'I felt stuck': Keke Palmer reveals feeling 'trapped' as Nickelodeon child star

Keke Palmer also spoke out against being compared to other actors who have taken a similar career path, and the latent racial prejudice of some fans

'I felt stuck': Keke Palmer reveals feeling 'trapped' as Nickelodeon child star
Keke Palmer attends the 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021 in New York City (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES: Keke Palmer's childhood recollections aren't all happy. The 'Nope' star highlighted how being on Nickelodeon limited her opportunities as an actress. Palmer, now 29, recalls being promised an all-expenses-paid trip on the now-defunct Nickelodeon Cruises when she was 15 years old. Though she was aware that she would have to spend a few hours signing signatures, Palmer anticipated that the cruise would be a generally carefree chance for her to interact with her family. Palmer, on the other hand, spent the most of her journey in her hotel room.

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"I felt like I was going around in a SpongeBob outfit that I couldn't get off. I felt stuck," Palmer told The Hollywood Reporter, "I was trapped," says Palmer, who played 'True Jackson', wherein she played a high school student who moonlighted as a fashion executive. "I couldn't leave my room without someone coming up to me calling me True Jackson. What you are, to everyone, is just a character … just part of their experience," the Primetime Emmy winner for her series 'Turnt Up with the Taylors' said.

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Palmer along with her three siblings moved from the Chicago suburbs to Los Angeles when she was 10 years old. She swiftly racked up credits. Her SAG Award-nominated performance in the TV drama 'The Wool Cap' was followed by roles in Madea's Family Reunion and her breakthrough film, 'Akeelah and the Bee', in 2006. The feel-good drama starred Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, and Palmer as the titular girl competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and it spawned an obligatory Disney Channel film, 'Jump In' as well as Nickelodeon's 'True Jackson', at the time she was just 12, reports People.

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However, her feelings of objectification as a result of her job have followed her into adulthood, as she has taken on more mature projects such as 'Alice', 'Hustlers', and 'Masters of Sex'. And the manner in which admirers approach her continues to perplex her. She's also spoken out against being compared to other actors who have taken a similar career path, notably the latent racial prejudice of some fans who compare her to 'Euphoria' star Zendaya.

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“What I wanted people to understand is that comparing me to someone solely based off of our complexions is colorism,” Palmer says. “There are very real scenarios of colorism, racism and sexism. You don’t need to make them up. And I don’t want these little Black girls to be out there thinking they’ll never be enough, especially in their community’s eyes,” she added.

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