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The Making of the Latest Tween Star

May 24, 2010

Things happened in reverse for Keke Palmer.

The 16-year-old actress landed her first job acting alongside silver screen heavyweights Queen Latifah, Ice Cube and Cedric the Entertainer in "Barbershop 2: Back in Business." Critics then fell in love with her in "Akeelah and the Bee," with famed movie critic Roger Ebert saying that after seeing her portrayal in the film, she should be an award contender for her leading role alongside veterans and Oscar contenders Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne. She was 11 at the time.

Clearly, her career was off to a fine start. The problem? No one her age was familiar with her work.

"I'd always done movies with older people, films that we targeted for older people," she says. "My peers didn't really know who I was. I would be out places and parents and teachers would know me -- they'd come up to me and say 'Hey baby! I know who you are!" -- and that would be good, but I wanted the kids to know me, too." Read More