‘The Greatest Showman’s’ bearded lady Keala Settle has an East Dallas connection

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Keala Settle’s performance of the Oscar-nominated ballad “This is Me” at the 90th Oscar awards ceremony turned heads, but few know the Hawaii native has a connection to East Dallas. Settle played the bearded woman alongside Hugh Jackman in this year’s “The Greatest Showman” about the beginning of the Barnum and Bailey circus.

Settle was living in Dallas about a decade ago when her friend introduced her to the Community on Columbia, a small church. Many of its members live on a block of Columbia Avenue near Juliette Fowler.

The community welcomed Settle, who grew up Mormon, and comforted her during a hard time in her life. The community lives in a series of adjacent homes; one serves as a communal gathering space where members worship and share meals.

The church is connected to the Trinity Foundation, a nonprofit whose goal is to expose fraud by Christian leaders and help their victims. According to Pete Evans, who is part of the community and works for the Trinity Foundation, Settle worked with the foundation on its investigations as well.

Settle made her Broadway debut in 2011 and earned a Tony nomination for her performance in “Hands on a Hard Body.” She also played roles in productions of “Les Misérables” and “Hairspray.” “This is Me,” principally performed by Settle, won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song.

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