an-evening-with-jennette-mccurdy-hosted-by-emily-mcglynn-2022

An Evening With Jennette McCurdy: Hosted By Emily McGlynn

Story posted November 11, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Kaitlyn Murphy.

On Thursday, Nov. 10 a line of people stretching from the Schwab Auditorium leading all the way down to the brink of College Avenue buzzed with anticipation.

Multiple passersby stopped to ask, “What’s going on here?”

The answer – author, former actress, and member of the 2022 Time 100 Next List–Jennette McCurdy, was speaking to Penn State students.

McCurdy rose to fame for portraying Sam Puckett in the hit Nickelodeon show “iCarly,” and the spin-off series “Sam and Cat.” She recently opened up about the harsh realities of being a child star, and the abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother because of it.

The Student Programming Association organized a conversation and Q&A with the bestselling author free for students through Org Central. Hundreds RSVP’d for the event, and many were waitlisted due to the high demand.

A perk of lining up early at Schwab was that the first hundred people waiting received a voucher for a free signed copy of McCurdy’s memoir, “I’m Glad My Mom Died.” The book held the number one spot on New York Times’ bestsellers list for an astounding eight consecutive weeks.

The evening with McCurdy got off to a slightly late start, with doors opening around 7:00 instead of 6:30, and the actual conversation kicking off at 7:40.

Cheers erupted from the packed Schwab Auditorium audience as McCurdy took the stage, accompanied by the moderator of the event, CommRadio’s own Emily McGlynn.

McCurdy sat down and commented on how nice the auditorium was, joking “sometimes they’re not this nice,” which right off the bat garnered laughs from the crowd.

For the first part of the conversation, McCurdy read a selection from “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” where she revisited the painful “maintenance trips” her mother would put her through to “enhance her natural beauty” with eyebrow tinter and teeth whitening strips.

Hearing McCurdy read this excerpt of her novel set the tone for the evening, letting everyone know she was there to be open and honest about her experiences, while also offering further insight into her writing process.

“I really wanted to explore the more difficult subject matter with humor,” she said, “My life has never been just one way, it’s never been just ‘drama’ or just ‘comedy,’ it’s usually both things happening in the same room at the same time.”

McCurdy also added that having struggled with an eating disorder for 12 years, she understood sensitive topics had to be handled with care and couldn’t be projected as “Ha ha, anorexia.”

An extremely profound moment of the conversation came when McCurdy shared one of her first experiences in therapy after her mother died.

“I went to a therapist and [was] sharing anecdotes of my experience with my mom,” McCurdy said. “She goes ‘You know what you’re describing is abuse?’ so I quit therapy.”

McCurdy said at the time, she wasn’t ready to handle the idea that her mom was abusive. She returned to therapy a year and a half later and felt the timing and space were much better for processing her emotions.

The importance of mental health, especially in youth, was another talking point for McCurdy who said it’s “heartening” to see a bigger emphasis on it now than when she was growing up.

After the moderated portion of the evening was over, the floor opened up to audience members with questions for the author.

Some asked for her advice on getting started in the writing industry or how to deal with writer’s block, and one member asked for her favorite hobbies. McCurdy laughed and surprisingly revealed her love for Disney vlogs, which got a number of cheers and whoops of agreement from the audience.

During the audience Q&A, it was also revealed that McCurdy is a big “White Lotus” fan, and takes inspiration from Ted Talks when she reaches periods of stress or frustration while writing.

Unfortunately, not everyone could ask their questions due to the time limit, but McCurdy kindly waved and expressed her love for everyone who came out to see her.

Aside from the late start, the evening with Jennette McCurdy ran smoothly thanks to the hard work of SPA organizers.

McCurdy was an incredibly intelligent speaker whose honest words connected with every person in the auditorium, and left anyone who hadn’t previously read her book running to get a copy.

Kaitlyn Murphy is a first-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email kvm6255@psu.edu.