Elvis Presley: Why Riley Keough Says She’s Not ‘Ashamed in Anyway’ of Being the King’s Granddaughter

by Josh Lanier

Riley Keough said it doesn’t bother her when she’s introduced as the granddaughter of Elvis Presley. The 32-year-old actress finds it more fascinating that everyone else is so interested in that fact.

Keough, who is promoting her new movie Zola, spoke with The Guardian about the film, and her unique childhood, growing up switching from playing at Michael Jackson’s Neverland to sleeping on a mattress on the floor then back again.

To begin with, Keough never met her grandfather. Elvis Presley died 12 years before she was born. So, she gathered information about him the way the rest of us did. All she knew was that he was “very, very famous. I knew the situation. I just didn’t really think about it that much.”

But it’s fine if you introduce her as Elvis Presley’s granddaughter. She won’t mind.

“Why should I? It’s a fact. And I’m not ashamed of that in any way.”

Keough is the daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and Danny Keough, a bass player in Lisa Marie’s band. When they split, Lisa Marie married Michael Jackson, the King of Pop. But Keough’s dad struggled. So, it was an odd swing when she’d leave Jackson’s homemade magic kingdom for a trailer.

“I grew up very privileged with my mother,” she says. “But my dad didn’t live like that. And I think experiencing both sides has been helpful. My father had mattresses on the floor of his apartments. He lived in cabins and trailer parks. He just didn’t have much money.”

But she cherishes those memories with her dad. She enjoyed staying with him so much, she once told him that she hoped to be “poor like you” when she grows up.

“Actually, my memories of growing up with him were so colourful and eccentric and fun. It was a good vibe, you know? When I was like eight I told him, ‘I want to grow up and be poor like you!’ He was eating a bowl of cereal. I didn’t realise how wildly offensive that was!”

Riley Keough Stars in New Movie ‘Zola’

Riley Keough is already receiving critical acclaim for her role in the new movie Zola, which is scheduled for release on Wednesday, June 30.

Anyone who was on Twitter in 2015 likely remembers the story. A stripper (Keough’s Zola) meets a sex worker and decides to travel with her to Florida. What she doesn’t know is her new friend’s pimp, Z, has some shady plans for the group. The nearly 150-tweet thread went viral as it was being published tweet-by-tweet. It was like reading a best-selling novel as it came out of a dot-matrix printer. The story became one of the most talked-about and shared moments of the year.

The story was so popular that Rolling Stone interviewed her for a story called “Zola Tells All: The Real Story Behind the Greatest Stripper Saga Ever Tweeted.”

It’s safe to say this movie isn’t for kids.

Janicza Bravo directed Zola, and Jeremy O. Harris, who penned Slave Play, wrote the script. The movie stars Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Nicholas Braun, Ari’el Stachel, and Colman Domingo.