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2015 is definitely Keke Palmer’s year. Hot on the heels of playing Cinderella on Broadway, and starring in Queen Latifah’s coming of age flick Brotherly Love, Palmer has nabbed two new roles; playing ZayDay Bubblegum in Ryan Murphy’s new horror comedy series Scream Queens (premiering this fall) and Marty Maraschino in Grease: Live (airing in 2016).

HipHollywood caught up with the 21-year-old to talk about her amazing year and how she’s handled the success. “I try not to get caught up on societies idea of my success,” explained Palmer. “There’s always going to be year thats more popular or what have you than another. I just try focus on how happy I am about the work that I’m doing.”

And that work has definitely proven to be exciting and groundbreaking. Palmer became the first African American woman to play Cinderella on Broadway, and will be the first black actress to play Marty (originally Italian in the film) in Grease:Live.

“I’m very excited to play the character Marty because she was in the movie a little bit, but not a lot, so I feel like I won’t be so influenced by the character and still be able to add my own twist to it, said Palmer. “And it’s exciting because she wasn’t originally African American so I’m excited about being able to bring something different to the classic.”

But when Palmer isn’t working, she’s inspiring young kids, most recently appearing at Warren Lane Elementary School in Inglewood to help unveil their new mural dedicated to Olympic champion Jesse Owens.

“When I got to maybe 13 (years old) it became big for my parents to make sure that aside from doing acting and the entertainment industry that I also made time for my peers,” explained the Chicago native.  “If its a word or anything that I can say to remind them of how special they are I want to be that person to do it.”

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