Keke Palmer Sings! From Her Guatemalan Boyfriend to Her Virginal Image

Young actresses like Keke Palmer are needed in Tinseltown to balance the ratio of debauchery and benevolence that tends to lean more toward Lohan than Loretta. There’s a saintliness surrounding the newly turned 18-year-old that could make non-believers in Gen Y convert with ease. Expectantly, Keke–born Lauren Keyana–stars in the upcoming Warner Brothers effort Joyful Noise as Olivia, the coming-of-age daughter who’s striving to refresh old choir hymns and anxious to date.

On a recent Monday, I spoke with the Akeelah and the Bee star to pull back the layers on her “good girl” image. Audiences witnessed the Illinois-born Interscope Records signee come to life alongside Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett. Since that first lead silver screen role, Palmer has found a way to stand out in supporting parts and parlay her success into her own Nickelodeon-housed sitcom True Jackson VP. Spreading love to the Disney sect as well, she also carried the made-for-TV film, Jump In!

It’s not hard to imagine the über modest teenager as the second coming of Oprah, Queen Latifah or Raven-Symoné. With a few notable awards under her belt, a debut album and sights on a beauty venture, the idea of building her own moneymaking empire is not far-fetched. Most anticipated is the shedding of her typecast present to create an invigorating, Oscar-worthy future.

Luckily for us, audiences may soon get a chance to see the transformation. In her forthcoming role in Virgin Mary, a tale about two friends vowing to cast off their pristine virginity by age 18, Palmer and fellow young Hollywood starlet Abigail Breslin intend to upset their pleasant onscreen images with a bit of dark realism. Although we won’t catch a glimpse of Keke’s inner rebel until this year is long gone, we’ve pulled up a seat, grabbed the popcorn and anxiously watch Keke’s real life coming-of-age story.