At home, she’s just like any other 15-year-old. “My room is never clean,” Miranda Cosgrove admits. “I play Guitar Hero all the time and throw things around my room. I’m like the fastest texter in the entire world.” But for the 500-plus fans camped outside of an El Segundo, Calif., record store on a July evening—many of them waiting for as long as 12 hours to meet the star of Nickelodeon’s hit series iCarly—this typical teen is nothing short of a superstar. “I’m shivering!” one tween exclaimed to her mother after receiving an autograph on her copy of iCarly—Music from and Inspired by the Hit TV Show, which features four songs by Cosgrove. “I’m never washing my hand again,” gushed another.
These dedicated fans have helped make iCarly a breakout hit in its first season. On the show, Cosgrove stars as Carly Shay, a high school student who, along with two pals, tapes a show and posts it on the Internet. iCarly premiered in September 2007 to one of the largest audiences in the history of Nickelodeon’s live-action series. “It’s kind of crazy that so many people would come,” says an awed Cosgrove as she surveys the crowd at the store. “It’s sort of overwhelming and insane.”
In fact, Cosgrove has been charming audiences for over a decade. Raised in Los Angeles by dad Tom, 57, who owns a dry cleaning business, and stay-at-home mom Chris, 54, Cosgrove was discovered at age 3 by a talent agent. After filming commercials for Mello Yello and McDonald’s as a youngster, Cosgrove landed a role at 8 on Nickelodeon’s popular Drake & Josh, when she was cast as Drake Bell’s mischievous sister. “There aren’t a lot of actresses who are beautiful and who can get a laugh,” says Nickelodeon talent executive Paula Kaplan, who cast Cosgrove. “Everyone is really drawn to her.” So much so that when Drake & Josh finished its run, iCarly was developed specifically for her.
Now, as she promotes iCarly‘s CD, records a solo album and tapes the second season of the show, Cosgrove, who is tutored on set, is still making time for what really matters. “I haven’t gone on a serious date alone with a guy,” she says sheepishly. “I can go on double dates with my friends. It’s the big time to get a boyfriend, I guess. My best friend goes on a date and calls me and tells me all the details like 20 times.” As for Cosgrove, she’s sticking to an 11 p.m. curfew and watching movies with pals. But there is one decidedly grown-up experience she can’t wait to try. “None of my friends can drive yet. I’m going to start in a few weeks,” she says with a grin. “Just in a parking lot or something.” Her considerable successes aside, Cosgrove isn’t sure her luck will hold. “I drove a go-cart a couple of years ago. I ran it into a brick wall and like totaled it. So I don’t think I’m going to be the most excellent driver in the world.”