We all know Keke Palmer from her powerful performance in 2006’s Akeelah And The Bee when she was just 12-years-old. After that, she went on to roles in many more hit films, and then landed her own hit Nickelodeon series, True Jackson VP. Talk about a rising star!
But Keke‘s not about to let it go to her head, and this 19-year-old gives props to her parents for keeping her grounded and for knowing the importance of giving back. The talented singer/actress talked exclusively with Celebrity Teen Scoop about her new Lifetime film, Abducted: The Carlina White Story and about giving her all to her craft – and to her community.
Celebrity Teen Scoop: Your upcoming movie, Abducted: The Carlina White Story sounds like a powerful film. Tell us a little bit about it.
Keke: The Carlina White Story is a very universal story; a child is abducted from a hospital and her whole life has been altered forever because the woman who she believed to be her mother is actually her kidnapper. So yes, it is a very powerful story, yet also very sad – I can only image how Carlina must feel.
CTS: What did you know about the story before you got the part?
Keke: Very little. Actually my agent sent me the script, and to be honest I did not read it right away because I was not sure if I wanted my next role to be a drama. But once I read the script the story was very compelling I knew I had to do it.
CTS: Did you get to meet Joy and Carl White? What was that like?
Keke: No unfortunately I did not meet any of the real people. However, I did speak with Carlina on the phone. I thought she had a great attitude and now she is just focusing on raising her own daughter. She told me she was glad that I was portraying her in the movie – I hope she likes my performance. I really tried my best to convey all of the many different emotions she must have gone through and continues to experience today.
CTS: You’ve had such a wide variety of roles – from Akeelah And The Bee to True Jackson VP. Which has been your favorite?
Keke: I like them all for different reasons, but Akeelah and The Bee will always be one of my favorite roles. Not only because it was my big break, but I really had a great time on set. The impact it has had on children through out the country is mind blowing to me – I mean they show that movie in schools all over the country. I know because I have teachers coming up to me saying, “Next month is ‘Akeelah Day’ at our school and we will be showing the movie.” Wow that is so cool!
CTS: What other film/TV projects are you working on now?
Keke: Right now I am focusing on my music career. I will never stop acting and I am always looking for great interesting roles, but I started out as a singer – my acting just took off first. Now I want to go back to my music it is a true love of mine as well.
CTS: Do you ever get nervous before getting in front of the camera?
Keke: Yes I do, I performed on TV the other day and I felt like I wanted to throw up, it was crazy! I started sipping on some ginger ale and it made my stomach feel better. I think I am always just a little nervous before I go on, but once I am on stage I feel like I am right where I am suppose to be and I hope that people know that I am giving them a 100%.
CTS: You’ve had big success at such a young age – what keeps you grounded?
Keke: Thank you so much! Without a doubt my parents – my mother does not play! Both my mom and dad taught me early on the importance of giving back, so I do a lot of charity work. I just signed on to be a part of Dove’s Self Esteem Campaign for young girls – we will be marching in Times Square to encourage young girls to have self esteem, love yourself, and find your inner beauty. I love stuff like that!
CTS: You’re involved with the ‘Saving Our Daughters’ campaign. Tell us about that.
Keke: Yes ‘Saving Our Daughter’s’ is a charity that I have been involved with since I was 12 years old. We have taken on a few topics over the years that affect children like education, bullying in schools, and building self esteem. Our main goal is to just help children in any way that we can.
CTS: Did you ever experience bullying as a youngster or teen?
Keke: I did. Around the second grade I was picked on because of my curly hair, kids called me names and it was painful.
CTS: Who are your role models?
Keke: My parents, and my Grandma Mildred who passed away 3 years ago – she was my biggest fan…I miss her so much.
Watch Abducted: The Carlina White Story Saturday, October 6 at 8:00PM ET/PT on Lifetime.