The movie is centred around the circus showman P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) who created the Barnum and Bailey Circus and it tells the story of the lives of its main attractions and Barnum’s quest to entertain the audience with things they had never seen before.
Keala Settle is the actress who plays the bearded woman – Lettie Lutz – in The Greatest Showman.
She is an Hawaiian actor and singer and is a relative newcomer to Hollywood but stars alongside the likes of Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron and Zendaya in the film.
One of the songs she performs in the film, ‘This is Me’, has been nominated for a Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice award and is on the shortlist at the Oscars for Best Original Song.
It has been written and arranged by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul who were the duo behind the La La Land soundtrack and other films including A Christmas Story, Dogfight, Dear Evan Hansen and James and the Giant Peach.
‘This is Me’ is sung from the perspective of the bearded lady along with her fellow misfits, with lyrics such as “When the sharpest words wanna cut me down/Gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out/I am brave, I am bruised/ I am who I’m meant to be, this is me” and is about not wanting to hide from the world.
The actress, who was nominated for a Tony Award for her role as Norma Valverde in the Broadway production Hands on a Hardbody, is the eldest of five children and grew up in Hawaii with her Polynesian, New Zealand-born mother, Susanne and her British-born father, David, she told Huffington Post.
In the Greatest Showman she is working at a laundry service when she was discovered by Barnum who persuades her to join his circus, which she agrees to.
She prepared for her role by learning about conditions that cause women to grown facial hair and took inspiration from activist Harnaam Kaur who suffers from PCOS and uses social media to raise awareness of the condition.
She said: “I did a ton of research into polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), an endocrine disease in females that can include overproduction of testosterone. It can lead to weight gain, acne, and in some extreme cases, prominent facial and chest hair.”
Settle shared a picture of her behind the scenes of the movie which shows the makeup team creating a cast of her head so they are able to produce Lettie’s beard.
The Greatest Showman is out in cinemas now.