Behind the bright lights of child acting



Photo of Jennette McCurdy and her memoir “I’m Glad My Mom Died.”

Frankie DiVincenzo, A&E editor

Although I have never been a Nickelodeon fan, I was deeply interested in Jennette McCurdy’s autobiography “I’m Glad My Mom Died.” Her memoir is about her years growing up in the film industry and dealing with her mother. McCurdy made it very clear from the beginning of the memoir that she had no desire to be in the film industry; it was her mother’s dream, and as any other little girl wanted was to make their mommy happy. She started acting at the age of six, and her career just went up from there. Her mother’s tight leash got tighter and tighter, and she began to teach McCurdy things such as calorie restriction, which
would lead to her a long battle with her eating disorder. Although on Nickelodeon, McCurdy looked like she was having the time of her life acting on camera, behind the cameras, she was dealing with Dan
Schneider or, as she referred to him, “the creator.” According to, “Though McCurdy didn’t name Schneider in her book, many assume that he was the man referred to as “The Creator,” whom the writer accused of giving her alcohol when she was underage and of giving unsolicited shoulder massages.” No one would stick up for McCurdy—Nickelodeon even offered her $300,000 to keep quiet about what happened with Schneider. Obviously, she turned down the money. According to, McCurdy writes, “Nickelodeon is offering me $300,000 in hush money to not talk publicly about my experience on the show? My
personal experience of The Creator’s abuse? This is a network with shows made for children. Shouldn’t they have some sort of moral compass? Shouldn’t they at least try to report to some sort of ethical standard?”
What I love about this memoir is that people get to see a different side of the film industry for child stars because I know when I was a kid, I used to think it was so fun being an actor. While I thought it was amazing, these stories put things into perspective. I admire McCurdy’s strength to overcome what she endured for several years. In one of the chapters, she talks about going through puberty on national television.
I can’t imagine doing that because everyone around the world is watching you and judging you, and you are just a kid. Her story is so sad yet so honest. It showed the parts of the film industry behind the bright
lights and red carpets. McCurdy has inspired many people from Nickelodeon to speak out about Dan Schneider. She is giving other child actors a voice. For example, Alexa Nickolas, who was on “Zoey 101,” spoke
out recently. “Nikolas has been outspoken about her time at Nickelodeon, and she recently protested in front of the network’s headquarters in Burbank, California, holding a sign that said, ‘Nickelodeon didn’t protect me,’” according to There have been many other stories about Schneider not being a nice person and doing illegal things with some child actors. I remember his name always coming up on the screen at the start of a show, and now all these horrible things are coming out about how he treated children. These actors were just kids and should get the justice they deserve. I highly recommend her book if you are interested in following this story