Words by Taj Rani. Photography by Catie Laffoon. Styling by Evina B. Design by Steve-O.
For those who’ve watched Keke Palmer, born Lauren Keyana “Keke” Palmer, go from child star to a 23-year-old young woman, we’ve witnessed an evolution–a beautiful one at that. Besides perfecting her craft as an actress, we’ve seen her personality shine through, first on the 2013 BET talk show Just Keke and now on social media where she offers an intimate glimpse into her personal life.
At Palmer’s level of success, being a household name may cause some to become stagnant or to disappear from the throne that they’ve created for themselves. However, one thing that this confident, bright woman is not, due her nature, is static. She continues to explore new avenues of expression and eats, sleeps, and breathes her craft.
The triple threat (actress, singer, and dancer) recently released her EP Lauren which explores love and relationships, and serves as a time capsule as to where Palmer is right now. Through tough times, Palmer has learned love is about being open, and that it’s as important to accept someone for who they are as it is for them to accept you for who you are. “We always think that love is about finding that perfect person, but actually, love is about the hard times and the good times,” she tells me during our interview for ILY. “Sometimes the hard times are really what make you two the couple that you want to be. You may go through something and then realize, I really love this person or I’m really down for this person. Love is allowing someone in.”
Days after the release of her self-titled EP, I spoke to Keke Palmer, ILY’s December/January digital cover artist, over the phone to discuss her vision of love.
TAJ RANI: When it comes to love and dating how do you know it’s time to date and when you’ve fallen in love?
KEKE PALMER: I don’t think that there’s a defined time; you’ll know by hanging out. The basis of good relationships are friendships, so if you’re with somebody all the time, you like to hang out, and you have the same vibes then you’ll [define] it with a name. If you don’t need a name or labels for it, you keep on hanging with them–that’s how you know.
Have there been points where you may have fallen so quick that you may have missed signals? Or, are you someone that always goes with your heart?
I go with my heart, but that still doesn’t mean that it’s all going to work out. In going with my heart in all situations, I think that everything has a chance. But, I think in terms of relationships when it comes to love. Love isn’t about finding the perfect person. Love is about finding someone that you accept and accepts you. What I’ve learned with love is that, it’s about finding someone who’s shit you’re willing to put with, and who is willing to put up with your shit. I think that’s what love and relationships really come down to, it’s not just about being good and knowing that this person is right for you because there are always people that are right for somebody.
Love is about finding someone that you accept and accepts you…It’s about finding someone who’s shit you’re willing to put up with, and who is willing to put up with your shit.”
Nobody’s perfect. As humans, we all have our own shit. How do you accept someone’s imperfections?
It’s about pros and cons. It’s about what you think you can handle and you being honest with yourself. Sometimes you don’t love everything about everybody and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Through out all my relationships, it’s been about finding the one that I wouldn’t want to live without.”
What was the inspiration behind your latest EP, Lauren?
It shows my growth, what this journey means, and what that journey is in general. I’ve also been focusing on one’s quality of life, believing in your dreams, believing in what you say, and believing in what your story is–all while being open to what’s next.
Is this EP something that came together as you worked on it, or did you go into the studio with that theme in mind?
It was definitely intentional to tell my story. I always keep my ideas open enough to change according to other things that may inspire me. I allow everything to expand and then I’ll flesh it out. I can say that before finishing, I had been working on it for about two years.
With Lauren being somewhat of an autobiography, what advice would you give to your teen self regarding love and how to navigate that realm of your life?
Have fun and not take everything so personal. Not everybody is on your journey. Not everybody is out to hurt you. Everything is not about everyone else’s journey; it’s about learning to not take everything as a personal attack. It’s about having fun and learning. Through out all my relationships, it’s been about finding the one that I wouldn’t want to live without.
Love is about the hard times and the good times. Sometimes the hard times are really what makes you two the couple that you want to be.”
You’ve been open about stepping into your womanhood and loving yourself, and the importance of being honest with yourself and other people. When did you realize that’s important and that it’s important to love someone else as completely as you can?
You’re only able to keep what you are, so if I don’t really know how to love myself then I can’t love anybody else. I’ve always had love for me, but another layer in love, for me, is having love for other people. We always think that love is about finding that perfect person, but actually, love is about the hard times and the good times. Sometimes the hard times are really what makes you two the couple that you want to be. You may go through something and then realize, I really love this person or I’m really down for this person. Love is allowing someone in.
Check out Keke Palmer’s ILY photo shoot below:
Styling credits: Crykit’s Playhouse (vintage), DKNY, Eddie Bauer (vintage), G-Star, H&M, Joe’s Jeans, PAIGE, Target, and Zara.
I would love to become a model for your company and tell a personal experience and struggle on trying to get into the modeling especially being Afro-Hispanic. Please contact me back with information on how I can go about doing so. Thank you for your time.