25 Things About 'Joyful Noise' Star Keke Palmer

You first met Keke Palmer in Akeelah and the Bee in 2006; now she's all grown up and ready to take on the world in Joyful Noise. Here's everything you need to know about her!
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25 Things About ‘Joyful Noise’ Star Keke Palmer

You first met Keke Palmer in Akeelah and the Bee in 2006; now she’s all grown up and ready to take on the world in Joyful Noise. Here’s everything you need to know about her!

-Lucia Peters

Keke Palmer

Remember way back in 2006 when a little movie called Akeelah and the Bee introduced the world to a huge new star? That star was 13-year-old Keke Palmer, and gee, wasn’t she just the most adorable little thing! But guess what? Little Keke Palmer grew up, and boy, has she come into her own. After a successful three-year stint on Nickelodeon, Keke, now 18 years old, is set to take the screen by storm in Joyful Noise. Out on Friday, Joyful Noise co-stars Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah as two very different women who must band together when budget cuts threaten to shut down their small-town choir. Keke plays Queen Latifah’s teenage daughter Olivia, an eager-to-date singer in the choir who kicks up a steamy romance with Dolly Parton’s character’s grandson, Randy (Jeremy Jordan). Hot!

But how much do you actually know about this shining new star? Here’s a crash course in everything you need to know about Keke Palmer. Fire away!

1. Keke was born on August 26, 1993, which makes her 18. Man, that makes us feel old!

2. Her dad, Larry, works for a polyurethane company, and her mom, Sharon is a high school teacher who works with children with mental disabilities.

3. Here’s a fun fact: Both of her parents have twins. It’s a wonder Keke didn’t end up with one as well.

4. She’s originally from Illinois.

5. If you think “Keke” sounds like a nickname, you’re right: Her full name is Lauren Keyana Palmer. “Keke” is a shortened version of her middle name.

6. Like most of her contemporaries, Keke is up on her Internet: She’s got a Twitter, an official website, and a MySpace page.

7. Wait a minute—MySpace? Yep. MySpace may be antiquated as a social networking site, but it’s still great for musicians, so that’s what Keke uses it for: her music. Smart.

Akeelah and the Bee

Keke with Laurence Fishburne in ‘Akeelah and the Bee.’

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8. In 2002 when she was just nine years old, Keke auditioned for the role of Young Nala in the Broadway musical The Lion King.

9. Alas, she didn’t get the part; but her parents saw her promise as a young performer, so they all moved to L.A. two years later to help her pursue a career in film.

10. Keke was one of the hopefuls on American Idol spin-off American Juniors during the summer of 2003, but unfortunately her audition scenes were edited out. Ah well; since the show was cancelled after one season, it wasn’t too big of a loss.

11. The first year in L.A., Keke and her parents lived out of hotels. “My parents spent everything to take me to California to pursue my dream, she told AJC. “We went from hotel to hotel. We stayed in a hotel for a year. We didn’t have anything.” Talk about sacrifice.

12. Luckily, success came quickly; her first week in California, she landed a national commercial for Kmart. Hey, everybody’s got to start somewhere!

13. Her first film was 2004’s Barbershop 2: Back in Business. She appeared as Queen Latifah’s niece. Excellent preparation for Joyful Noise, in which she’s playing Queen Latifah’s daughter!

More facts about Keke, including how she met her boyfriend and what’s in the future for her, up next!

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