Keke Palmer on being true to herself and hustling in Hollywood
Keke Palmer has been booked and busy since the age of 9 — and the 28-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down.
“It’s giving Tyler Perry,” she told Bustle of her never-ending stream of gigs.
In her interview, the Nope star opened up about balancing multiple career ventures and the admirable work ethic that has kept her name buzzing for years.
“I’m used to having work be a priority, but I just happen to actually still be a young millennial. I think sometimes that flips over people’s heads.”
Her breakout role as Akeelah Anderson in the 2006 film Akeelah and the Bee set the stage for Palmer’s whirlwind 20-year career.
The Illinois native went on to star in her own series on Nickelodeon, True Jackson, VP, and in the Disney channel original movie Jump In! all before turning 18.
“Growing up as a child actress, you can turn real old, real fast,” she said of the typical child star experience.
She has since gracefully transcended from child to adult star and even though her recent series of quotable quips have launched her into a slew of viral moments, she let it be known that she has been running laps in the industry for years.
“People need to realize I don’t quit… I wasn’t always trending,” she said.
Career longevity of this caliber is rare and Palmer doesn’t take her continued relevance for granted. “Your girl is trying to get every job so she can make sure that her family is good, so I appreciate it. Miss Mamas is trying to break generational curses and build generational wealth,” she said, adding,”It’s a blessing to me that I still have been able to maintain some version of existing as someone my age.”
The actress has found continued success in simply being herself and credits her supportive network of family and friends for keeping her grounded in such a turbulent profession.
“I always talk to my mom every day, I always talk to my best friend Lenoria,” she said.
As her career approaches the 20-year mark, Palmer still refuses to be put in a box and her thirst for creative expansion has certainly paid off.
“If I have a hobby or if I have something that I just do once or twice, somehow it can end up developing into something far bigger,” she says. “Maybe back in the day they would’ve called it ADHD, but I’m just interested in so many different things.”
Her boundless career grind has been a fruitful endeavor thus far, but the Alice star knows that with bigger ventures comes more scrutiny.
“Fame is traumatic, and a lot of attention is not something that everybody can deal with,” she said.
As she takes on bigger roles and the accompanying recognition, her focus will always be on staying true to Keke, not the hype.
“I think that’s so important to say when you reach these pinnacles of your life — you’re prepared and you’re still you,” she says. “I didn’t know that I would still be so close to the me that’s always been here when this moment I’ve been waiting for finally arrived. But it’s also just another moment.”
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