Miranda Cosgrove's Surprisingly Healthy Take on Teen Stardom

How the young actress balances her TV series, making movies, singing, doing her homework -- and, yes, staying healthy.

Medically Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on July 01, 2010
From the WebMD Archives

Although she's only 17 years old, Miranda Cosgrove already has a full-fledged career. She got her first big TV role in 2004 as the sassy little sister, Megan, on Drake & Josh. Since then, she's landed her own TV show (iCarly), had her film debut (she played Summer Hathaway in the 2003 hit movie School of Rock), and released her debut album, Sparks Fly (April, 2010). She sat down with WebMD the Magazine, to talk about how she juggles her many projects, gets her school work done (yes, even teen stars have to take the SATs!), stays healthy, and finds the time to be a teen-aged girl -- sleepovers, cupcakes, college dreams, and all.

Q: You're 17 years old, the star of the kid hit iCarly on Nickelodeon, you're in the animated movie Despicable Me which came out on July 9, and your debut album Sparks Fly came out in April. How do you do it all and still manage to get your homework done?

A: I went to a physical school until the fifth grade, and then I started doing home schooling just because it was too hard to do acting and go to school at the same time. It works out pretty well because I have tutors in all the different subjects and an on-set teacher. Usually, I have to do schoolwork on the weekends, and I go to the library a lot.

Q: You started acting when you were just 3 years old. If you hadn't become an actress, what do you think you might be doing?

A: I wanted to be a veterinarian for a while when I was little. I have a tree house in the backyard, and when I was 8 or 9 my next-door neighbor and I set up a little shelter in the tree house, except we never actually found any animals.

Q: How do you maintain a healthy diet when you have so much going on?

A: On the set, it can get a little scary because there is so much candy and cookies right in front of you. So you have to try to balance it out. But I think I am pretty lucky because I go to a lot of restaurants around the set with my mom, and they have so many different things, like Italian food and sushi.

Q: What about exercise?

A: I have a tandem bike, and my friends and I are really into it. We always say we're going to be in a tandem bike race or go professional. You have to get the hang of it, like when you turn corners, you have to move your bodies the same way.

Q: What's your favorite way to relax after a long day on set?

A: Just hanging out with my friends. I have a lot of sleepovers, and I see movies a lot. There's a little movie theater by my house, so my friends and I walk over there all the time.

Q: How much do you relate to your character on iCarly?

A: I am a lot like Carly. The writer puts in a lot of lines that are like things that I say in real life during rehearsal. iCarly freaks out a little more than I do, though -- when things go wrong, she goes really insane.

Q: What's your best health habit? Your worst?

A: My best is probably my diet. I love sushi and I love fruit. I'm always making smoothies. My worst health habit: Our craft service lady makes these killer brownies. I can't help but eat one every single time she makes those.

Q: Are the craft service brownies your only guilty pleasure food?

A: No. My friend got me this gigantic cupcake maker for my birthday. Everybody was asking me, "Isn't a giant cupcake just a cake?" It's in between cupcake size and cake size, and it's shaped like a cupcake. They give you the giant wrapper to put it in.

Q: Is there a health habit that you find yourself recommending to your friends?

A: Drinking water is definitely important. I have been trying to drink a lot more water, and my mom has been trying to get me to do that too.

Q: Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

A: Well, I want to go to college. I'm not sure which college yet, but I'm thinking it will be NYU or USC. They both have really great film departments; I was thinking that would be interesting, to be behind the camera and see how everything works. And I'm going to be taking the SATs really soon, so I'm pretty nervous about that.

Q: What makes you happy?

A: My dog. I have a toy poodle name Pearl, and she is really, really cute. She has really long fur; she's like a hippie. She weighs, like, five pounds, and she always sits in my bike basket when I go bike riding.

Q: What music do you listen to while you ride your tandem bike?

A: I have a bike radio. I like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. I love Katy Perry; I think she is awesome. Gwen Stefani. Pink. And I'm really into the Go-Go's right now, too. I like the really cool girls.

Q: What is your favorite school subject right now?

A: My favorite subject is probably English. I like reading books and writing.

Q: How did you get started in acting so young?

A: It was a freak thing. I was in a restaurant, and an agent asked my mom if I wanted to join her agency and do modeling. It was just little things with other kids. Then I auditioned for [the Nickelodeon show] Drake & Josh when I was around 8. That's when I started to really get into it.

Q: You got to meet some other big names, like Steve Carrell and Julie Andrews, while filming Despicable Me.

A: It was pretty cool. I got to meet Steve Carrell a few weeks ago for the first time. We did a bunch of promos for the movie, and he was a lot of fun. It was cool to hear him do the real voice in person. And one day when I went in, Julie Andrews was coming out. She was so elegant and I was kind of nervous to meet her, but she is really, really nice.

Q: Were there any challenges to doing voice-only acting without the live action?

A: I was a little nervous because I'd never done anything like that before, without having the actors there with me. It is definitely a big difference. You have to try to put a lot of expression in the motions. It was fun getting to learn how the things work. They actually film you when you are doing the voiceover. Then they use your hand movements and your different expressions in the character. The first few days I didn't know that they were filming me. I was kind of embarrassed when I found out because I went in my pajamas.

Q: Do you have any advice for other teens who want to be actors?

A: When I was really little I was kind of shy, so I used to be in school plays just to get a chance to get out there and do something in front of an audience. It was a challenge. So maybe you can get involved in a play at your school or even get into an acting class.