Actress Keke Palmer rose to fame as a child star, starring in the hit Nickelodeon television show True Jackson VP, and starring and appearing in some of the most popular movies of the late 2000s.
Her career as a child actress proved to be incredibly lucrative, and she is still in the industry making money today.
Keke Palmer portrayed a rebellious foster child named Nikki opposite Tyler Perry as Mabel “Madea” Simmons in the 2006 comedy-drama film Madea’s Family Reunion (Credit: Lions Gate Films)
Now, after years of work, Palmer is worth an estimated $7.5 million, and her dominance in the industry shows no signs of slowing down. Let’s take a closer look at how Palmer got to this point in her career, as well as some other interesting facts about the star.
Keke Palmer’s Background
Keke Palmer grew up in Illinois in a two-parent household. As a child, she was very interested in the arts, and first developed a love of performing when she sang in her church choir.
Keke Palmer rocks white Gucci sneakers at the final season premiere of Insecure held at Kenneth Hahn Park on October 21, 2021, in Los Angeles (Credit: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock)
Palmer has performance in her blood, as her parents met at drama school and were both professional actors prior to the jobs they held when she was a child. Palmer’s first real taste of stage performance was in a production of The Lion King.
Inside Her Childhood Acting Career
Obviously talented, Keke Palmer was destined for success in the entertainment industry, as she displayed early in her life a clear penchant for multiple artistic mediums.
In 2004, Palmer was cast in her first film, Barbershop 2: Back in Business, opposite Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Sean Patrick Thomas, and Eve. She also starred with Ice Cube in the 2008 American comedy-drama sports film The Longshots.
Palmer was fortunate to work alongside an industry maven, Queen Latifah, in this film. And a year later, the performer was signed to Atlanta Records.
Palmer continued working her magic and picked up a couple more roles in various television shows before landing a starring role in the Disney Channel original television show Keke & Jamal. The show never made it to air, but it was a good introduction to the network for Palmer.
Keke Palmer had her breakthrough as an 11-year-old spelling enthusiast in the 2006 American drama film Akeelah and the Bee (Credit: Lionsgate Films)
Palmer rose to mainstream fame after starring in the movie Akeelah and the Bee, a film about a talented young girl who competes in spelling bees.
Keke Palmer was 12 years old when Akeelah and the Bee was released in the United States on April 28, 2006 (Credit: Lionsgate Films)
Soon after, she starred in the Disney Channel original movie Jump In! alongside High School Musical star Corbin Bleu, propelling her to further popularity among viewers her own age.
Keke Palmer attends the “Akeelah and the Bee” Los Angeles premiere at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles, California, on April 20, 2006 (Credit: Everett Collection / Shutterstock)
Palmer‘s career only continued skyrocketing, and she booked another gig for a starring role in the children’s television show True Jackson VP. While on it, she was one of the highest-paid child actors on television, raking in $20,000 per episode.
More on Her Movie Career
After True Jackson VP was canceled, Keke Palmer continued working in the television and movie industry.
Like most child actors, she eventually broke into more mature roles, but luckily didn’t have the backlash that some actors face when they graduate into adult-centric work.
Keke Palmer as Rose Cutler in the 2007 American thriller film Cleaner (Credit: Screen Gems / Millennium Films)
Some of Palmer’s movie highlights have included Pimp and Hustlers, the latter of which she starred alongside the likes of Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, and Lizzo.
Constance Wu as Destiny, Jennifer Lopez as Ramona Vega, Keke Palmer as Mercedes, and Lili Reinhart as Annabelle in the 2019 American crime comedy-drama film Hustlers (Credit: STXfilms)
Some of her other adult roles post-True Jackson VP have included shows like Masters of Sex and Scream: The TV Series.
Keke Palmer’s Other Career Ventures
Keke Palmer hasn’t just stuck to acting. She also has released multiple singing albums, and she has even combined her talent for singing and acting in some of her roles.
In 2013, Palmer starred as Rozonda “Chili” Thomas in CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story on VH1. And she played a role in Grease Live! when it aired on TV, where she acted next to other talented singers and actors such as Julianne Hough, Aaron Tveit, and Vanessa Hudgens.
Keke Palmer as Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas in the 2013 American made-for-television biographical film CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story (Credit: Diggit Entertainment Group / VH1)
Palmer also showed that she has hosting skills when she co-hosted Strahan and Sara, filling in for both Michael Strahan and Sara Haines when necessary.
She later joined the cast full time and they changed the name to Strahan, Sara, and Keke to reflect Palmer’s addition. Unfortunately, it was canceled in March 2020.
One of Palmer’s most acclaimed projects to date is her web series called Turnt Up with the Taylors, where she plays every single part. This series is not only loved by fans, but it also won her a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series.
Keke Palmer wears a purple and yellow J. Mendel Spring 2020 gown and Lorraine Schwartz jewelry while attending the Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation 2019 Angel Ball held at Cipriani Wall Street on October 28, 2019, in New York City (Credit: Lev Radin / Shutterstock)
Palmer has also delved into producing, and she showed off her talents in the soon-to-be-released movie Alice, which she also stars in.
A Glance at Her Philanthropy
Keke Palmer is one to give back. She is active with lots of organizations that support children, such as the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs of America, the Girl Scouts, and Saving Our Daughters, an anti-bullying campaign.
Palmer was also a prominent member of the Black Lives Matter movement, taking to the streets in 2020 to protest the death of George Floyd, and using her position to speak out at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards, which she hosted.
Inside Her Health Issues
Keke Palmer has also been open about her health issues. Not only has she struggled with anxiety and depression her entire life, but she also has polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that affects women’s hormones and causes lots of symptoms like cystic acne, weight gain, and unwanted facial hair.
Keke Palmer in a pink and black dress with Sharon Stone at the premiere of Vertical Entertainment’s “Pimp” at Pacific Theatres at The Grove on November 7, 2018, in Los Angeles, California (Credit: Parisa Michelle / Shutterstock)
Palmer has shared her diagnosis in hopes of raising awareness of the condition and helping others who have it feel less alone.
A Look at Her Personal Life
Keke Palmer is fairly private about her personal life, not often opening up about whom she’s dating, unlike many stars. She has commented on her sexuality, though, noting that she does not want to be labeled.
Queen Latifah and Keke Palmer have starred in two movies together, Barbershop 2: Back in Business and Joyful Noise, but they are not related (Credit: s_bukley / Shutterstock)
Palmer is often thought of as Queen Latifah‘s niece. As mentioned, she starred in two movies alongside Queen Latifah, but that is their only connection. The two are not related and Keke Palmer is not Queen Latifah’s niece.
These days, Keke Palmer is as busy as ever, sharing her creative talents with the world. Her net worth only continues to grow, and it will only increase as she makes more career moves and more content for the rest of us to enjoy.
Keke Palmer wears her dark hair down at the “Scream Queens” event held on March 12, 2016, during PaleyFest in Los Angeles (Credit: Brian To / WENN)
In March 2016, Keke Palmer was well into her 20s and had left her Nickelodeon roots behind.
The then 22-year-old singer showed off her mature side as she attended the “Scream Queens” event held during PaleyFest Los Angeles.
Keke wore a tweed crop bustier top by N12H, which she paired with blue Tracy Reese culottes and a pair of printed toe-cap Greymer pumps.
Keke Palmer shows off her arm tattoo as she poses in an N12H top (Credit: Brian To / WENN)
The actress accessorized with a Lego-inspired clutch from Les Petits Joueurs and jewelry from Luv AJ.
Keke Palmer’s feet in geometric patterned Greymer pumps (Credit: Brian To / WENN)
At the event, Keke talked about her latest single “Enemiez.”
The song, she said, is about love and relationships, and was inspired by both the late singer Aaliyah and TLC.
Keke Palmer and Niecy Nash pose for photos at PaleyFest (Credit: Brian To / WENN)
The singer showed off her powerful dance moves with vocals to match.
KG by Kurt Geiger ‘Barley’ Toe Pointed Court Shoes in Black/White Pony, $73
Manolo Blahnik ‘Tayler’ Printed Pointed D’Orsay Pump in Black/White, $745
Dune ‘Brooklyne’ Stiletto Court Shoes in Black/White, $126