In our 2016 World’s Most Beautiful Issue, we recognize Keke Palmer as one of the irreplaceable women who continuously inspire us with their beauty, both inside and out.
At the young age of 22, the outspoken actress-singer has already taught us enough about personal growth that she could fill a book – oh wait, she already did that.
Below, 10 beautiful lessons from Palmer about eliminating the negativity, nurturing your own happiness and everything in between:
1. You don’t have to give in to the pressure to define your sexuality.
“The ["I Don’t Belong To You"] video was to represent the young woman today – it’s not the traditional woman anymore – and not the specifics of ‘Am I gay? Am I straight? Am I bi?’ I’m making the rules for myself, and I don’t have to be stuck down to one label I don’t feel the need to define nothin’ to nobody, because I’m always changing. Why say that I’m this or that when I might not be tomorrow? I’m gonna follow my own feelings and my own heart.”
– to PEOPLE
2. You decide what beautiful means to you.
“We don’t all need to look the same. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you decide what’s beautiful in the world. Not the other way around.”
– on Instagram
3. Haters don’t deserve the pleasure of a response.
“Just as many people that love me, hate me too. I get really mean, mean, mean, mean comments on Twitter and it just comes with the territory In the past I’ve sometimes responded back and more so now I’m trying my best to not ever respond ever again because I feel like those people that do that don’t deserve the attention.”
– to The Huffington Post
4. Never settle for something just because it feels safe.
“It’s challenging sometimes getting out of a negative situation because even though it might be negative it’s predictable. Predictability sometimes feels safer, but the beauty of living through your passion is every turn is unknown. You’re writing your own story as you go!”
– on Instagram
5. Living your truth is the only perfection there is.
“We’re all weirdos, and people want to work so hard to fit into society, but it’s like no matter what you do, you’re never going to be what society depicts as what’s perfect because that’s not real. The only point that you have to make is that ‘I’m being me.’ Just do you, go with the flow and with your life because that’s you experiencing life. You being yourself is you doing your purpose, so the more we get out of the mindset of thinking there’s a certain way to go about things, the more free we become.”
– to Cosmopolitan
For even more from our squad of stunners, click here to head to our Snapchat Discover channel, where we’re celebrating all things Most Beautiful.
6. Shame and fear are a waste of time.
“There’s nothing to EVER be ashamed of. Shame is the biggest trick your ego can play on you to set limitations on your life experience. You were born to MAKE MANIFEST! Anything you have experienced or gone through has only been to prepare you. Do not believe in the delusion of FEAR, it is a CHOICE.”
– on Instagram
7. You can’t love anyone else properly until you fully love yourself.
“It’s very fun to be single, because you know what happens? You find yourself. You understand what it means to love yourself, instead of putting all this energy into give and tug in a relationship. ”
“Because that’s what happens. When you first fall in love, everything’s all gravy. It’s all good, it’s all clean. And then you start depending on the other person for your happiness. And then it becomes a pull and tug between your egos. You want them to go your way, and they want you to go their way. And if you have that love within yourself, you won’t be looking for it in somebody else. You’ll be able to give and give and give, without feeling like you need to receive. Because you receive it from yourself.”
– on Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club
8. Appreciate your experiences with pain because they’re part of your journey to fulfillment.
“[sic] Whatever your passion is – entertainment, business, technology – It is meant to be of service to our world! And sometimes, it takes loneliness, depression and anxiety – LIFE – before you know what you have to give to the world! Pain, happiness, sadness are all a part of our journey of becoming who we knew we were as children. Don’t let it make you think it is a punishment, no, you’re being molded. Let the spirit be the guide … All we need to do is be patient with ourselves. Be patient with our hearts, be honest, & we will find our way.”
– on Instagram
9. Take the time to truly get to know yourself.
“My mom always told me as a child, have a relationship with God. Very early on, I would just pray, and talk, and speak aloud and get comfortable with myself and comfortable with my spirit. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve transitioned into meditation or yoga and things like that but ultimately it’s just being real with who you are. There s a point that you reach in your life when it s like, ‘What am I gonna do to reach my goals? How am I going to get my dreams completed?’ You need to be a hundred with yourself. If you’re being fake you need to be like, ‘I’m being fake.’ I think I just reached the point where I wasn t going to let anything stop me from pursuing my dreams and sharing what I had to share with the world. The ambition from that has allowed me to be close to who I really am.”
– to The Fader
10. Failure is just an opportunity to improve.
“You have to understand that when things go wrong in your life it doesn’t mean you need to quit. It means you need to get stronger and change your plan. You have to fight for your dreams.”
– to Ebony