Having been to Australia twice in 8 months, iCarly star Jennette McCurdy is quick to sing the praises of Australia.
Last year she co-hosted the Australian Kids’ Choice Awards for Nickelodeon, which invited her back to join Camp Orange hosts Luke and Wyatt for the latest season of the show, pitting boys against girls.
McCurdy, 19, leads the two female teams against the two boys teams, but she’s happy for any excuse to visit Down Under.
“I just idolise Australia, I think it’s the most amazing place. Everybody there is so nice. In America everybody looks down at you and nobody says anything, there’ll all stern and mean. But in Australia people talk to you,” she says.
“I went to the Australian bush and that was beautiful and I spent a lot of time in Sydney. It was one of the coolest cities I’ve been to.”
The fans also differ from country to country.
“They’re all quite intense, but the Australian Kid’s Choice Awards went really well. Of course they scream bloody murder here in America but in Australia they’re even crazier. They get so excited and they’re so supportive.”
This season of Camp Orange pits four teams against one another through a series of wild and wacky challenges. The chosen teams, Ballistic Belly Buttons (WA), Bulldozers (VIC), Grizzly Girls (NSW) and Mega Monkeys (SA) will also be joined by celebrity mentors including Reece Mastin and Justice Crew.
“The girls are very smart and strategic and the boys were equally as smart but not quite as strategic. Unfortunately I had to leave on the last day, so I don’t know who won!
“I was very impressed by how Luke and Wyatt have been doing this for years. The format for Camp Orange: Boys vs Girls was so different from iCarly. I normally get a script ahead of time and rehearse with it for days before we shoot. So we’ve been rehearsing for a while before we go before the cameras.
“But Luke and Wyatt get the pages 30 seconds beforehand, because they have to be changed according to who won the last challenge or whatever. So it’s very intense and fast-paced and I loved that.”
Last week Luke and Wyatt won the Most Outstanding Presenter at the ASTRA Awards, pipping more seasoned pros including Rove McManus, Sarah Murdoch and Andrew Winter.
McCurdy says her co-hosts and Aussie friends weren’t shy in teaching her a bit of the local lingo.
“I learned to say ‘Fair Dinkum’ and everybody always says ‘How are you going?’ whereas in America everyone says ‘How you doin’?’ So I loved ‘How are you going?’” she says.
“It was the same with Luke and Wyatt. Everyday we’d have about a half hour ride back to our hotel. Those guys would rap, play improv games, they’re are entertaining but they never shut off. But it was great to be around them.”
Now back in the US, she is preparing to film the last-ever episode of iCarly with her fellow cast mates.
“We’ve all been preparing ourselves for the last few weeks because we’ve grown up together and gone through experiences that few people have gone through, and we’ve gone through it side by side. It’s devastating. It’s very difficult to talk about, even though I know I’ll see them all. I now I’ll see Miranda close to daily.
“Closing it for the fans and closing it for everybody it almost brings a tear everytime I think about it, because it’s been so much fun.
“I hope that people who watched iCarly remember it every year of their lives. I hope they remember it when they’re 85 and I hope watching iCarly was some of the best times of their lives. I hope it brought them a lot of laughs and a lot of joy. That’s all you can ask for.”
Recent guest stars on the series included One Direction, as part of a pop assault on the US market.
“When One Direction came on the show I actually didn’t know who they were. So I guess that makes me the only person in the world. They came on set and they were really easy going, professional dudes. I hung out with them the next day and we watched movies, went to the diner, they’re nice guys.” she says.
In fact, they did more than just hang out.
“Niall and Zane went on a double date with Miranda and me. Niall was with Miranda, I was with Zane,” she says.
“We keep in touch from time to time. It’s difficult when they’re across the world and you’re on a TV show but it was fun to hang with them for sure.”
Looking ahead she is on board for her own untitled new project with iCarly creator Dan Schneider.
So believing in his talent and abilities, she has agreed to star in the series without even having read a script.
“I don’t know character, I don’t know concept, I don’t know title and it makes me nervous because they start production in like a month and a half. But I do know they’re casting right now. Things in the entertainment industry are always last minute!” she laughs.
“I agreed as soon as I found out Dan Schneider was part of it. I definitely would not have said yes so exuberantly if it had been a different showrunner. But knowing Dan is the showrunner literally put me at ease because I’ve never met anybody as hard-working or as creative as him. Knowing he’s on my side is the best thing in the world.”
Camp Orange: Boys vs Girls premieres 5pm today on Nickelodeon.