At fifteen, Keke Palmer has already starred in box office hits like Akeelah and the Bee and the Disney movie, Jump In! with Corbin Bleu. Now, Keke has landed the starring role in the new Nickelodeon TV show, True Jackson, VP, premiering on November 8 on 9:30-10:00PM ET, following the new iCarly movie. Keke Palmer sat down with Blogcritics for an exclusive interview.
As Keke describes it, True Jackson, VP is “about a fifteen-year-old girl [True] that gets a vice president job at a huge fashion company. And now she kind of realizes it’s not that different from high school.”
Keke plays main character, True, who “is very optimistic and nice and kind of outgoing and kind of really funny.” Keke also sings the theme song of the show. “I co-wrote it and sang it. I’m really happy about that.”
Keke adds about her cast, “We always joke each other, but the chemistry’s so great, so it’s back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. I guess I couldn’t ask for a better cast. We all get along. We’re all like best friends actually.” There are also embarrassing moments on set like “this one scene, this girl had dropped some water and I wasn’t supposed to fall, but it accidentally happened and I fell on my face.”
On set, Keke and co-star Ashley Argota have school in the morning, “Sometimes — Ashley will tell you — I’ll be pretending I’m reading and I’ll be asleep and my teacher won’t notice.”
“The audition process was really fun,” Keke continued. “I heard about the project and I wanted to read the script. I thought it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever read. It was smart and amazing. I wanted to be on it. So, I auditioned for the show. I put what I thought True’s style would be all together. Luckily, they liked it and I got a call back and another call back and I got the part.”
Asking if she was a fashion expert, Keke said, “Not yet. After this show, I’m sure I can become one.”
Recently, Keke starred in Jump In! with High School Musical’s Corbin Bleu. On that experience, she said, “Oh, Corbin! I had a lot of fun with him. I hadn’t known about him until they told me he was in High School Musical and I had to go watch it now to find out who he is. Working with him was awesome.”
In the past, Keke has always played more serious roles, rather than the funny, comedy roles. Keke told me, “I’ve always been really funny. I’ve always been a comedian in my family. I guess you can call me the ham. I’ve always been cracking jokes, doing that kind of stuff. Witty. It was kind of weird that I’ve always been the serious role. Playing comedy is a lot easier — not necessarily easier, but more natural — because it’s always been what I have done.”
Keke has also released an album (in addition to working on the album for Jump In!) entitled So Uncool. “My CD, So Uncool was released in 2007. I’m so happy about it. It was my first album. It was a great album.”
When asked if singing or acting is more important she responded, “That’s hard. Acting has always been my first love. It’s much easier than singing. Singing you have to do so many things. Acting at least you go on auditions. It’s more straightforward.”
After True Jackson, VP, Keke has plans. “Hopefully I can do another CD soon and things like that so I can get more of my singing out there. I have a movie coming out in 2009 called The Shrink with Kevin Spacey and Robin Williams. And the movie is about Kevin Spacey’s character. He’s a therapist. My character just got over her mother passing. It’s a dramatic role. So, we kind of talk and connect.”
“It was crazy [working with Robin Williams]. It was just crazy. Every time I think of Robin Williams, I don’t think of him as serious. I always think about Jumanji. He can do something serious? It always throws me off in a way. Kevin Spacey’s always a serious actor; knowing I was going to work with him was so exciting.”
As for crazy fan encounters, Keke told me, “I remember this one time, this guy wanted to give me a kiss on the cheek and then he turned his face right on time.”
Keke advises her fans, “Always, always, always go for your goals. Be true to yourself. ‘Cause if you believe it, you can achieve it.” Fans should definitely check out Keke’s new show and be on the lookout for interviews with costars, Ashley Argota and Matthew Shively.