You should format the text placeholder by selecting the entire placeholder (SHIFT+click). That 'global' format will affect all text in the placeholder, including the first level. If you want to format the bullet symbols or font for lower levels (second level, third level, etc.) use this procedure.
Click the level you wish to change. Then right-click or use the Formatting toolbar to make changes.
Use the Font command or the Font Color button to choose the font color. The first level of text should be formatted with the Font Color labeled Automatic or Follow Text and Lines Scheme Color. Lower levels should be formatted with the Font Colors labeled Automatic, Follow Text and Lines Scheme Color, Follow Title Text Scheme Color, or, the shadow color, but only if you are not going to use shadow effects on text. If you are not actually using hyperlinks, you can format text placeholders with the color scheme colors for accent & hyperlink or accent & followed hyperlink.
Format placeholders with valid color scheme colors. If you don't see the color you want on the "first row" of a color palette, then modify the color scheme.