Laci Mosley

There exist plenty of obstacles when rebooting a beloved project, but perhaps the most daunting is presenting a reimagination that meets an audience exactly where they are. Catering to viewers who grew in real time alongside (and long after) the series airing is an acknowledgement of growth and maturity, but it requires the development of a story that builds far before the narrative on the page. The reboot of iCarly, just one recent iteration of this experience, shaped stories for its characters that bridge the gap between the original series finale and the continuing arcs of this new installation of the show.  And in shaping the new, the series features a cast that — though at first a set of fresh faces — have become as crucial to the sitcom’s ebb and flow as the original trio. Laci Mosley is in her second season of portraying newcomer, Harper, and her relatability and heart in the role only confirm that she is built to be a leading lady.

Albeit a modish introduction to the world of millennial creatives, the buzz around Laci Mosley in iCarly didn’t stem from a debut or an opportunity that appeared overnight. Mosley’s comedic chops landed her on television in shows that span across subgenres, including A Black Lady Sketch Show and Florida Girls, so stepping into the spotlight on a youthful adult sitcom feels practically written in the stars. As such, Laci Mosley’s career has been fast-moving since her mainstream debut in 2019; pandemic years couldn’t stop her from settling into a star vehicle as Harper, and it’s the kind of unreal growth as a performer to be retrospectively grateful for.

“I think young Laci would be proud of me, which actually kind of makes me a little emotional,” Laci Mosley tells 1883. “… I have anxiety and I have depression, and comedy is something that’s always been very soothing to me. Just watching the same television show before bed every night, it’s just always been such a comfort. I hope that I can give people comfort through these characters that I’m playing, as well.”

Inspired by the likes of Lucille Ball and Jamie Foxx, Laci Mosley is proving similarly to be the type of comedic performer that checks every single box — a strong stage act per her background in improv, a bold and witty sketch artist, and an actor whose charisma extends beyond the bounds of the television screen. Fortunately, Harper is just as ambitious.

In a conversation with 1883 Magazine’s Logan Potter, Laci Mosley opens up about the magnitude of becoming part of a nostalgic franchise, the ways in which fiction mirrors reality in her role as Harper, and the reality of accidentally placing mental health on the back burner in the midst of a high-energy rise in comedy.


It’s so exciting that your character got to debut in the iCarly reboot, because one of the best things about the show is that the fans got to grow up with it. The people that are watching iCarly now are the same people that were watching it 10 years ago, so it’s really exciting to see you be part of that. What do you think are the show’s biggest growth points from season one to season two?

Season one, I feel like we were all establishing ourselves. The original characters were establishing where they are in life now, as you’ve grown up with them; and then playing a new character, it’s establishing this relationship and my relationship with the rest of the cast. We were all very thoughtful about the fans and wanting to make this reboot feel as good as possible. And now in the second season, we get to kind of hang back and let loose and just do mess because everyone knows [who] we are, everything’s established. Now we can just wild out.


How do you think Harper has evolved between the two seasons? What do you think has changed most about her?

I think much like a lot of millennials are finding their footing, it feels like now you get to see Harper leave her hustle job, and now her main profession is the thing that she wants to do. That’s scary, and I feel like a lot of millennials can relate to that. I certainly can personally, because I used to wait tables and work in all kinds of places when I was trying to get my acting career off the ground. So, you get to see Harper do that with styling. And I know so many millennials relate to that, because we came out of college and we’re like, “Miss girl, where are the jobs that we were promised? And now you want money back now? Student loans are calling!” I think we can all relate to that a bit.


Oh my god, it’s true. In iCarly, we get to see you do more situational comedy, we’ve seen you do sketch comedy, you have The Outlaws coming up. How do you think iCarly helped you shape who you are as a comic and as a comedic actor?

Watching iCarly growing up definitely was influential to my comedic sensibilities, because I love how big and wacky it is and how much fun we get to have and how far we get to go with things. On some jobs, acting is super nuanced, and I’ve done roles where I’ll leave multicam world where everything’s big, and then the director is like, ‘Okay, but I’m very close to your face. You don’t have to do so much.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, right, right, right!’ It’s big and fun, and I like that we can let loose.


Looking at Harper’s character and how she has allowed you to explore the big, wacky, over-the top-kind of comedy, what is it like also getting to showcase Harper as a queer woman? Because for me, growing up with iCarly on Nickelodeon, that’s groundbreaking.

It’s been such an honor and a pleasure to play Harper as a queer, dark-skinned Black woman, because I really loved that the show didn’t reenact the trauma that a lot of queer people and Black people experience around their identity. I think that the stories that do that are important and necessary, but I also think that it is also deeply important to let the gay girls have fun, let the Black girls have fun. Everything doesn’t have to be traumatic, and I love that Harper’s established in the show as queer and it’s not a big deal. It’s just a fact, and that’s what I’d love to see in the world. I hope that’s what we continue to move towards, just allowing people to be who they are, and it not having to be this radical, traumatic experience.


And on that note, when you first read these scripts and when you were moving into season two, what did you want to convey most with Harper? What is most important to you that viewers know and believe about Harper as a character?

Oh, wow! Interesting question. I would say the thing that I want viewers to take away the most from Harper is whatever you have inside of you, whatever gifts you’ve been blessed with, whatever you want to contribute to the world — I want everyone to feel confident, and know that they can do that. Harper’s blindly confident! That’s what I think I would want people to take away who are watching the show, if they were fans of the original, or if they’re just catching up on the reboot. We can do whatever we want in this world. That’s when Harper does whatever she wants, whenever she wants.


Do you feel like you relate to Harper’s character in that way? Are there any similarities that you would draw with yourself in the way that you play her?

Oh, yeah, for sure. Harper loves to get Carly into messy situations, and I feel like that’s me and Miranda in real life. [laughs] I’m very playful like Harper is, and I also chose a different path in life that didn’t have a manual. If you want to be a doctor, you go to college, and then you go to med school, and then you do a residency. There’s a path. And basically, I said I wanted to do make-em-ups as a profession, and just had to figure it out. I definitely relate to Harper in that way a lot.



Your life is also really fast moving in that way; did you find a way to prioritize your mental health throughout that entire experience because it’s all been so fast moving?

Oh, that’s a good question. I should do that! [laughs] I should prioritize my mental health. That’s a good question. I don’t know if I’ve fully figured out prioritizing mental health. I’m certainly trying. I see a therapist, I think that they’re great and that everyone should. I try to touch grass. I haven’t touched some grass in a little while, so I’m looking forward to some vacations that are coming up where I can take a real break. But it’s very hard to work nonstop and I highly don’t recommend it.


I think that level of introspection and self-awareness is the first step though! I’m on the same page with you. I need to touch grass, too. Speaking of fast moving — from iCarly, you just wrapped production on The Outlaws. How do you feel like that role has challenged you in a way that maybe A Black Lady Sketch Show or iCarly hasn’t?

Doing The Outlaws was a fun new challenge because one – it’s single camera, which means that there’s not multiple cameras on you, it’s a lot more close up, you’re not as big and zany. It’s a bit more grounded. I was also working with people that I’ve looked up to my entire life. Ellen Barkin is a dream and she’s so funny and witty, just on the spot, had us cracked up. Pierce Brosnan is an icon, like James Bond! Are you kidding me?! I want to be the next Bond girl! And Lil Rel and Adam Devine, just working with so many established comedians and entertainers that I’ve looked up to and collaborating with them and doing improv with them and feeling their work elevate mine. That was a very fun experience.


When it came to you kind of getting into the comedy scene, looking up to those comics that you’ve been watching for such a long time, were you anticipating being on-screen? Were you interested in staying in improv?

I studied improv at the UCB Theatre in New York and Los Angeles, and my first improv coach was actually Laura Chinn. She wrote a show called Florida Girls, and I auditioned for it; when I got the role for the pilot presentation, she called me and she said, ‘I wrote this role for you, and I didn’t want to tell you in case you didn’t book it.’ [laughs] 

I was just doing comedy a lot, live improv, live sketch. I used to drive around with a ton of wigs in my car. My car got broken into — and I felt very disrespected — because they broke my windshield and then it was just a trail of wigs. They didn’t even take anything. They were like, ‘What is this?’ They opened my car and were like, ‘Crap!’ and left. I was like, ‘Please rob me, I want to feel like I have things for robbery!’


At least they left you with all of your wigs. They said, “None of that for us.”

Those wigs were highly flammable. I do not blame them. I would have left them, too!


It really worked out! When in all of that did you start Scam Goddess?

I started Scam Goddess about two and a half years ago. Scam Goddess started as a scam! I want to do a comedy podcast about current events. I taped a pilot with my friend Priscilla, and then I shopped it to networks and was told, ‘There’s so many comedy podcasts, there’s so many current events podcasts. The market’s too saturated, you’re not famous, what can we do with this?’ Then my friend Miles Gray actually coined the name Scam Goddess. He started calling me that, because every time I would go on their podcast The Daily Zeitgeist, they asked ‘What’s your search history?’ and for some reason, I was always googling some new robbery or scam or con artist, and realized I had a fascination with them.

Because true crime is so big. I found a niche in doing true fun crime where we rarely have to talk about a nice person being murdered or make light of a devastating situation. There’s a wackiness and a campiness to scams that lends itself to comedy. I got to do a comedy podcast and kind of Trojan horse it as a true crime podcast. 


I find that so interesting, because I think that generally the true crime obsession is a little bit terrifying?

It’s very jarring! We’re just all bopping along in the bathtub listening to a story about a nice young white lady who got murdered. It’s a little dark!


Not only are we talking about how Ted Bundy is apparently hot, but we’re also listening to the 13th Black Dahlia Murder recap on our phones… 

The weird thing is it makes us feel safe! And that happens in Scam Goddess too. I have so many fans and friends who write in and they’re like, ‘Oh, I heard this on your podcast and then when it happened to me, I didn’t get caught up.’ There’s an element about watching any true crime that makes you feel safer, because you feel like maybe you have more skills to protect yourself now.


Do you have a favorite scam?

I do, and it’s ever-evolving now because I’m learning about new scams that I’m like, ‘Wow, I also love this.’ I love Sandy Jenkins from the Fruitcake Fraud that Texas Monthly covered — the big fruitcake factory in Texas, where this man Sandy who was hella basic and dry… like if a tumbleweed was a person. He started working at this fruitcake factory and started embezzling money and embezzled so much money that he was flying on private jets, buying gold bricks. When the FBI came after him, he kind of had a jump on them and started burying the gold bricks and Rolexes and things that he had bought with the stolen money all around the city, like a pirate. It was just very outlandish, and I love Sandy so much because he really leveled up. Everyone thought Sandy was basic, then he started stealing money and became that dude.


In the first season of iCarly, Harper references “Scam Empress.” Was that super exciting for you to get in the series? How did that happen?

Shout out to Ali Schouten, our showrunner. She popped up in the makeup trailer and she was like, ‘I have a surprise for you!’ And she showed me the script and ‘Scam Empress.’ I was laughing so hard. The writers on iCarly and the showrunners and honestly everyone on this show, they’re so fun and they collaborate with us so much and love to use stuff from my real life. Maybe too much! [laughs]

They do it to me and Miranda a lot. Everything about Miranda and animals, because she literally is an animal sanctuary. I’ll call her and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I was just out all night, partying or hanging out,’ and she’s like, “I just rescued a baby bird!”


That’s so funny. It sounds like set is a great time for you.

It is truly one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had. I love going to work and I love acting in general, it’s a blessing to do this work. But sometimes, I mean, y’all see the Hollywood stories! There’s plenty more that we all got kept under our caps about monsters and people that we’ve dealt with that I won’t be sharing. But to walk onto a set and work with kind, nice people who are real and genuine is such a huge blessing and I’m very grateful for it.


That’s so good. It’s so good to hear that, that it’s a welcoming set. And I think that the show kind of follows suit. I was reading this interview that you did with Interview last year before the first season came out, and you explained your thoughts on how the reboot is a more mature version of the original. What do you think the show does well to maintain its youthfulness?

It does camp! iCarly is camp, and we are adults living in a world where you will often question how we have money and where we make it. I love that Jaidyn [Triplett]’s character, Millicent — my show niece, love her so, so much — I love that for her first big job it’s a place where everyone could do her hair and makeup, she’s not traumatized, it’s nice adults who care about her. That makes me so proud, because I hope that’s what the industry will continue to move towards. 

But I love that in the original iCarly, you never see their parents, and there’s just unsupervised children. We keep some of that, too, in the reboot. Millicent shows up to our houses all the time, unattended! I love Freddie’s character, but he’s never with his daughter! He’s parenting her and loving her and they have these very sweet moments, but also, Millicent is at cafes and restaurants by herself. At one point in the second season, I get up and leave a restaurant and another kid comes in and then they dine and dash. How did they get home?


[laughs] I guess they took the bus. My dad could never!

Right! That was part of the fun of the original iCarly, being like, ‘Wow, nobody’s around telling them to clean their rooms. This looks so fun!’


Now that we’re in the second half of the season and we know what you have upcoming, what do you want to do next? What’s exciting to you?

I’m already quietly working on some things that I’m very excited about. That’s kind of the thing, you’ll do work, and then while you’re working, you’re working on other things, and sometimes it gets overwhelming or you can’t live in the moment. You’re thinking about the next thing; that’s just the nature of this business. But there are some things that I can’t say, but I’m working on that I’m really excited to share with people!

… I just want to say thank you to all of the fans who have been watching the show and enjoying it and saying very kind things. There’s nothing in this life that gives me more pleasure and humility than seeing other people get joy from the things that I’m privileged to make.


And in between all of those things, you’re going to be prioritizing your mental health!

Logan! [laughs] Is this a therapy session? Do you have your Ph.D? Because girl, yes!


Interview by Logan Potter

Photography by Brett Erickson


iCarly is streaming now on Paramount+.

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