By Michelle Tauber/Atlanta
April 21, 2008 12:00 PM

Keshia Knight Pulliam knows you recognize her from the eight years she spent as Bill Cosby’s spunky youngest daughter Rudy on The Cosby Show. But, please, give the girl a break when she’s at the gym. “The other day I was doing kickbacks and my butt’s in the air, and it’s like, ‘I don’t mean to bother you….'” Pulliam says of a recent fan encounter. “But I understand that people really did grow up with me.”

Having just turned 29, Pulliam herself is finally starting to feel grown-up. “As you approach 30, it’s this feeling of, ‘I’m like for real an adult,'” says Pulliam, relaxing in her suburban Atlanta home. “I’m like, ‘The time is now to do all the things I really want to do.'” That means signing on for another season of the TBS sitcom Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and opening her own acting studio in Atlanta later this year.

The Spelman College grad also has worked to shed her little-girl image, posing in a swimsuit for Black Men’s magazine in ’04. And she laughs off Internet rumors of drug use: “They were trying to say Rudy is a cokehead! The only time it hurts is when people I feel should know better question me. Like, ‘You know me! Have you ever seen some strange white powder in my nose?'” Looking ahead, the home chef plans to develop a cooking show and hopes to start a family. “I’m single, and I hate dating,” she says. “But I’m not gonna rush. I kinda wanna wait until I find that One.”