We have one unbelievable woman to share with you today! This week, the amazing Keala Settle is our #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY! Originally from Hawaii, this singer and actress first stepped onto the NYC scene before finding her home in LA. Trust us when we say that we can learn A LOT from this lady! We absolutely adore the fact that she believes women innately possess everything they need to succeed inside of them. All we have to do is realize it. This powerhouse woman has no reservations about who she is and she encourages all of us to tap into our own inner warrior. The cold hard fact is that we can be who we want to be and do what we want to do without needing permission or validation.

Keala began her journey on Broadway back in 2011 in The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, where she played the role of Shirley. She later originated the role of Norma Valverde on Broadway in Hands on a Hardbody in 2013, which was also nominated for the Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk Award, and Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a musical. Most notably, Keala portrayed the character of Lettie Lutz in the musical film, The Greatest Showman which was released in 2017. Working alongside Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Zendaya, Keala played a bearded lady who was the principal singer for the song “This Is Me”. This song went on to win to a Golden Globe Award for the Best Original Song and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Not to mention, she also recently released an extended play called Chapter One. This is one girl who was born to shine!

Keala is evidently a pillar of strength. She reminds us that sometimes we need an experience to completely take us out of our comfort zone and shake up our world in order to catapult us into the life that’s been waiting for us. Of course, this is no easy jump, and more often than not, we feel the urge to retract into what’s familiar rather than taking that first step into a new chapter. Keala is so inspiring because she is living proof that you can and must make that jump! She’s a powerful female because she understands the long lineage of strong women who came before her and she is highly aware of her responsibility to carry on the tradition of fearless femininity. We hope Keala’s beautiful interview shows you how to break every mold, speak your mind and make your own rules.

Written by Alessia Rotino

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

You are the face of the anthem “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman, which is a song that encourages us to be exactly who we are. Tell us how YOU learned to be exactly who you are and what helps you accept yourself on the daily.

To be honest, I don’t know WHO I AM!!! Haahahahahahahaaaa! However, what I have learned from the experience of the film and the song itself is that, in all of my fears I am not alone. No one is…and that is one of the most empowering feelings ever. To step outside your door knowing regardless of what your fear tells you, that you and your peers will always be enough, is strength beyond measure.

Tell us about a time that was difficult for you. How did you pull yourself out of that struggle? How did you grow from it?

When I moved to LA from NYC in 2017, I was petrified. The vibe on the west coast is completely different from the east coast. I couldn’t relax at all…a lot of my fears of not being enough in this industry were crippling me emotionally. But then I found my “tribe”, those do-or-die peeps that never leave your life. I could come up for air and start a new chapter in my life…and MAN IT’S CRAZY!!

What do you love most about being a woman?

I LOVE THIS QUESTION! There are soooo many levels to a woman; her poise, her demeanor, her character, her grace, the capability she has of turning on a dime for survival. And that’s really what it is, isn’t it? All about suvivval for a woman. Anywhere and everywhere, since the dawn of time. And DANG we are GOOD at it!!!!

If you were standing in front of a room of 10-year-old girls, what advice would you give them?

First of all, everybody gets hugs (Sorry I’m a Polynesian and that’s what we do!). Then the one piece of advice: do NOT be anyone else BUT YOU.

What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?

A YGTGirl is someone I LOOK UP TO! A woman who knows who she is, soaring towards her potential without even knowing it. She’s a little girl that breaks every boundary that society will try to put on her day by precious day. She is someone who reaches her hand out to another in safety and comfort and joy, no matter who, where, or what they are.