"We all have so many different personalities," Palmer told PEOPLE at the Essence Festival

By Jeff Nelson
Updated July 05, 2015 08:05 PM
Corbis; FilmMagic; AKM-GSI; FameFlynet

Sisterhood rules on the set of Scream Queens.

“It feels like we’re our own little sorority house,” Keke Palmer told PEOPLE Saturday after her Empowerment panel at the Essence Festival in New Orleans. “We have seven, eight of us, and we all have so many different personalities.”

In Ryan Murphy‘s latest dark comedy-horror – which is being billed as a HeathersFriday the Thirteenth hybrid – Emma Roberts, Palmer, Ariana Grande,Lea Michele and Abigail Breslin star as the sisters of Kappa Kappa Tau (with, wait for it, Jaimie Lee Curtis as their house mom!).

What makes it even more fun for Palmer is working with people – like Roberts, Nick Jonas and, especially, Grande – she grew up alongside in the industry.

“Ariana and I spent time [together] doing Nickelodeon stuff. Our shows were on at the same time, so we spent a lot of promo times together,” says Palmer, who adds they met an important milestone together, too.

“We actually tested out of school together! We rode there with our moms – we were about 16 or 17 – so I definitely have a relationship with Ariana before we did the show. And seeing all her success, I’ve always been so happy for her.”

Palmer, 21, says all their personalities actually contribute to their characters.

“It’s so funny how Ryan and the writers pick up on that and incorporate many different things of that into our characters,” she says. “As the show is written more and more, you see how he’s picked up certain things from certain actors and implemented it into the character.”

So what attribute of Palmer’s did they write into her character?

“Probably my old-school-ish vibe. I’ve got a very Auntie thing about me,” she says with a laugh, before throwing on a thick Southern drawl: “I’m like,’Ohh, Honey, don’t do that.’ I have a little bit of that to me, and I think he’s definitely picked up on it and added that little Southern twang to my character.”

Scream Queens premieres on Fox this fall.