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Miranda Cosgrove reflects on finding her voice after being a child star

The actor talks to TODAY.com about the pressures of Hollywood and working with Brooke Shields on “Mother of the Bride.”
Los Angeles Special Screening Of Netflix's "Mother Of The Bride"
Miranda Cosgrove attends the screening of "Mother Of The Bride" at The Bay Theater on May 8, 2024, in Pacific Palisades, California.Frazer Harrison / WireImage
/ Source: TODAY

Miranda Cosgrove says spending her childhood creating content for the silver screen has helped her find her voice.

With roles in “School of Rock,” “Drake & Josh” and leading her own show, “iCarly,” from 2007 to 2012, the Nickelodeon star became the highest-paid child female actor of 2012 at the age of 16.

Now, at age 31, Cosgrove has a “lot more of a say” when it comes to choosing her roles, who she works with and trusts, she tells TODAY.com while doing press for her latest film, the Netflix romantic comedy “Mother of the Bride.”

The film sees Cosgrove’s character Emma surprise her mom, Lana (Brooke Shields), with news that she’s engaged and will be getting married in a month at a resort in Phuket, Thailand. An even more shocked Lana then discovers that the father of Emma's fiancé is her old college sweetheart who broke her heart.

Miranda Cosgrove
Cosgrove as Emma and Shields as Lana in "Mother of the Bride." Netflix

Filming in Thailand, meeting new people and working with director Mark Waters, Cosgrove says “was really unforgettable.” She adds, “Getting to work with Mark Waters, because ‘Mean Girls’ is one of my favorite movies, and Brooke was amazing, everybody in the cast, it was just such a fun experience.”

The film explores doing what you want to do verses what others tell you to do. Emma has been working for Discovery Resorts and receives a six-figure sponsorship to promote the resort. When the company finds out she’s engaged to boyfriend RJ (Sean Teale), they offer to pay for her wedding in exchange for publicity. However, as various other sponsorship opportunities arise and Emma is forced to say yes to them, she loses power over her special day.

The pressure of doing what the resort brand manager tells her to do for her wedding can be likened to the pressures a young child star has early in their career.

“I’ve been acting since I was pretty little — and it’s already a challenge of growing up, finding your voice and figuring out where you fit in and how to do that — I would say just growing up in the entertainment business, and also going through that at the same time, it’s even more pressure,” Cosgrove says. “So now that I’m an adult, I feel like I learned a lot from growing up in this business.”

An example the actor brings up is the 2021 “iCarly” revival. The show returned almost 10 years after it ended and followed an adult Carly Shay navigating everyday problems. It was canceled after three seasons and ended on a major cliffhanger with Carly and her brother Spencer’s absent mother returned.

i CARLY  Nickelodeon TV series with Jennette McCurdy at left and Miranda Cosgrove in 2007
Co-stars Jennette McCurdy and Cosgrove in 2007.Alamy Stock Photo

“Getting to be an executive producer on the revival for the show was so nice because it was so different than just being a kid on a show and doing whatever the directors tell you to do, or whatever’s written,” Cosgrove says. “I had a lot more of a say now. And I think that really helped (in) finding my voice and really figuring out who I am.”

While filming “Mother of the Bride,” she also connected with Shields, who was also a child star. Shields began modeling when she was a baby and was 11 years old when she landed her breakout and controversial leading role in Louis Malle’s film “Pretty Baby.”

“It was just so easy to feel like I had known Brooke forever because when you first meet her, she’s just such a warm, kind person,” Cosgrove says. “And she has so many crazy, fun stories to tell. Getting to go to dinner with her and hang out with her, hear about all of her experiences in her life, that was really one of the highlights of getting to be in the movie.”

A Nickelodeon staple, Cosgrove herself has maintained a relatively normal, scandal-free career and life, though she had a traumatic stalking incident in 2016.

But amid the shocking revelations from some of her former Nickelodeon colleagues and co-stars like Drake Bell in the docuseries “Quiet on Set,” Cosgrove told Bustle in a new interview that she likes her “little bubble and my life.”

“It hasn’t been too crazy for me being in the entertainment business since I was little, because I haven’t had any crazy scandals,” the actor, who has yet to comment on the docuseries, told the outlet. “I’m sure that would be really hard to handle, especially as a kid, having people say bad things about you or judge decisions you made. That probably would’ve made it harder for me to stay sane.”

Nickelodeon Presents "Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh!" - After Party
Nickelodeon stars Josh Peck, Cosgrove, and Drake Bell at a party in Westwood, California, on Dec. 2, 2008.Charley Gallay / WireImage

In the meantime, Cosgrove is enjoying choosing projects that bring her new and fun experiences. As for potentially doing a “Mother of the Bride” sequel after the (*spoiler) second engagement?

“That would be so amazing to do another destination wedding somewhere,” she tells TODAY.com with a giggle.