Keke Palmer Opened Up About How “Misunderstood” She Felt as a Young Star

Noella Williams
·3-min read
Keke Palmer
Keke Palmer

Roy Rochlin, Getty Images

Keke Palmer—who is known for her confidence on and off screen—opened up about her emotionally trying experience of being a child actor in the entertainment industry.

The 27-year-old actress's acting debut was her role in 2004's Barbershop 2: Back in Business—before she even reached her teen years—and her breakout role came shortly after for 2006's Akeelah and the Bee. Since then, she's had major roles in Hustlers, True Jackson, VP, and Scream Queens. Although her nearly two-decade acting range is impressive, Palmer shared on the April 6th podcast episode of InStyle's Ladies First with Laura Brown that she felt "misunderstood" as a child star.

"At a young age, as a child [in the] entertainer world, your emotions are always the last thing that people care about," she says to podcast host and InStyle editor-in-chief Laura Brown. "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."

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The Hustlers star shared that she is attempting to "not worry about people not understanding" her every day as she continues her acting career.

"It's always been a bit of a thing for me because people have had all these expectations of who they want me to be at a very young age: how they want me to act and how they want me to respond. I've fought a lot of that most of my adult life, and I'm still new into my adult life."

On the podcast, Palmer shared that she values her alone time and is "happy as hell" stress-free in her own room.

"Sometimes it's much easier because I don't have to please anybody but myself," she said. "I find so much ease with being alone because I actually like me. That's what's so crazy, is because people assume if you want to always please people or be nice, it's because you have an issue or esteem problem with yourself. But actually, no. It's y'all not knowing what y'all want and projecting that on me that's giving me the stress."

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Along with her acting, Palmer is also a recording artist. However, she has faced many challenges within the music industry.

"I had to really come to that understanding that success is what you make it and what you design it to be," she said. "Everybody is not Beyoncé, and that's alright. That doesn't mean that you're not amazing because if you're not Beyoncé, maybe you are Norah Jones."

Palmer's words of advice ring true for all of us to incorporate more self-love and acceptance into our lives.

"I think, you know, all of those things come into understanding that at the end of the day, I just have to be true to me and allow me living in that truth to be success enough," she added.