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Are we still calling Keke Palmer Akeelah or True Jackson?
The 28-year-old actress continues the press tour for her new film Nope, directed by Jordan Peele. Some may argue that her flowers have just arrived with the release of the sci-fi-based movie.
With a career spanning over two decades, growing popularity with reels on social media, and the controversy surrounding her character’s same-sex kiss on Disney’s Lightyear, Palmer is thriving.
Despite her veteran status as an actress, she hasn’t always gotten the roles she’s wanted throughout her career.
Recently, Palmer opened up about a role she didn’t get earlier in her career. “I auditioned for [2005 comedy] Are We There Yet? and I remember being so sad I didn’t get it,” she told Glamour.
The family film starred Ice Cube, Nia Long, Philip Daniel Bolden, and Aleisha Allen. Palmer tried out for the part of Lindsay King. However, it was Allen who scored the lead.
While that door closed, another one opened. “But when I look back on it, I wasn’t ready,” the actress adds. “When I was, I got the opportunity to do the movie The Long Shots, [also] with Ice Cube. That’s why I always say everything is not always for you.”
It wasn’t until 2006 when Palmer took the lead role in the beloved film Akeelah and the Bee that put her on the map. At just 13, she starred alongside heavy hitters Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne. Her breakout role earned her an NAACP award for Outstanding Actress in 2007.
The Scream Queens alum, who graces Glamour’s July cover, said good things come as you move forward on your journey.
“Sometimes if you wait and keep trucking, growing, and doing your own thing, greater things will come,” she added.
Palmer stars as horse trainer Emerald Haywood who tries to capture evidence of a UFO sighting in the sky hovering over her family’s ranch. Nope reunites Peele and Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya who plays Palmer’s brother, OJ.
This role may perhaps be Palmer’s best one to date. “I just remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow, the different levels I’m gonna have to go through performance-wise, this is going to be a challenge.’ But also a good, fun challenge,” she told Variety during the movie’s premiere. “I don’t get to play characters like [Emerald] that often.”