‘Nope’ star Keke Palmer on handling rejection and staying consistent

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Keke Palmer is well known in the Twitter-verse for being “booked and busy,” establishing herself as an actress, host, comedian and musician at only 28 years old. But that wasn’t always the case, Palmer revealed in a recent interview with Glamour magazine. 

Nearly 20 years ago, the Illinois native made her first acting debut in Ice Cube’s “Barbershop 2: Back in Business,” playing the niece of Queen Latifah’s character, Gina. Before her breakthrough role in “Akeelah and the Bee” in 2006, Palmer auditioned to play Ice Cube’s daughter in the 2005 family comedy, “Are We There Yet?” However, the role ended up going to Aleisha Allen, something then 12-year-old Palmer was very disappointed about.

“I remember being so sad that I didn’t get it,” she told Glamour’s Ruhama Wolle. “But when I look back on it, I wasn’t ready. When I was, I got the opportunity to do the movie ‘The Longshots,’ with Ice Cube. That’s why I always say everything is not always for you.”

Since starring in “Akeelah and the Bee,” Palmer has been in over 30 films and several TV shows, from starring in “True Jackson, VP” on Nickelodeon from 2008 to 2010, to even having her own talk show, “Just Keke,” on BET in 2014.

In addition to learning how to deal with rejection, Palmer also prides herself on not letting her ego decide which roles to pursue.

“I think the biggest key to my consistency is that I try to have no ego,” Palmer said in a recent interview with Andscape’s Kelley Carter. “A lot of people say I’ve done such and such so I can’t do that job. [Meanwhile] I’m like, are the people cool? Is the material good? Are they going to have lunch? Let’s go!”

“I always keep it to what I’m passionate about and what I connect with… As an actor, the point is to get a job and to work. Whether it’s always going to be a big blockbuster or not isn’t something you can constantly control. All you can do is hope for the best and do what it is that you love.”

This year, Palmer starred in Disney Pixar’s “Lightyear” as space ranger Izzy Hawthorne, and in the highly anticipated Jordan Peele film, “Nope,” which hit theaters nationwide on Friday, June 22. The horror film, also starring Daniel Kaluuya, is projected to make around $50 million, according to Deadline.

Palmer dished about her excitement for the film’s debut and gave a sneak peek about what viewers can expect on the TODAY Show.

“The two lead characters, myself and Daniel, brother and sister, discover something in the sky. And they’re on this journey, both for different reasons, of finding out what it is exactly. Daniel’s character OJ is curious, and my character is like how can we get ahead of this? How can we exploit this? And through that journey, it’s really an observation about how many of us in today’s society are obsessed with outside things like validation, exploiting and getting things on footage.” 

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