Young actresses like Keke Palmer are needed in Tinseltown to balance the ratio of debauchery and benevolence that tends to lean more toward Lohan than Loretta. There’s a saintliness surrounding the newly turned 18-year-old that could make non-believers in Gen Y convert with ease. Expectantly, Keke–born Lauren Keyana–stars in the upcoming Warner Brothers effort Joyful Noise as Olivia, the coming-of-age daughter who’s striving to refresh old choir hymns and anxious to date.
On a recent Monday, I spoke with the Akeelah and the Bee star to pull back the layers on her “good girl” image. Audiences witnessed the Illinois-born Interscope Records signee come to life alongside Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett. Since that first lead silver screen role, Palmer has found a way to stand out in supporting parts and parlay her success into her own Nickelodeon-housed sitcom True Jackson VP. Spreading love to the Disney sect as well, she also carried the made-for-TV film, Jump In!
It’s not hard to imagine the über modest teenager as the second coming of Oprah, Queen Latifah or Raven-Symoné. With a few notable awards under her belt, a debut album and sights on a beauty venture, the idea of building her own moneymaking empire is not far-fetched. Most anticipated is the shedding of her typecast present to create an invigorating, Oscar-worthy future.
Luckily for us, audiences may soon get a chance to see the transformation. In her forthcoming role in Virgin Mary, a tale about two friends vowing to cast off their pristine virginity by age 18, Palmer and fellow young Hollywood starlet Abigail Breslin intend to upset their pleasant onscreen images with a bit of dark realism. Although we won’t catch a glimpse of Keke’s inner rebel until this year is long gone, we’ve pulled up a seat, grabbed the popcorn and anxiously watch Keke’s real life coming-of-age story.