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'I was trapped': Keke Palmer says she fainted on a cruise at 15 while struggling with childhood fame


Keke Palmer reflected on the struggles of growing up in the spotlight under intense pressure, after landing very own Nickelodeon series True Jackson, VP, in 2008. 

The 29-year-old actress, who drew rave reviews for her breakout performance as an 11-year-old spelling prodigy in Akeelah and the Bee (2006), admitted that being a household name came with challenges during a new interview with THR. 

While recalling her decision to accept a week-long Nickelodeon cruise for her entire family back in 2009, in exchange for a few hours signing autographs, the singer said the stress from her voyage caused her to faint ‘from anxiety.’

On top of the world: Keke Palmer reflected on the struggles of growing up in the public eye under intense pressure, after landing very own Nickelodeon series True Jackson, VP, in 2008

On top of the world: Keke Palmer reflected on the struggles of growing up in the public eye under intense pressure, after landing very own Nickelodeon series True Jackson, VP, in 2008

‘I felt like I was walking around in a SpongeBob suit that I couldn’t take off,’ the Scream Queens star said, after noting she could barely leave her cabin. ‘I was trapped.’

She continued: ‘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.’ 

Still, Palmer acknowledged that she understands that the ‘child-star storyline’— in which the price of fame causes a myriad of problems for talented young actors like Britney Spears, Amanda Bynes and Lindsay Lohan —  has been ‘beat over the head.’ 

Child star: The 29-year-old actress, who drew rave reviews for her breakout performance as an 11-year-old spelling prodigy in Akeelah and the Bee (2006), admitted that being a household name came with challenges during a new interview with THR (pictured as a teen)

Child star: The 29-year-old actress, who drew rave reviews for her breakout performance as an 11-year-old spelling prodigy in Akeelah and the Bee (2006), admitted that being a household name came with challenges during a new interview with THR (pictured as a teen)

So much pressure: While recalling her decision to accept a week-long Nickelodeon cruise for her entire family back in 2009, in exchange for a few hours signing autographs, the singer said the stress from her voyage caused her to faint 'from anxiety' (seen in 2006)

So much pressure: While recalling her decision to accept a week-long Nickelodeon cruise for her entire family back in 2009, in exchange for a few hours signing autographs, the singer said the stress from her voyage caused her to faint ‘from anxiety’ (seen in 2006)

Still, she points out: ‘For the people who think that a normal childhood is overrated, nothing’s overrated if you didn’t have it.’ 

On a recent trip to Arizona with her boyfriend, the Hustlers actress recalled going to an Eagles game and Dave & Buster’s. 

When spotted by fans at Dave & Buster’s, she said people asked her: ‘What are you doing here?’ 

'I felt like I was walking around in a SpongeBob suit that I couldn’t take off,' the Scream Queens star said, after noting she could barely leave her cabin. 'I was trapped' (seen in 2015)

‘I felt like I was walking around in a SpongeBob suit that I couldn’t take off,’ the Scream Queens star said, after noting she could barely leave her cabin. ‘I was trapped’ (seen in 2015)

Still, Palmer acknowledged that she understands that the ‘child-star storyline’— in which the price of fame causes a myriad of problems for talented young actors like Britney Spears, Amanda Bynes and Lindsay Lohan — has been 'beat over the head'; seen this year in Nope

Still, Palmer acknowledged that she understands that the ‘child-star storyline’— in which the price of fame causes a myriad of problems for talented young actors like Britney Spears, Amanda Bynes and Lindsay Lohan — has been ‘beat over the head’; seen this year in Nope

‘Same reason as you, dude! Playing games and winning tickets. Where else do you expect me to do that?’ the star mused. 

Despite earning an Emmy Award, five NAACP Image Awards, and a spot on Time magazine’s most influential people in the world in 2019, Palmer alluded to feeling underrated. 

‘I think people always sleep on you,’ the performer said of taking her career into her own hands. ‘If you don’t at least worry about that, you’re in trouble.’

Despite earning an Emmy Award, five NAACP Image Awards, and a spot on Time magazine's most influential people in the world in 2019, Palmer alluded to feeling underrated

Despite earning an Emmy Award, five NAACP Image Awards, and a spot on Time magazine’s most influential people in the world in 2019, Palmer alluded to feeling underrated

Palmer, who will host Saturday Night Live in December, also reflected on wanting to ‘exist and not be challenged on’ her sex and sexuality. 

‘F**k gender,’ she stated during the interview. 

In July, Palmer pushed back on comparisons of her to Zendaya on social media, which she called an ‘example of colorism.’

In a league of her own: In July, Palmer pushed back on comparisons of her to Zendaya on social media, which she called an 'example of colorism'

In a league of her own: In July, Palmer pushed back on comparisons of her to Zendaya on social media, which she called an ‘example of colorism’ 

The actress spoke on the topic amid chatter that her role in Nope, could elevate her star stature to that of Zendaya’s. 

The Harvey, Illinois native, however, pointed out her achievements in a pair of tweets, and how it correlated with the colorism she said was in play amid the tenor of the discussion on social media. 

‘A great example of colorism is to believe I can be compared to anyone,’ Palmer said. ‘I’m the youngest talk show host ever. The first Black woman to star in her own show on Nickelodeon, & the youngest & first Black Cinderella on broadway. I’m an incomparable talent. Baby, THIS, is Keke Palmer.’ 

Palmer noted her near two decades in show business, as she said, ‘I’ve been a leading lady since I was 11 years old. I have over 100+ credits, and currently starring in an original screenplay that’s the number one film at the box office #NOPE. I’ve had a blessed career thus far, I couldn’t ask for more but God continues to surprise me.’ 

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