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Looking at Keke Palmer’s Essence magazine cover makes me want to shout, “she’s a grooooown woman!” The girl we loved in “Akeelah and the Bee” has turned into a full blown woman with several accomplishments under her belt this year, including becoming the first Black Cinderella on Broadway, starring in VH1’s TLC movie, and landing her own talk show, and she’s talking about all of it in Essence’s first issue of 2015.

“I know that the role of Cinderella is primarily for a Caucasian girl, but it didn’t stop me from going in and it didn’t stop them from seeing me,” Keke said of landing the biggest role of her career so far. “There is a bit of intimidation. You think about Denzel, Viola Davis, and you think, ‘Only great people can do Broadway.’ That was the scariest thing about it, but I’m the type who thrives on pressure.”

There’s certainly been a lot of pressure in Keke’s life this year. The actress not only had nude photos of her leaked online, she also dealt with a very tough breakup. Thanks to her parents and her relationship with God, Keke said she’s been able to deal with the blows.

“I realized that I’m a lot freer of a spirit,” she said of being single. “That was the beginning of me standing up for myself. I would love to have somebody but this is such a great time in my life, in my career. I really am liking myself.”

We’re liking you too boo! Check out Keke’s full Essence interview in the January 2015 issue which is on newsstands now.

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