Keke Palmer on Authenticity, Acne & Advocating for Others for InStyle Magazine

Posted on April 07, 2021

With ferocious confidence, Keke Palmer always puts her realest self forward – whether people like it or not. Palmer covers InStyle’s May subscriber issue, opening up about her longtime struggle with acne, an underlying hormone disorder, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), her IDGAF attitude on Instagram, and motivating others to find their purpose.








  • On embracing her authentic self without outside validation: “I got tired of trying to be who everybody wanted me to be. There’s always going to be something that people hate me for, whether it’s wanting me to not be Black, or a woman, or tall, or short, or skinny, or thick. Other people might love me for it, but I don’t want to constantly change who I am for out­side validation. That just sounds like hell.” “I’d rather be loved or hated for being myself than for being somebody I’m not. If people don’t like that I tell it like it is, then they should at least be able to respect me for being real.”


  • On navigat­ing a love-hate relationship with makeup since her early teens: “I was constantly hiding myself and felt shame about having acne,” she remembers. “Wearing makeup became a chore because I always had to be ‘on’ wherever I went in case a fan asked me to take a picture; I didn’t have the proper boundaries to say no. So instead of getting to the bot­tom of my acne and trying to understand it, I was covering it up, trying to be perfect. But you’re never going to get to the nitty-gritty of something when you do a lot of covering up.”


  • On going public with her PCOS diagnosis to help others: “I feel most beautiful when I’m being kind and of service to others,” she says. “As females, we need to advocate for ourselves, because everything [in society] is kind of a rule-of-thumb by males. But it shouldn’t be weird for us to talk about our health issues or demand what we need when we go to the doctor. We make it weird, but it’s not really weird—and the more that we talk about it, the less of an issue it will become.”


  • On her full-circle career moment coming back to the place where it all began: “I started with Disney when I was 10 years old, and I’ve worked my way up,” she says. “I’m ready to usher in a new generation of creative talent coming up behind me, especially from lower-income communities. I don’t run from my past, and I’m not ashamed that I came from poverty. I want other people to know they’re beautiful not in spite of, but because of, where they come from. It’s not about changing who you are to step through the doors; it’s about being who you are when you get there.”


  • On keeping it real on social media, but maintaining her privacy: “All an entertainer really wants is to cater to their audience, but you subject yourself to so much craziness when you solely engage on social media,” she says. “A lot of people want to get in your force field, and you have to find ways to maintain privacy. I know young girls are looking at my page, and I keep it real with them—but that doesn’t mean I’m going to overexpose my personal life. And when I’m talking personal, it’s like, who you slept with last night. You ain’t got to share that! My love life is a very big line that I won’t cross.”


The May issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download April 16.



Style Credits:
Cover:: Versace Bra and Skirt | Swarovski Choker | Cartier Bracelets
Image 1: Mugler Bodysuit and Tights | Fallon Jewelry Earrings | Cartier Bracelets | Moschino Couture Pumps
Image 2: Etro Jacket, Swimsuit, and Belt | Panconesi Earrings | Versace Mules


[Photo Credit: Quil Lemons/InStyle Magazine]

Please review our Community Guidelines before posting a comment. Thank you!

blog comments powered by Disqus