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Interview: Jennette McCurdy talks BETWEEN

Leaving your home as a young adult for the first time is tricky enough, let alone venturing from Los Angeles to Toronto to work in a strange city with new people for some four months while breaking free of what you’ve done before.

That was the task before Jennette McCurdy, the 22-year-old actress who rose to fame with teen shows iCarly and Sam & Cat. Her latest endeavor saw her leave the comforts of home for the first time and embark on something more mature and substantially different.

“I was sort of scared actually; I knew that I’d be on my own for a few months, knew everyone else on the cast was from the Toronto and they would know or be familiar with each other. I’d be an outsider,” explained McCurdy during a recent return to Canada. She came here to film Between, a young adult survivalist drama series that follows a small town quarantined after a disease suddenly and violently kills all the adults in the bucolic hamlet. Production took place in Toronto last fall, and McCurdy endured wintry weather and the trials of leaving home.

“For the first few weeks, I would be pretty lonely. I’d go to Whole Foods and wander the aisles for excessive hours, and grind my own peanut butter and hope that would fulfill me. “It didn’t,” said McCurdy, laughing.”I’d trudge back to the hotel in the freezing rain and go to work the next day. It was fun, though, I learned a lot about myself with that much time alone, then got to know the cast and became a part of the group.”

It seems a situation with which may can relate. McCurdy is maturing seeking both professional and personal growth. Often the two blend together.

“This experience reminded that it’s important to continuously be working on yourself, figuring yourself out and bring some of your journey and story to you character. If you’re so fixated on becoming a character, but you don’t even have yourself figured out, it’s going to be a big mess.”

“I guess I had been internalizing a lot of emotions, and personal process on the back burner,” McCurdy admitted.

Her character is Wiley, and when the outbreak occurs, she is a high school senior and about nine months pregnant. She is planning on giving up her baby, while her best friend Adam (Jesse Carere) is ready to move away for school the following year. “The experiences she was going through, for whatever reason, allowed me to tap back into my own emotions and feel things. I let myself feel things. It was like bizarre, maybe it being alone, being thrown out of my element.”

While nervous, McCurdy was more than eager to do something new, seeking a project that looks to be more mature, just as her fans are maturing too.

“I’d been doing the same thing for a while, playing the same character for eight years,” she said. “I felt kind of stuck in a rut. I wanted to do something I was excited about.” McCurdy admitted that she was hesitant about those closest to her watching the show. She goes through a range of emotions that some who has seen her on TV might not be familiar with, an those who know her will watch as different versions of McCurdy come to the fold.

As for her fans, the social media star is excited to share something more mature with those who are growing up as well.

“Anyone who is still a fan at this point, thank you, lord knows why,” said McCurdy, laughing still. “Everyone who watched iCarly or Sam & Cat, they are now older, and ready for more mature content. They’re not going to be excited at a smoothie exploding anymore.” Point taken, but that does sound kind of funny.

Between debuted Thursday, May 21st at 8 p.m. on City in Canada and Netflix in the rest of the world

Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.