Did you know that Keke Palmer, star of the Nickelodeon show True Jackson, VP, has met President Obama? I didn’t know that until last week when Keke Palmer came to Scholastic headquarters in Manhattan to read to her fans at the Scholastic Store and answer your questions.
What else did Keke have to say? Well — check out all of Keke’s answers to your questions:
What does Obama being President mean to you?
Keke: Obama being President — I mean, it makes me feel so good, and I hate saying all the time, “Oh the first African-American president.” I mean, that’s such a great thing, but also he’s a president that’s representing more than just us, African Americans. He’s representing change and a new day and a better time, and that’s mainly what I’m looking forward to. I’m so so excited about this, and I can’t wait to see what else better is to come. And I met him! I met him before at NAACP when I was about 12 and he had just come out with one of his books and it was when he was still working in Chicago. It was very quick, and I was like, “Nice to meet you.” And I never would have thought in a million years — it just never crossed my mind that he would run for President. I wish I would have said some more things to him. It was awesome.
That’s amazing! And then at the Inauguration, did you meet him or did you just talk to his kids?
Keke: I met his wife and his children, and you always forget — I guess you always just think of them as the President’s wife, President’s children — you never really think of them as just normal people. But when I talked to them it was just as if I was talking to my aunt or somebody very educated. It was just great talking to her. She was this normal person and I was like, “I can’t believe I’m talking to you!”
What did the girls ask you?
Keke: Oh, they were just saying how much fun they were having and they were glad I was there and they love my show, and it’s funny and it was just — they were normal kids like my little brother and sister. A little better-behaved, though. [laughs] They were just so sweet, and I don’t even think they realize that they have basically the whole world in their hands. They wanted to party, and it was, “Look at the party!” But it wasn’t even about that for them; it’s just having a good time and I’m sure they’re very proud of their father. They’re just normal kids.
I heard you mention that they really like Lulu on your show.
Keke: Yes, and it was a big thing for me to tell her [Ashley Argota, who plays Lulu] that, because she’s one of the people that’s really getting started in terms of TV. She did a lot of theater, but it’s her first time in real TV. And she and Matt (he plays Ryan on the show), they go sometimes to these websites and it kind of gets to them. I guess when you first come in you always are curious of what people think. And it kind of got to her about what some of the people were saying — just being critical and really jealous. And when I talked to the [Obama] girls I was just so excited that they said that, that their favorite character was Lulu. I was like, “Oh my gosh!” I was about to call her up while the show was happening because I was just so excited. It meant so much for me to tell her and let her know that just as many people are jealous and don’t like you, there’s so many more that do — so many more that do appreciate your character and that do like you. I wanted to tell her that.
Splotter Zara asked: Keke, I wanted to ask you who inspires you.
Keke: Who inspires me. I’d have to say the people around me inspire me as well as doing the acting itself — the beauty of it and the outcome of it and the way that it makes people feel. That always inspires me to keep going even if I feel down or, “Oh, I don’t want to do it.” I always think about how it makes people feel and internally how happy it makes me; that always keeps me going and I always have a great time doing it.
Splotter Felicia asked: Your character is a designer on the show, but do you design clothes? And if you do, would you give some tips? Because I want tips from the best designer ever — you!
Keke: Aww, that’s so sweet! Actually, I don’t design, but I would love to design. I feel that the more I’m around fashion, more around this type of stuff, the more I can pick up things. I mean, there’s art that I’ve seen that has just — being around it so much it just made me get a feel of how to do it. And so I hope the more that I’m around the people that I work with in the wardrobe styles, they can help me maybe be able to design. But I always say, if somebody were to ask me, I’m not the best design person, but it’s always great to go out on a limb, even if it’s crazy. Just try it and see how it works out. I always say it’s better to go super far and pull back than go less and have to keep pushing.
Splotter Zara asked: I’m wondering how you feel about teen celebs in the press, because of scandals. How do you stay out of that?
Keke: I feel like everything that goes on is publicized. There’s so much of the same thing that is going on in the real world . . . happening in regular school, that it’s just not as publicized . . . I’m not the kind of person that always goes out or anything like that. So I just keep my stuff to myself; I have both a mixture of normal friends and people in the business that I think balances me out a little bit. I’m not the perfect kid, but I do try to make sure that I don’t get too much into that publicity type stuff and don’t do anything that’s going to make my parents feel disappointed or people around me feel disappointed. Like I said, I’m not perfect, but I always try to keep away from all that.
— Carly H., STACKS Staffer