The precocious kid who made her movie debut in School of Rock and became a Nickelodeon star on Drake & Josh and iCarly has grown into a bona fide beauty at 22, and she’s still playing it for laughs in her new sitcom, Crowded.
The series, which sneak previews two episodes tonight (10/9c) before moving to Sundays (9:30/8:30c), follows a couple (Patrick Warburton, Carrie Preston) who reluctantly bid goodbye to their empty nest when their cash-strapped daughters (Cosgrove and Mia Serafino) and his dad and stepmom (Stacy Keach, Carlease Burke) move in.
The premise isn’t alien to Cosgrove, who plays the buttoned-up science nerd to Serafina’s flashier wannabe actress/singer character. She lives with her parents too, despite owning her own home. We explore that dynamic, growing up on camera and more in this candid chat.
“I do have my own place, but I live with my parents 99 percent of the time. I only go to my house if we get in an argument. They don’t make me pay rent, but I do the dishes. ”
How does Crowded compare to iCarly?
It’s pretty different. We didn’t have a live audience. It was just the crew. Even though it was called iCarly I do feel like it was an ensemble and that’s what made people like the show. We had such a good time. And it feels pretty cool to be part of an ensemble again and get to work with all these people. I was actually pretty nervous at first because I’d never done anything like it before. It’s not like a crazy jump to something completely different but it is a lot more edgy than iCarly and that definitely drew me to it. I love acting and I love comedy so I’m really excited to be doing both.
What else do you like about it?
A lot of my storylines are with Mia, and we had a really good time together. We’re good friends now and I think that adds a lot to the show. You can improvise and add a lot when you’re close with the person you’re acting with. Her character’s always trying to help mine out with boys and stuff, and then I try to help her be smarter.
Do you feel like you missed out on anything by starting so young in the business?
I think in a lot of ways I’m really lucky that I got to start young because so many people know who I am and it’s pretty cool to have that. But I think if I had started now I’d be seen in a completely different way and that might be easier.
Do you still live with your parents?
I do have my own place, but I live with my parents 99 percent of the time, in my childhood room, and it’s just nice to have that. I only go to my house if I get in an argument with my parents. I really love it there. So yeah, I relate!
Do you pay rent?
They don’t make me pay rent, but I do the dishes. I kind of feel like a little kid, living there.
Did you stay as involved with social media after iCarly?
Yeah. It’s funny—that was so cutting edge at the time, tying the Internet in with the show. It’s kind of crazy how far it’s come.
What are you proudest of?
School of Rock was one of the first things I did in my acting career, when I was nine, and to get to be a part of something that turned into a Broadway play is really cool.
Photo by Art Streiber/NBC