She’s not a Nickelodeon star anymore! Keke Palmer has come a long way since her days on True Jackson, VP.
Not only did the actress star in the fan-favorite Nickelodeon series for three seasons from 2008 to 2011, but the Illinois native also got her start on Disney Channel. In 2007, Keke made a name for herself alongside Corbin Bleu in the throwback flick Jump In!
“Corbin Bleu was my first kiss in life,” the actress told Access in 2013 when reflecting on the movie. “I was 12 and he was like my first kiss for TV. … It was on the lips! I was very, very nervous. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the first person I am kissing outside of my family.’ It was real scary for me. We did [the kiss scene] like 20 times. I became really self-conscious, I was like, ‘Should I be having my first kiss on a movie? Should I let that happen to me? Maybe this is all a bad thing?’”
Looking back, it definitely wasn’t a bad thing and totally prepared her for the iconic smooch between her character True and Robbie Amell‘s Jimmy on True Jackson, VP.
“It’s always weird because either you’re too much of friends with somebody or you actually do have a crush on somebody. It’s never — too many people are watching and it’s never real. It’s all just part of a gag, so it’s awkward,” Keke told Cosmopolitan in July 2020 about onscreen kisses. “But I remember feeling sweet about this [kiss] because I had known Robbie for some years now. … By the time we did this episode, so, I mean it was just a sweet, nice thing with somebody that I considered a close friend.”
After moving on from her Disney Channel and Nickelodeon days, Keke went on to appear in tons of TV shows and movies over the years. She even had a minor stint as a talk show host.
“I’d rather be loved or hated for being myself than for being somebody I’m not,” she said during an April 2021 interview with InStyle. “If people don’t like that I tell it like it is, then they should at least be able to respect me for being real.”
Throughout her time in the spotlight, the actress learned to stay true to herself. Especially when dealing with the haters.
“I got tired of trying to be who everybody wanted me to be,” Keke also told the magazine. “There’s always going to be something that people hate me for, whether it’s wanting me to not be Black, or a woman, or tall, or short, or skinny, or thick. Other people might love me for it, but I don’t want to constantly change who I am for outside validation. That just sounds like hell.”
Scroll through our gallery to see everything Keke has been up to since her Disney and Nickelodeon days.
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