noah spoke with me about the latest in his career. Here’s an edited version of the conversation:

You get to meet your fans one-on-one at Tween Stars Live. How is this different from what you normally get to do?

Noah: Usually, it will just be a line and you’ll sign autographs and that’s it. Here, there’s a Q&A, and fans can come up from the audience and re-enact scenes with us from our shows and play improv games. It’s definitely more connected, more one-on-one time with us than you would get at a normal signing. It’s unique event and I’m really glad to be a part of it. It’s going to be a lot of fun for the kids.

How did you first get into acting?

Noah: My sister got me into breakdancing classes, which is really weird (laughs). She got me hooked up with that and I got into improv classes from that. Then I got an agent and it kind of just went from there — small commercials, then iCarly hit and that took me to where I am today.

How are you and your iCarly character Gibby alike and different?

Noah: I don’t take my shirt off — that’s not me. I think I have a comedic timing that I bring to him, but in a lot of ways we’re really different. Gibby’s definitely an odd guy. I think I bring an essence of me to the character, but we’re different.

Was it uncomfortable to take your shirt off in those shirtless scenes?

Noah: It was at first, but as I got older I thought about it and was like, “If I can bring other kids to be confident, then it’s so cool.” I’m not that uncomfortable with it anymore; I’m fine with it. I actually play a character named “Naked Rob” on The Goldbergs on ABC. That’s me — I play the shirtless guy. I’ve become comfortable with it. It’s comedy; it’s fun.

There’s a lot of pressure on females to look a certain way in the industry. Do you feel like men experience this pressure as well?

Noah: I would say there is a certain look standard in the industry. I just try to ignore the pressure of that. Be who you are and be proud of it. That’s been my motto for life and it’s worked out so far.

Do you have a favorite episode of iCarly?

Noah: Probably iPsycho. It’s a classic. It’s where psycho Nora captures Carly, Sam, and Freddie and Gibby has to save them. It’s just a really fun, kind of iconic moment in the show.

What is your relationship like now with your iCarly costars?

Noah: We’re all great friends. We hang out all the time; we meet up as much as possible because we want to keep that friendship going. We’re super connected. It feels like a brother and sister relationship in a lot of ways.

Have you found it difficult to break free from your role of Gibby?

Noah: I have not, actually, not as much. It’s becoming easier as I get older to break free from that and branch out and do other roles. I have a lot of stuff in the works right now, like movies, that are way different from the Gibby character. I would love to expand my roster of things I’ve done, like drama and stuff like that.

Do you think people meeting you expect you to act a certain way because of Gibby?

Noah: Yeah for sure. I think people definitely expect me to act like my character and I’m different I would say. People are surprised, not in a bad way, but I’m definitely different than I would be on the show.

Do you feel like you’ve changed since starring on iCarly?

Noah: Yeah, I have. I feel like I’ve grown up. I was 15, and I’m 18 now. I’m an older person and I’ve matured a lot since the show. But I still have that same “me” in me.

Is there anything about iCarly you think people would be surprised to know?

Noah: Jerry Trainor (Spencer) is basically just a kid in real life, but that’s probably already portrayed on camera (laughs). I think we were very open in interviews with our set. We were really just like a family. That’s how it was and we were very open about it. It was just a good old time.

Do you get recognized a lot when you go out in public?

Noah: I did actually when I was younger. When I was 13,14, and 15, I did a lot. Now when I go out, I have a beard and I’m older, so I don’t get recognized as much; it happened more when I was younger.

What are the biggest misconceptions you think people have about your life?

Noah: People think that actors are different but we’re just normal people. We do things like everybody else.

What is something people don’t know about the acting business until they get into it?

Noah: I would say that it’s not all the glamour, the way it’s portrayed. It’s definitely a lot of hard work, a lot of persistence, a lot of no’s in the room at auditions. You just have to keep pushing. People think it’s going to be easy, but it’s not. You just have to keep going.

What have you learned about handling the spotlight that comes with this job?

Noah: I’ve learned that you just have to surround yourself with grounded family and friends and it will take you far. You have to keep yourself surrounded with real people and it really just helps out in the long run.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue acting as a career?

Noah: Just be yourself. I know it’s very cliche, but I would say when you go into a room just be yourself. Don’t bring this nervous energy in with you when you go in for an audition. Just talk to the casting director and be like, ‘What’s up?’ Have a normal conversation with the person and do your best to do what they ask.

Has there ever been a time when you wanted to give up?

Noah: I think there’s a time in every actor’s career when they’re like, ‘The stress is too hard. This is too hard.’ But it’s just all about carrying through. There will be a role for you out there. Work hard and you’ll achieve your dreams.

Did you ever have to deal with bullying as a kid?

Noah: Yeah, in middle school I had to deal with a lot of that. When I was 13, I was just starting iCarly and kids started kind of alienating me. I just kept my head up through that. Bullying is an issue that I’m definitely really against; it’s wrong.

What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with bullies?

Noah: I would say keep your head up and you need to tell someone about it. Don’t hide that. It’ll help you to just tell somebody and also confront them and talk real about it- that’s what I did. It made people look at me differently.

I thought it was really interesting that you are a musician. Can you tell us about that?

Noah: Yeah, a lot of people don’t really expect that. I started making music about two years ago. I was really into Skrillex and I thought it was pretty sick, so I wanted to do it. It took me about two years of training myself in music software. Now I’ve been making tracks and playing shows here and there. That’s pretty fun.

How do acting and making music compare?

Noah: They’re completely different. Music is just you and your computer. Acting is something that everybody sees; you do it in front of a crew. A lot more people are involved with making TV than there are with making music. It’s just two completely different worlds. Music is just you and what you can produce and create. Acting is a joint team effort.

What are your goals for the future?

Noah: My goals for the future are definitely to win an Oscar, live in a mansion… Just kidding! I want to play a role that people are going to love in the future and I have stuff in the works that I think people are going to like. I also want to make more albums, continue to make stuff in the music world.

For more information on Tween Stars Live, visit http://www.tweenstarslive.com.

Emma Murphy is part of our program at Mount St. Mary Academy in Buffalo.

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