Miranda Cosgrove's Transformation Is Turning Heads

If you grew up watching Nickelodeon, chances are you've heard of Miranda Cosgrove. She started off playing the devious little sister on Drake & Josh, and before she knew it, she was starring in her very own series called iCarly. "I think I'm lucky. I started the show when I was 13," she told Deseret News, and Cosgrove quickly became one of the highest-paid kid actors of all time, according to Guinness World Records.

However, when it was time to move on from the sitcom in 2012, Cosgrove went in a completely new direction with her life. She worked on some more mature stuff and even took time off to go to college. However, she's always come back to her comedy roots — and that includes iCarly.

Returning to the role in 2021, Cosgrove's fans are ready for it. "They've grown up with me," she said, and the show's storyline will show it. Now that she's older, "hopefully they'll want to watch the same movies I'll want to do and the same music I'll want to make," she mused. Her fans clearly do, but it seems that the star is gaining some new fans, too. Ever since Cosgrove has been back in the spotlight, her transformation has turned heads.

Miranda Cosgrove was discovered when she was three

Miranda Cosgrove never imagined she would ever live a life in the spotlight. Instead, she was simply enjoying an appetizing fair with her family in 1996 when the thought first crossed her mind. "An agent came up to me at a food festival," she explained the late Larry King on Larry King Now. "When I was three." The soon-to-be young star apparently had something this agent was looking for, and her parents thought it might be a great opportunity for her future in more ways than one. "My parents thought I'd get a few commercials and we'd put it in a college fund," she admitted to USA Today.

Almost immediately, Cosgrove began attending auditions and began booking even more commercials than she could imagine. It was then that the acting bug bit her. "When I was seven I really realized that I loved doing it," she explained to The Star Scoop. "And that's when I started trying out for more theatrical things and actually roles and plays and stuff like that." Little did she know at the time, movie roles would come easily to her, too.

Miranda Cosgrove's career changing role was in School of Rock

While Miranda Cosgrove was busy starring in commercials, she was taking singing lessons on the side, too. Funny enough, they didn't help her out at all when she booked her very first big on-screen gig. In 2003, Cosgrove landed a major role in a musical movie alongside Jack Black called School of Rock. In it, she plays the perfectionist Summer, one of the students in Mr. S's class, who loves to sing. However, her character's actually not so good at it. To prepare for the film, "I got to take a bad singing lesson," Cosgrove explained to 22 Vision. "Basically, I just went over the song I sang in the movie badly."

Though her character's vocal chops weren't great, the comedy skyrocketed Cosgrove into stardom. Working on her very first film "really made me love acting," she told HelloGiggles, and it wouldn't be the last time she starred alongside Black.

Miranda Cosgrove landed an ongoing gig on Nickelodeon

Only one year after starring in School of Rock, Miranda Cosgrove got herself an ongoing gig on another comedy. She was only 8 years old, and Nickelodeon knew she would make the perfect younger sister on Drake & Josh, which Cosgrove was ecstatic about. "I knew [of] Drake and Josh. They were characters on another show," she explained on Larry King Now. "I watched Nickelodeon before that. I was really excited to audition for the part!"

Of course, Cosgrove booked the role of their mischievous younger sister, Megan, in 2007. While she was already a movie star coming off of School of Rock, she was still unsure of herself when it came to appearing on the iconic children's network. "I was really nervous about meeting Drake and Josh just from seeing them on The Amanda Show," she admitted to The Star Scoop. "I was, like, so nervous about acting with them."

Though her character wasn't so loveable by her brothers, Cosgrove sure was. She starred alongside them for the entire four-season series, and the network fell in love with her too.

She skyrocketed into stardom after starring in her own show

The same year that Drake & Josh ended, Miranda Cosgrove already had her next gig lined up on-screen. "When I was 13, the creator of that show came up with the idea for iCarly," she explained to Larry King Now, and she was given the starring role of Carly Shay in the Nickelodeon series.

Even though the network loved her, Cosgrove admits she was still nervous about finally having the lead role in a television show. However, the people she was able to surround herself with were ones she was already very comfortable around. "I knew the crew from Drake & Josh, because we had the same one," she told CosmoGirl. Cosgrove even had some familiar co-stars, too, with guests like Drake Bell and Jack Black. She even caught the attention of other big names. Michelle Obama made her debut on the series during season four.

By the time the final season of iCarly rolled around, Cosgrove was making a killing for her role. "In a study of earnings made by child TV stars published in May 2010," the young star was the highest-paid child actress, earning around $180,000 for each episode of iCarly, according to Guinness World Records. She was only 16 years old, and yet, the hefty salary never got to her head. "I didn't really think about it that much," she admitted to USA Today. "I was so busy doing the show."

Miranda Cosgrove made her way into the music scene

As if Miranda Cosgrove wasn't successful enough at this point, she decided to dip her toes into the music scene. Luckily, her sitcom needed a theme song, and in the words of the iCarly star, just "leave it all to me." Cosgrove recorded her own for the series. If you listen carefully, you can even hear someone close to her singing, too — her co-star Drake Bell from Drake & Josh.

After her debut single, many more musical tunes came, too. Cosgrove released her first album called Sparks Fly in 2010, which became #8 on the Billboard 200 Chart. Soon after, she even began touring the country with another young musician, Greyson Chance. "It's really a fun time in my life where I have a lot of doors open," she told Deseret News.

Performing in front of a live audience was a completely new experience for Cosgrove, but one that made her realize how successful she really was. "You actually get to meet people who watch the show," she explained on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, adding, "It's really eye-opening. I didn't realize how many people know about it." For the next few years, Cosgrove's voice served her well in more ways than one.

Miranda Cosgrove began a voiceover career

Miranda Cosgrove had another major opportunity offered to her once casting directors had heard her voice. She was going to lend it to an animated character named Margo in the successful franchise Despicable Me. "When I first did the first Despicable Me, I was 13 or 14," she explained to Larry King Now. "And I just remember seeing, like, the first drawings of the minions, and I thought, like, 'People are going to probably really like these guys,'" but she also enjoyed creating her own character.

The whole process was another new experience for Cosgrove. She performed all her lines alone in a small sound booth, and cameras even captured her expressions so that her character ended up looking a lot like her. However, seeing an animated version of herself up on the big screen still wasn't her favorite part of the process. "I really like to be able to go in my pajamas," she laughed. Because she didn't have to worry about how she looked on set, it was a lot less stressful for her, too. "I feel like it was really freeing," Cosgrove admitted.

Next on her long list of successful endeavors was still something completely different.

She hit pause on her career to go to college

In 2012, Miranda Cosgrove seemed to be at the height of her career after coming off of iCarly — but this young star had something very special in mind that she wanted to do next. After spending her entire life in show business, Cosgrove had her heart set on going to college. "I always really liked school," she said on Larry King Now, so it only made sense.

Since her life as a television star forced her to be homeschooled, Cosgrove was looking forward to finally being able to meet other people her age — and to be in an actual classroom. Because of that, she decided to take a break from show business in order to earn a higher education. However, movies weren't too far from her mind. "I definitely want to act," she explained to USA Today. "That's why I want to major in film."

As a student at the University of Southern California, Cosgrove learned about a lot more than just film history. She ended up changing her major three different times before figuring out what was best for her. Eventually, she ended up majoring in psychology (via Seventeen). "College really does help you grow up and figure out who you are," she told ABC News.

Miranda Cosgrove quickly came back to acting

While Miranda Cosgrove was still working on the Despicable Me franchise, she was busy being a student. Luckily, lending her voice to the series was easy. "I can just go in on the weekends," she explained on Live with Kelly and Ryan. Though she was busy hitting the books, Cosgrove still seemed to miss her successful acting career.

In 2014, there was one project in particular that caught her eye, and it was completely different than anything she had done before. It was a horror film called The Intruders. That year, she took an entire semester off from school so she would be able to shoot it. "My mom and I have watched scary movies ever since I was little. I watched The Exorcist, and I remember I couldn't sleep," she explained to Teen Vogue. "So I thought it was fun to be a part of something like that." Though the content was far out of her comfort zone, it seemed to come full circle. She got to star alongside one of her guest stars from iCarly — Austin Butler. 

A year later, Cosgrove returned to television to star in the series Crowded. "I was really excited to get to be on a comedy again, because I've mostly done multi-cam shows that are comedies," she told AOL's BUILD Series. "And this one was a lot more mature than other ones that I've done, so I was super excited to get to do something new."

Miranda Cosgrove started starring as herself

Miranda Cosgrove took on a completely new type of television role in 2019. She began to star as herself in a new series called Mission Unstoppable with Miranda Cosgrove. "This has been a really fun and exciting experience for me because it's my first time executive producing and hosting a show," she explained to J-14

The series centers around topics in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. From talking to inspiring women who are now scientists to conducting all kinds of awesome experiments — that Cosgrove could never do because she was homeschooled — this young star hopes that the show will inspire everyone who watches. "For so many years, I was on a kid's television show and on a kid's television network," she told Seventeen. "I think it really excited me to be doing something so positive for young girls."

Though acting is more up her alley than hosting, her experience on Nickelodeon is what she credits her success to. "It's kind of funny 'cause when I was on the show iCarly, we pretended to be hosts basically, so it's sort of funny now that I am hosting something," Cosgrove said — and she was about to do a lot more hosting on another show, too.

Miranda Cosgrove is coming back as Carly Shay

In 2020, fans of Miranda Cosgrove received some major news. She's coming back as Carly Shay, courtesy of streaming service Paramount+. "My biggest hope for the revival is that it brings the people who watched the original series a lot of joy," she told J-14. "The new show is mainly being made with all the original fans in mind," which has all of Cosgrove's fans barely able to contain themselves.

Along with her original co-stars Jerry Trainor and Nathan Kress, the series will be playing at the heartstrings of its original fans — but it won't completely look like the kid's show you remember. Since so many of us have grown up along with Cosgrove, "this version of the show will be more mature and follow our lives now," she explained.

Cosgrove's acting career has truly come full circle. "iCarly was a huge part of my childhood and I have so many memories from my time making the show," she gushed, clearly excited to make many more memories.

She wants to be involved in comedy behind the camera

Sitcoms seem to be Miranda Cosgrove's sweet spot, but she'd love to make people laugh on the big screen. "I love Bridesmaids," she told PopSugar. "I love comedies, so if I could do anything, I'd want to do something like that."

Though comedy is a familiar world to Cosgrove, there's still something completely new — as usual — that she would love to do with it. "I definitely would love to write," she told BUILD Series. Just like some of her favorite actors in the business — Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig, and Amy Schumer — Cosgrove would love to join their ranks by coming up with her own stuff. She's grown up on screen, so it only makes sense.

Just like with the iCarly revival, Cosgrove hopes her fans will follow her for the rest of her ride in the entertainment industry — even if it includes a few more adult jokes. "It's hard when you're trying to do something different but not lose the people who know you," she told USA Today. "I wouldn't want to rush and do something that wasn't right." We, however, have no doubt that she will excel at whatever she chooses to do next. After all, is there anything new that Cosgrove can't do?