girl crying in sunlight

At age 11, Jennette McCurdy creates a resume, with help from her mom. It lists her past performances and includes a Special Skills section. The most prized Special Skill for a child actor, according to McCurdy, is crying on cue.

McCurdy learns this skill, as she describes in her memoir I’m Glad My Mom Died, with the help of her mom and her acting teacher. She adds it to her resume.

She not only learns the skill but masters it, becoming one of the most talented child criers in Hollywood. She writes:

“I had become the Cirque du Soleil performer of crying on cue. People wanted to see me do it over and over, like I was climbing silks or contorting in aerial hoops. Crying on cue was truly my Special Skill.”

It’s wonderful that she was able to cultivate a talent. But there was a problem. In order to cry on cue, McCurdy had to envision the death of one of her family members. When she was “all cried out” as regards one family member, she would switch to another family member.

McCurdy’s book raises the question, is it worth having a Special Skill if you have to traumatize yourself to use it?