Hmm, this is the gentleman all over your Instagram! [Laughs] How did you meet him?
One day, Patrick [Johnson, Jr.] came to the set of True Jackson VP, and he brought Rodney, my boyfriend, with him. My mouth dropped when I saw him, and I’m just like, Keke, control yourself! [Laughs] I was 15 years old at the time, and he was 19, so we didn’t talk or anything like that. I just always had a huge crush on him. Then when I was like 17, I talked to my parents ’cause my mom was like, ‘If you want to date somebody, I guess the oldest age would be 21.’ I just couldn’t believe that she said that to me. It really almost made my heart skip a beat because I always liked him.
Aw, so this was the classic crush. Butterflies in your stomach, hands sweaty crush?
Yes, girl! Everything like that. I was head over heels for him. We had this meeting with my dad before we could date and then my dad said, ‘You guys have to wait four months before you could date alone.’ Like, we’d go on group dates, but we couldn’t go on dates alone until six months before my 18th birthday.
With you being Miss Keke Palmer — and 18 now–, how are you dealing with the groupie love?
Oh yeah, I love it! Seriously, I do. Whenever I see the love on my Twitter page or something like that and they tell me that they love me or they’re going to marry me, I always just say it back. [Laughs]
Tell me a little about you upcoming role in Virgin Mary and working with Abigail Breslin?
We haven’t started to film it yet, but I’m very excited because this is something new for me. People have always known me, as I said, as Keke Palmer the “good girl.” In this movie, I’m not necessarily being a huge slut, but my character is just that. She’s like, ‘I’m a sex enthusiast. That’s who I am,’ but the reason why I chose this film was because it’s different from what everybody knows me as. This character spoke to me because she was funny, [and] she was likeable. Even if I didn’t play the character, you would immediately love her because she’s just lovable. It’s almost like [Draya] on Basketball Wives LA. People can say whatever they want about her, but you like Draya because that’s who she is. You either like her or you don’t. No fronting, no nothing.
What’s your take on young women losing their virginity and making a pact about it?
I hate to say, ‘This is not what you should do’ or anything like that. At the same time, any of the choices you make, you have to be happy about them later on. When I think a pact, it just seems rushed and you should do things on your own time. I never put an age on anything. If you’re 16 and you lose your virginity to somebody and you really truly loved them at that time, then who am I to tell you that you were wrong? If you look back on that in 20 years and you say, ‘That guy deserved that from me,’ then that’s the issue? There are a lot of women that are 20-year-olds that lost their virginity and they look back and say, ‘What a big mistake!’
It’s not about age.
No, it’s about the person inside. Whatever decisions you make in your life, especially a big decision like that, make sure it’s the right one for you.
I agree. Now, musically, where are you right now?
I’m in the middle of everything. I’m almost finished. Hopefully, I’ll be able to have a single out within the next three months. That’ll be ideal, but we’ll see. I’m recording and excited. It’s a mixture of R&B and hip-hop. Like, right in the middle. It’s not too R&B, not too pop.
Lastly, tell me about your New Year’s Eve. Did you get your midnight kiss?
Yes, I did! My first one ever.
Photographer: Justin Hyte
Stylist: Heidi Roman
Hair: Cynthia Alvarez
Make Up: Brandon Zimoyer
Top, $195, Loza Maléombho; available at Oxosi.com. Shorts, $325, Halston; available at bloomingdales.com. Necklace, $340, Lizzy Couture; lizzycouture.com.
Dress, $115, Blaque Label; available at lulus.com. Franklinton Arrow Bangle (left hand), $150, Bernard James; available at Oxosi.com. Infinity Bangles (right hand), $88, & Gwyneth Bangle, $185, Melinda Maria; melindamaria.com. Shoes, $350, Brian Atwood; available at bloomingdales.com