The actress and host of BET's new show Just Keke opens up about her mentor's hosting wisdom and her dream guest list

By Jessica Fecteau
Updated July 07, 2014 06:00 PM
Credit: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

When Keke Palmer found out she was one of the youngest people ever to host a daytime talk show, she went straight to the Queen for advice.

Before the actress, 20, kicked off her BET show Just Keke last week, she got a couple hosting pointers from Queen Latifah.

“She was saying it definitely would be a lot of work and to prepare myself for that,” Palmer tells PEOPLE. “And that’s definitely true because there are a lot of hours and everything like that, and a lot of talking involved, hence my voice being hoarse.”

Palmer adds, “And then she said I [should] just be myself – my natural personality. She said I was a natural at it.”

Just Keke targets millennials, delving into topics from social issues and sex to relationships and growing pains.

Palmer’s “biggest crush” and Barbershop 2 costar Michael Ealy, whom she says she gushes about on Twitter, made a surprise guest appearance on the show’s premiere, when he brought her a large bouquet of roses.

Palmer says she would love to welcome another celeb crush, Drake, to the set – “He is one of my favorites” – while Rihanna, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry and Beyoncé round out the new host’s dream guest list.

When it comes to role models for the almost 21-year-old, Palmer says Queen Latifah has always been an inspiration.

“She’s been a big part in my career,” Palmer says of her Joyful Noise costar. “She’s always been a big supporter.”

Just Keke airs weekdays at 5 p.m. ET on BET.

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