Keke Palmer talks career, passion and success in discussion with students

The Lantern
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Keke Palmer attends the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit at Brooklyn Expo Center on September 18, 2019 in New York City. Credit: Courtesy of Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images/TNS

​​Keke Palmer discussed the importance of staying true to herself and finding balance in her career during “ Convos with Keke ft. Keke Palmer ,” an event hosted by the Ohio Union Activities Board.

Palmer — an actress, singer and activist — led an inspirational conversation with Ohio State students Monday in the Ohio Union, speaking about her experiences, ambitions and tips for success. Palmer landed an early role in “The Wool Cap” when she was 10 years old, according to OUAB’s website , and discussed her more recent role in the new movie “Alice” during the event.

In the film, directed by Krystin Ver Linden, Alice, an enslaved woman yearning for freedom, escapes from her plantation and realizes she’s traveled to 1973, according to the film’s trailer . Palmer said this role allowed her to compare what her ancestors went through to the freedom Black people have today.

“We got to look at history to make sure we don’t repeat it,” Palmer said. “Krystin Ver Linden wanted to pay an ode to the Black exploitation era.”

Oumy Camara, a first-year in biomedical science, said as a musical theater minor, she was inspired by Palmer talking about her career — especially because she started in entertainment very young and wants to use her platform to build opportunities for her community. She said Palmer’s ambition has inspired her to create a minority-based theater group on campus in the future.

“It was a really empowering event, especially to us Black students,” Camara said. “I felt like she went out of her way to push us to fight for our voices and for them to be continued to be heard.”

Palmer said much of her success has come from remaining focused on the smaller picture and taking things one step at a time in life.

“None of it really means anything if you don’t have your mind,” Palmer said. “You really have to take care of your mind in any profession.”

Palmer also talked about how, throughout her career, she has struggled to find a balance between her own desires and the pressures put on her by the entertainment industry. Sarah Ndiaye, a first-year in psychology, said she feels students also face similar pressures to be high-achieving and competitive.

“When you see other students being involved in so many clubs and taking charge, it makes you also feel like you have to reach that type of level,” Ndiaye said. “As much as being the best is important, you also have to make sure that you’re in the right mental state so that you don’t take on more than you can handle.”

Within her career, Palmer said she has discovered the importance of being honest and true to herself and said these core values can apply to anyone, especially other members of her generation.

“We have that sass, we have that face, we just have to know how to organize,” Palmer said. “The hope, the faith, the belief that we have, the passion — I’m very proud of us.”

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