Teen actress KeKe Palmer is best known for her role in 2006’s hit family film “Akeelah and the Bee.”

Fast forward six years, several movies, and a music debut, and you’ll see Palmer has grown up right before our eyes.

PHOTOS: 15 Most Beautiful Young Starlets

With a sizzling interracial romance in “Joyful Noise” (out today), Palmer seems ready to shed her child star image. “‘Joyful Noise’ is definitely a real coming of age film for me,” she tells ESSENCE.com. “It just shows that I’m growing up.”

Asked how she felt prepping for her first on-screen kiss with co-star Jeremy Jordan, the 18-year-old reveals it was slightly awkward to pucker up for the cameras. “I was so nervous about it because it had a lot of elements like [Jeremy] putting me on a kitchen table — like that was some grown people type stuff,” she says coyly.

“It was my first adult kiss!”

PHOTOS: 30 Black Films That Need a Sequel

Now that its over, Palmer says she’s ready for her next love scene, with a few requirements. “As long as it’s one of those done in the dark I don’t see any problem with it,” she jokes.

Click here for an exclusive listen to the “Joyful Noise” soundtrack.


Loading the player...