The 29-year-old was only 15 when she landed her second major role in the late 2000s teen sitcom, two years after her breakout role in the 2006 film Akeelah and the Bee.
Palmer starred as the titular True Jackson, with the Nope star recalling in a new interview how she and her family were offered an all-inclusive holiday on the (now defunct) Nickelodeon Cruises following the show’s success.
The only condition was that she spend a few hours signing autographs.
“I felt like I was walking around in a SpongeBob suit that I couldn’t take off,” Palmer said told The Hollywood Reporter.
“I was trapped. I couldn’t leave my room without someone coming up to me calling me True Jackson. What you are, to everyone, is just a character… just part of their experience.”
With those years far behind her now, Palmer has since made a name of herself, both on screen and through her flamboyant interviews and social media posts.
“I’m a quirky artist, but I’m an artist, and it’s important for people to understand that Keke is just a part of who I am,” she explained.
“It’s been a winding road of trying to figure out how to do what I love but also exist outside of this caricature.”
Palmer’s latest work includes starring opposite Daniel Kaluuya in Jordan Peele’s latest horror sci-fi Nope. Read The Independent’s five-star Nope review here.
Next month, she will make her Saturday Night Live hosting debut alongside musical guest SZA.