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Talent Show: Teen Celebrities and Their Dedicated Moms

For famous teens Victoria Justice, Keke Palmer, Mitchel Musso, Shawn Johnson, and Jennifer Stone, inspiration starts with their family. Read their stories here.

By Patty A. Martinez

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Victoria Justice and Serene Justice-Reed
Jonathan Skow
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Victoria Justice and Serene Justice-Reed

At 17 years old, the singing and dancing star of Nickelodeon's Victorious has finally learned the art of parental appreciation for her mom Serene, dad Zack, and stepdad Mark. "I ask my mom for advice on everything, from my hair to work-related stuff to what I should say to a boy," says Victoria, whose family moved from Hollywood, Florida, to Los Angeles when she was 11 so she could pursue acting.

As is true for most families, their mother-daughter relationship wasn't always so chummy. "It's been only recently that Victoria started thinking I was a cool mom," says Serene, 52. "For a while she viewed us as enemies for enforcing a curfew or saying no." Victoria, whose mom describes her as "wise beyond her years," realizes the error of her earlier ways. "I had adolescent syndrome," she laughs. "I thought parents didn't understand anything, and that I could talk only to my friends. But that's changed. Now my mom is the one person I trust."

Serene says there's no magic trick to strengthening the mother-daughter bond. It takes time, patience, and lots of conversations. "I try to make everything in life a teachable example," says Serene. "If a celebrity does something wrong and gets in trouble, we talk about why it was bad. If Victoria meets a new friend, I ask what she likes about her, then suggest she strive to achieve those qualities in herself." Much to Serene's surprise—and delight—Victoria sees admirable characteristics in her mom as well. "I wish I could wake up as happy and as perky as she is, instead of feeling grumpy for the first hour I'm out of bed," says Victoria. "It's something I hope eventually rubs off on me. But even more important, my mom is kind, compassionate, accepting, and attentive—the type of person you always want to have around."

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