It’s been nearly two decades since we were introduced to Keke Palmer and audiences still can’t get enough of her. Her impressive resume includes starring roles in box office hits and cult classics on the small screen. Her talent doesn’t stop there. The Illinois native has also tried her hand at hosting, music and even broadway.
Whether you’re used to seeing Palmer dazzle in her latest project or laughing when she unintentionally becomes a meme, it’s safe to say Palmer is a household name. As we prepare to see her in several more performances this year, here are five facts about our multifaceted queen.
1. She admitted to struggling early in her career
At age 11, Palmer made her acting debut in Barbershop 2: Back in Business, playing Queen Latifah‘s niece. A year later, she inked a deal with Atlantic Records.
Though her career has experienced an uphill trajectory, the 28-year-old admitted to having a hard time early on.
“At a young age, as a child [in the] entertainer world, your emotions are always the last thing that people care about,” she told Laura Brown, the editor-in-chief of InStyle on her podcast Ladies First, via E! News. “I think you get really quickly into being a people-pleaser and trying to be everything that everybody wants you to be. And so I think in a lot of that, you end up being misunderstood.”
2. She released her debut album at age 14
The multi-hyphenated performer showed her musical stylings at an early age, releasing her first studio album So Uncool in 2007. According to Billboard, the highest it reached was No. 85 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
Since then, Palmer has released two more albums and several singles and EPs.
3. Palmer bravely shared her abortion story in 2019
When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, several A-list celebrities, including Palmer, voiced their disappointment in the judges who voted to strike down a law protecting a woman’s right to choose.
I’m past disgusted w/ my country and their constant inability to protect one another’s right & keep their word. How u overturning the wrong things? So many things to overturn that make sense. But this is what you chose??
— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) June 24, 2022
The ruling understandably drew out a response from the Scream Queens alum, who revealed in 2019 that she had an abortion at age 24.
“I was worried about my career responsibilities and afraid that I could not exist as both a career woman and mother,” she wrote in a now-deleted tweet, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Making individual choices is not a betrayal to your faith,” she said in a follow-up tweet, People reports.
“Mainly, because God knows your heart and your journey. God never judges. I hate that it’s always a this vs that, instead of an ‘I understand YOUR PERSPECTIVE.'”
4. She's open about her health struggles
In December 2020, Palmer revealed in an emotional Instagram post that she suffered from polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS.
View this post on Instagram
“For some of you this may be TMI, but for me, my platform has always been used for things much greater than me,” she said. “Polycystic [ovary] syndrome has been attacking me from the inside out my entire life and I had no idea,” a portion of her caption said.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, PCOS occurs when the “ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgens, male sex hormones that are usually present in women in small amounts.”
In a November appearance on the Tamron Hall Show, Palmer described her specific symptoms that led to the eventual diagnosis.
“I kind of discovered that that’s what I was dealing with, and it answered a lot of the questions to, not only why I had acne, but why I grow hair on my face or under my chin. You know, I kind of have a lowkey beard going on that I have to shave every couple of days,” the NAACP Image Award winner said. “I started to zero in on the fact that you know, for me to have dealt with acne past puberty in the way that I did, there had to be something deeper going on. And that’s when I came up on PCOS and also things that I needed to change in terms of my diet.”
There is currently no direct cure for the condition, but medicine can help diminish symptoms.
5. The surprising way she landed a starring role in "Nope" directed by Jordan Peele
One thing we admire about Palmer is her boldness and that kind of tenacity often pays off. Palmer has several projects forthcoming, including Nope, a film written and directed by Jordan Peele.
According to People, Palmer directly wrote to the Oscar winner about securing a spot in the movie.
“I definitely did slide into his DMs, but Jordan is, like much to be expected, not on Instagram all day and during the night. So he never even saw that direct message,” she joked.
This isn’t the first time Palmer has reached out to potential collaborators. A fan of the show Insecure, the Password host landed a guest role in the fifth and final season through a tweet.
Nope, starring Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya lands in theaters nationwide on July 22.