September 27, 2023

Keke Palmer grew up right before our eyes. At 30, she is not the child star we once knew. After all, she is a “motha” now.

The “Big Boss” credits her glow-up over the past year to two not-so-secret weapons—her son, Leodis Andrellton, also known as Leo, and her creative director, Sergio Hudson.

She welcomed her doting baby boy into the world back in late February. When Palmer announced her pregnancy on Saturday Night Live last December, she declared her journey into motherhood was her biggest blessing and even addressed critics who were made uncomfortable by the news.

“Even though some people feel a little weird about me having a baby cause I was a child actor, I just wanna say, look, I’m 29, I’m grown, I have sex, I own a home, I stormed the Capitol on January 6, you know? Things adults do,” the KeyTV mogul joked.

Once Leo made his debut, she slowly made hers—as a grown woman. After announcing in 2020 that she suffered  from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), Palmer thanked pregnancy for “curing” her acne and teased, “Call me Keke…Wyatt, ‘cuz I’m about to be pregnant for the rest of my life.”

Two months postpartum, the Nope actress shared that Leo not only cleared her skin, but gave her a “buh-buh-buh-body!” In her unserious standard mannerism, Palmer added, “Hips? NEVER HAD EM’! Boobs? Never had em’! Booty? Barely. Thanks son.”

Then came her style evolution with the help of Hudson. Reflecting on their first moment of synchronicity, she spoke on the magic she felt the night of the 2023 Met Gala with ESSENCE.

“I feel like I was the most beautiful woman there,” Palmer remembered. “And then Sergio being beside me made the whole thing that much better, because he was acting like my mom, Sharon. It was so funny. He was like, ‘Get out there and talk to these people. You need to work the room. These people need to see how good you look.’ He was breathing so much life into me. It makes me feel a little bit emotional now, talking about it, because I honestly feel like he brought me back to the world, honey. He really did.”

Hudson recalled that unparalleled feeling as well. ​​“Keke was so happy in her skin. The challenge was that she literally had just had the baby. So she was changing by the day. I think we measured her like three or four times. And when she actually came to the final fitting, we had to take the dress in like maybe two, three inches. It was a lot. Her body was ever-changing, is still changing—so it was fun to make her feel confident in that moment.”

Since the Met Gala, he shared that there hasn’t been a look that he hasn’t been involved in. For Palmer’s 30th birthday, we take a stroll down memory lane at some of her best grown and sexy looks.

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