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Lea Michele

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Lea Michele
Lea Michele by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Michele at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con
Born Lea Michele Sarfati
(1986-08-29) August 29, 1986 (age 29)
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma mater Tenafly High School
  • Actress
  • singer
  • author
Years active 1995–present
Musical career
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1996–present
Labels Columbia Records

Lea Michele Sarfati (/ˈlə mɨˈʃɛl sɑrˈfɑːti/;[1] born August 29, 1986), known professionally as Lea Michele, is an American singer, actress, and author. She is known for her role as Rachel Berry on the Fox television series Glee (2009–15). Michele's performance received critical praise, earning her a Satellite Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, three consecutive People's Choice Awards, and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination. In 2015, she began portraying Hester Ulrich in Fox's Scream Queens.

Michele began working professionally as a child actress on Broadway in productions such as Les Misérables, Ragtime, and Fiddler on the Roof. In 2006, she originated the role of Wendla Bergmann in the Broadway rock musical Spring Awakening. Its soundtrack, on which she was a featured solo artist, won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album in 2008. Michele made her film debut in 2011, starring in the romantic comedy New Year's Eve. In 2014, she voiced Dorothy Gale in the animated film Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return.

Michele, with her label Columbia Records, began her solo music career in 2012. Her first single, "Cannonball", was released on December 10, 2013. Her debut album, Louder, was released on March 4, 2014,[2] debuting at number 4 on the Billboard 200. Michele released her first book, Brunette Ambition, on May 20, 2014, which debuted on The New York Times Best Seller list. Her follow-up book, You First, was released on September 22, 2015.

Early life and education[edit]

Lea Michele Sarfati was born on August 29, 1986, in The Bronx, New York.[3] She is the only child of Edith T. Sarfati (born October 19, 1960),[4] a retired nurse, and Mark D. Sarfati (born September 1, 1958),[5] a real estate agent[6][7] and former delicatessen owner.[3][8] Her parents met on the playground when her mother was 13 years old.[9][10] Her mother is Italian American and Roman Catholic, while her father is a Sephardic Jew (his family emigrated from Spain and Turkey).[11][12][13][14] Michele was raised Catholic, and has stated that her father "gladly" attends church with her and her mother.[15][16] Michele spent the first four years of her life living in the Bronx, until her parents decided to move to the more suburban area of Tenafly in the state of New Jersey.[6][7] Her parents also had a rented apartment in Manhattan, where they would live when Michele was performing on Broadway.[17]

Michele was educated at Rockland Country Day School for elementary school in Congers, New York.[18] Michele adopted her stage name at an early age; when she went on her first audition, for Les Misérables, she gave her name as Lea Michele, and has used it ever since. She has stated that she changed it because she was teased about the pronunciation of her last name.[19] On her first musical theatre audition, she sang the song "Angel of Music" from The Phantom of the Opera, the only musical she knew at the time.[9] Michele had gone to the audition to support a friend, but ended up landing the part herself.[20] Michele was homeschooled for one year (1997) while she lived and worked in Toronto, Ontario, performing in the Canadian production of Ragtime.[21]

Michele attended Stagedoor Manor for performing arts training.

For her high school education, she attended Tenafly High School in New Jersey.[15][22] Michele said that in high school she was "the least cool of the cool kids" but that she was "actually friends with everyone."[23] During her time there, Michele was on the volleyball team, the debate team, and participated in choir. She was a varsity debater in Bergen County.[24] She refrained from auditioning for Broadway roles during her freshman, sophomore and junior years so she could focus on her education. Michele stated: "I worked from when I was 8 until I was 14, so I wanted to have a little break. I didn't want to accept a role that wasn't perfect. And I wanted to get a good education. And I think I did...I think it was because I gave myself the time to just be a student."[17] During her high school career, Michele felt pressure from her peers to get a nose job, she has stated: "I was one of the only girls in my high school that didn't get one. And if anybody needed it, I probably did. But my mom always told me growing up, 'Barbra Streisand didn't get a nose job. You're not getting a nose job.' And I didn't."[25] She told Harper's Bazaar in 2011 that multiple talent managers told her that she needed to have rhinoplasty because she "wasn't pretty enough."[26]

In the summers from 2000 to 2002, Michele attended Stagedoor Manor in the Catskills, a center for performing arts training.[27] At Stagedoor, she was part of the touring troupe Our Time Cabaret, and performed in productions of Side by Side by Sondheim and The Who's Tommy. For The Who's Tommy, Michele sang the "Pinball Wizard" solo.[28] In her final summer at the camp, Michele was to perform in a production of Sweet Charity, but instead booked the role of Wendla in a Spring Awakening workshop, which forced her to drop out.[28] She was then later accepted to the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, but opted instead to continue working professionally on the stage.[29][30] Some of Michele's role models during her childhood were Barbra Streisand and Natalie Wood; she has said that her mother would always play old films like Funny Girl and West Side Story when she was younger.[6] In her teens, when she wasn't working on the stage, Michele had a part-time job at a bat mitzvah dress shop.[31] She has said that she was "the Cinderella of the shop" because her role was to clean and vacuum.[23] Prior to this, she worked at her father's deli.[32] When Michele was 19 years old, her mother Edith was diagnosed with uterine cancer.[6][7] Edith received treatment from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.[33] In her book Brunette Ambition, Michele wrote that her mother lost three of her six siblings during her childhood.[6][7]


1995–2008: Beginnings and stage roles[edit]

Michele at the premiere of Glee, May 11, 2009.

Michele made her Broadway debut in 1995, at the age of 8, as a replacement in the role of Young Cosette in Les Misérables.[34] Michele was also the understudy for the role of Gavroche.[35] This was followed by the role of Tateh's daughter, the Little Girl, in the 1998 original Broadway cast of Ragtime. Michele had been portraying the part of the Little Girl for a year in the original Toronto cast, before the production was transferred to Broadway.[36] In 2004 (during her senior year of high school), Michele played Shprintze in the Broadway revival of the musical Fiddler on the Roof. She also understudied the role of Chava.[37] Michele then performed on the 2004 Broadway revival cast recording of the show.[38] She starred as Shprintze at the 2004 Broadway Easter Bonnet benefit with the cast of Fiddler on the Roof.[39][40] Michele played the role of Wendla Bergmann in Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik's musical version of Spring Awakening, starring in early workshops and Off-Broadway performances, before finally originating the role in the 2006 Broadway production at the age of 20.[41] In February 2005, she performed as Wendla at the Lincoln Center.[42] Around the same time that Spring Awakening was set to go to Broadway, she was offered the role of Éponine in the Broadway revival of Les Misérables.[43] She elected to remain with Spring Awakening, which debuted on Broadway in December 2006. She was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her performance as Wendla Bergmann in the category of Outstanding Actress in a Musical.[44]

In December 2007, Michele performed at the Lucille Lortel Theater for Unsung: 'Tis The Season To Be Naughty. The event was in aid of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.[45] The following month, in January 2008, she performed at the "Alive in the World" benefit concert as the character Phoebe. The performance was in aid of the Twin Towers Orphan Fund.[46] In 2008, she again took part in the Broadway Easter Bonnet benefit, this time with the cast of Spring Awakening.[47] In February, April and June 2008, Michele played shows at Feinstein's.[48] In April 2008, she performed a Flops n' Cutz concert at Joe's Pub with her boyfriend at the time, stage actor Landon Beard.[49] On May 18, 2008, Michele left Spring Awakening with her co-star Jonathan Groff, where they were both replaced the next day by Michele's understudy Alexandra Socha and newcomer Kyle Riabko. She then performed in a reading of Sheik and Sater's new musical, Nero, in July 2008 at Vassar College.[50] In August 2008, she portrayed Éponine in the Hollywood Bowl's Les Misérables concert, which was directed by Richard Jay-Alexander.[51] She starred alongside Brian Stokes Mitchell as Javert and John Lloyd Young as Marius, both of whom would go on to guest star on Glee.[52] While in Los Angeles for the Les Misérables concerts, she sang at the Upright Cabaret at Mark's Restaurant in Hollywood in August 2008.[53] The next month, she performed at the benefit Broadway Chance Style: Up Close & Personal along with stars such as Laura Bell Bundy, Eden Espinosa and Kristoffer Cusick.[54] In December 2008, she performed again at Joe's Pub for the Spring Awakening Holiday Benefit Concert.[55]

2009–15: Glee and critical acclaim[edit]

Michele with the cast of Glee, August 17, 2009.

From 2009 until its ending in 2015, Michele starred in the Fox musical comedy-drama series Glee as Rachel Berry, the show's female lead and star singer. In casting for Glee, series creator Ryan Murphy sought out actors who could identify with the rush of starring in theatrical roles. Instead of using traditional network casting calls, he spent three months on Broadway, where he found Michele.[56] The role of Rachel was written specifically for Michele.[57] The pilot episode was filmed in late 2008. In an interview with The Washington Post, Michele commented on her casting, saying: "I was kind of just thrown into this – this is one of the first television jobs I've ever had. Of course being able to sing helps bring a sense of comfort. The character I'm playing is really outgoing – she performs in her everyday life as though she's performing in front of a huge audience."[58] She took the role because of Rachel's characterization, and explained: "Not only is she a singer, but she has so much heart – I think it's what we need on TV. A show that is filled with heart and love that is funny. It sends an amazing message to kids about the arts and being who you are."[59] Chicago Tribune‍‍ '​‍s Maureen Ryan wrote that Michele "not only has an amazing voice but manages to make her character, spoiled diva Rachel Berry, more than a humorless stereotype."[60] Denise Martin of The Los Angeles Times commented in her review of the episode "The Rhodes Not Taken": "If there's any justice in the world, Lea Michele will win a Golden Globe and an Emmy for playing Rachel."[61]

Michele at the Time 100 gala, May 4, 2010.

Michele has won a number of awards for her portrayal of Rachel. At the 2009 Satellite Awards, she won the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical or Comedy Television Series.[62] In 2010, Michele won the NewNowNext Awards for Brink of Fame: Actor.[63] In 2009, she was nominated for a Teen Choice Award in the category Choice TV Breakout Star.[64] That same year, Michele was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in the category Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy,[65] and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.[66] She received another Teen Choice Award nomination in 2010 for Choice TV Actress: Comedy.[64] Michele was included in Time Magazine‍‍ '​‍s 2010 list of the 100 Most Influential People In the World.[67] She won the 2012 People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Comedy Actress.[68] Several songs performed by Michele as Rachel have been released as singles, available for digital download.[69][70] In December 2010, Michele received Billboard‍ '​s First-Ever Triple Threat Award.[71] Her cover of The All-American Rejects' "Gives You Hell" reached the top 40 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[72] Michele is featured as lead singer in 14 of the top 20 selling Glee cast songs as of 2010.[73] Michele was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2011. The first for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals ("Don't Stop Believin'"), the second for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media (Glee: The Music, Volume 1).[74] Michele said of the first Grammy nomination: "I like that it's for "Don't Stop Believin'", which is for the whole cast, so that we all get to go. That's just awesome."[74] She was nominated again for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy at the 2011 Golden Globe Awards.[75]

Michele performing on the Glee Live! tour, June 23, 2011.

In May 2010, Michele and the cast of Glee embarked on a U.S. music tour, playing 10 shows in Phoenix, Arizona, Los Angeles, California, Chicago, Illinois and New York City, New York.[76] The final show of 2010 was at Radio City Music Hall.[76] Jonathan Groff, who played Michele's love interest Jesse St. James on the show, performed with her at the Los Angeles and New York City shows.[77] Glee Live! In Concert! then expanded a year later, to include 22 shows across North America and 9 shows in England and Ireland.[78] The cast acted in character for the concerts. The tour was met with mostly positive reviews. MTV's Aimee Curran wrote: "The cast was able to make every song their own while still managing to maintain the original artist's integrity."[79] Hahn Nguyen of Zap2it wrote: "Seeing it live is well worth the money and effort. Not only is there an elevated, infectious energy you don't get from just watching the show at home, but the feeling of togetherness can't be matched."[80] He also added about Michele's vocals: "One can truly hear the quality of the live vocals, which in the case of Lea Michele is the real deal. She sounds even better than on the show... Her "Don't Rain On My Parade" live is an amazing and thrilling treat."[80] On July 27, 2010, Michele attended the Glee TV Academy Event at the Music Box Theater, Los Angeles with the rest of the cast. She performed some of the songs she has covered on the show.[81][82] In October 2010, Michele and co-star Matthew Morrison performed as Janet Weiss and Brad Majors, respectively, in the 35th Anniversary Benefit of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The event benefited The Painted Turtle and also starred Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito.[83] In February 2011, Michele performed at The Grammys' MusiCares Person of the Year event in Los Angeles, honoring Barbra Streisand. She sang "My Man" from the Streisand film Funny Girl.[84] Before the Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011, Michele performed "America the Beautiful" with the United States Air Force Tops In Blue.[85][86]

2010–present: Continued acting roles, Louder and book deal[edit]

Michele performing with the United States Air Force Tops In Blue at the Super Bowl XLV, February 6, 2011.

In 2010, Michele joined the cast of the animated film Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return,[87] voicing the lead role of Dorothy Gale.[88] After many delays, the film opened in North American theaters on May 9, 2014.[89] In October 2010, Michele was cast in Garry Marshall's romantic comedy New Year's Eve.[90] She portrayed the character Elise, a back-up singer and the love interest of Ashton Kutcher's character.[91] The film was released worldwide on December 9, 2011. In April 2014, it was revealed that Michele had signed on to voice the character of Pinki in an animated film titled Bollywood Superstar Monkey.[92][93] However, the project was delayed by DreamWorks Animation in early 2015. On July 28, 2014, it was announced that Michele would guest star in the sixth episode of the final season of FX drama series Sons of Anarchy, playing the role of Gertie, a truck stop waitress and single mother, who connects with Katey Sagal's character Gemma.[94] The episode, titled "Smoke 'em If You Got 'em", aired on October 14, 2014.[95] On January 17, 2015, it was announced that Michele has been cast in a leading role in the first season of the horror comedy anthology series Scream Queens, starring opposite Jamie Lee Curtis and Emma Roberts. The series premiered on Fox on September 22, 2015.[96] In March 2015, it was reported that Michele had signed on to star in the upcoming William H. Macy-directed sex comedy film The Layover, alongside Kate Upton,[97] but she was subsequently replaced by Alexandra Daddario due to scheduling conflicts with Scream Queens.[98]

Michele at the 38th People's Choice Awards, January 11, 2012.

On September 18, 2012, it was announced that Michele would be working on her first solo album.[99][100] She started recording for the album soon after on October 19, 2012.[101] She has stated that it is a 'pretty slow process' but she wants the album to be more 'pop/rock driven' instead of Broadway influenced.[102] On November 27, 2013, Michele announced via her Twitter page that the first single from her debut album Louder will be "Cannonball" out on December 10, 2013.[103] She performed "Cannonball" live for the first time on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, on December 12, 2013.[104] On December 19, 2013, "Cannonball" debuted at number 75 on the Billboard chart, making her the first main Glee cast member to chart as a lead soloist on the Hot 100.[105] The single sold over 51,000 copies in its first week of sale.[106] Michele performed "Cannonball" on the season 3 live finale of The X Factor USA on December 19, 2013.[107] On December 27, 2013, a second track called "Battlefield" premiered as a promotional single on Just Jared's website. The song was released onto the iTunes Store as an instant download the following day.[108] The music video for "Cannonball" was released onto Michele's VEVO and YouTube channels on January 9, 2014.[109] Michele co-wrote and recorded a track titled "If You Say So" in late July 2013; it was the last song to be written for Louder.[110] The song is about Michele's late boyfriend and co-star Cory Monteith, who died just after initial recording for the album was completed.[111] Michele wanted to include a song dedicated to his memory, so she collaborated with songwriting veteran Sia Furler to produce the track's lyrics.[112]

Michele at her Louder soundcheck for Walmart in February 2014.

On January 13, 2014, the album's title song "Louder" premiered as the second promotional single on Billboard‍‍ '​‍s website exclusively a day before its official iTunes release, on January 14, 2014.[113] The third promotional single "What Is Love?" also premiered a day before its iTunes release, on January 28, 2014.[114] The fourth and final promotional single from Louder was "You're Mine" which was released on February 11, 2014.[115] Louder debuted on the Billboard 200 at the number 4 spot, with the album selling over 62,000 copies its first week.[116] The second single from the album, "On My Way", was released on May 4, 2014.[117] The music video for the song premiered on VEVO on May 19, 2014.[118] In May 2013, it was announced that Michele had signed a deal with Harmony Books and Random House to pen a part memoir, part how-to book titled Brunette Ambition.[119] The book was released on May 20, 2014.[120][121] Michele had multiple book signings in the U.S. including an interview event hosted by her best friend Jonathan Groff.[122] The book debuted at number 9 on the U.S. Nonfiction Best Seller list a week after it was released.[123] The book made its debut on The New York Times Best Seller list, placing at number 3.[124] Michele said in an interview on May 19, 2014, that she had signed another book deal to publish a follow-up to Brunette Ambition, and that she will start working on it "in a couple of weeks."[125] Her second book, titled You First, was released on September 22, 2015 by Random House.[126]


Michele is active in charities for gay rights and animal rights. In 2008, Michele was a part of the PETA ad campaign "Buck Cruelty! Say No to Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides."[127] In April 2010, Michele appeared in a PSA for PETA speaking out against fur clothing.[128] In September 2010, Michele was honored by PETA for her work for animals.[129] In support of gay rights, Michele performed at the Human Rights Campaign Dinner in November 2009.[130][131] In the same month, Michele and Jonathan Groff performed for True Colors Cabaret, a fundraiser in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.[132] In 2008, Michele performed at a benefit concert, Alive in the World,[46] to aid the Twin Towers Orphan Fund. Michele has also been active with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. For Broadway Cares, Michele has participated in Broadway Barks, Broadway Bares, The Easter Bonnet Competition and The Flea Market and Grand Auction.[133] In October 2010, Michele performed at a benefit concert for The Painted Turtle. The concert celebrated the 35th anniversary of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with Michele playing the lead role of Janet Weiss for the benefit.[134] In February 2011, she performed for The Grammys' MusiCares Benefit in Los Angeles, California.[135]

In April 2012, Michele performed for The Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation (JCCF)'s 17th annual signature fundraiser, Taste for a Cure, at UCLA with her Glee co-star, Darren Criss.[136][137] In October 2012, Michele and Criss also performed together at the Big Brothers & Big Sisters Of Greater Los Angeles 2012 Stars Gala.[138][139] In July 2012, Michele hosted the launch of Valspar Hands for Habitat charity auction and donated a signed hand print to be auctioned off along with many other celebrity hand-prints. Money raised from the auction benefited Habitat for Humanity's disaster response programs, which provide immediate and long-term response and solutions to natural disasters, such as the tornadoes in the Midwest and Southeast which damaged and destroyed the homes of thousands.[140] In June 2013, Michele co-hosted the launch of Feed America for Target stores. Proceeds from the lifestyle collection benefited Feeding America, the United States' leading domestic-hunger relief charity.[141] In August 2013, Michele once again donated a hand print to Valspar Hands for Habitat charity auction.[142] Michele was the host of Lea Michele's Night of Shopping and Cocktails at Switch Boutique on December 14, 2013, in Los Angeles. The event was presented by SodaStream and benefited Chrysalis, a non-profit organization that helps homeless people find work.[143] Michele has been an ambassador for L'Oreal's Women of Worth campaign since December 2013. The annual event celebrates women who have positively impacted their communities.[144] In April 2014, Michele and Darren Criss once again performed together at the 19th annual Taste for a Cure event in aid of The Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation (JCCF).[145] In October 2014, Michele teamed up with Evian in a campaign encouraging women to perform their own breast exams, in an attempt to raise awareness of early breast cancer detection.[146]



Alanis Morissette (left), Barbra Streisand (center) and Celine Dion (right) are some of Michele's biggest artistic influences.

One of the most significant influential figures in Michele's life is Barbra Streisand whom she cites as her "role model." Her mother Edith would play her old movies when she was a child.[6] Michele dedicated a chapter in her book Brunette Ambition to Streisand, noting that it is important for people to have someone to look up to. "I really love her, she's always been such a role model to me. She's someone who has built her career on focusing on what makes her unique and what makes her special."[147] An actress who influenced Michele was Natalie Wood. Michele said that she would watch West Side Story as a child and want to play the role of Maria.[6] Actress and singer Audra McDonald has also been an influence on Michele. She told The Fresno Bee: "Audra is probably the best singer in the world – up there with Barbra. I don't think she has any idea what an influence she had on me. I would say 80% of my singing knowledge came from Audra... How to warm up. How to breathe. How to take care of my voice. All of my beliefs are because Audra instilled them in me. And I'm forever grateful to her."[148] Recording artist Alanis Morissette has also been an inspiration for Michele's career. Morissette's album Jagged Little Pill was the first album Michele purchased, and in a 2014 interview has said she still owns.[149] "I love Alanis Morissette. She's so amazing. All of her songs are lyrically so beautiful and vocally she's so strong."[150] Celine Dion has also influenced her as a singer. "I don't think I've gone a day in my life without being inspired by Celine Dion."[151]

In addition, Michele has praised many music artists, and has said she admires Lorde, stating: "[She] is amazing. She writes all her own songs and they're like poetry."[150] Discussing pop stars such as Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Kelly Clarkson, who Michele has said influenced her debut album, she said: "I love all of those women. They were all inspirations for this record and I just love and respect women who make great music and focus on the vocals."[152] In another interview she stated: "I set out to make a really pop-heavy album that was fun and empowering – I love Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson."[153] Of songwriter Sia Furler with whom she co-wrote a song on her debut album Louder, she has said: "Sia is an incredible singer but also a fierce songwriter. Her songs are so powerful, raw, and truthful."[150]


Michele performing in Manchester, England, June 23, 2011.

Michele has the vocal range of a soprano.[154] As of 2013, her voice reportedly spans 2.7 octaves and one semitone.[155] She has been repeatedly praised for her vocal ability, however, she has been critiqued by Christopher Weingarten of Rolling Stone, who stated that Michele's voice is "a little too perfect" for the pop charts.[156] Critics have said that her voice suits ballads and theatrical songs more than pop and dance recordings because of the singing and diction training she received while working on Broadway.[157] The Boston Globe stated that her voice is a "mighty soprano" and that Michele's vocals are most comfortable when she "straddles the line between Katy Perry and Celine Dion."[158] The Daily Mail called her live vocals during a performance of "Cannonball" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon a "powerhouse performance".[159]

Product endorsements[edit]

In 2007, along with her Spring Awakening co-stars, Michele was featured in a Gap Inc. marketing campaign. The campaign included magazine advertisement spreads and billboards in Times Square.[160] In 2010, following worldwide Glee fame, Michele became a spokesmodel for beauty company Dove.[161] Michele appeared in a Super Bowl commercial for Chevrolet in 2011, along with most of her Glee co-stars. She performed an original song as her Glee character Rachel Berry.[162] In the same year, Michele became a spokesperson for a Nike workout application, where she demonstrated exercises for users to perform.[163] In September 2011, she appeared in commercials for the HP TouchPad, performing the song "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music.[164]

In January 2012, Candie's announced that Michele would be the spokesmodel for their clothing and footwear brand, taking over from Vanessa Hudgens who was the face of the brand for the 2011 year.[165][166] In September 2012, it was revealed that Michele had signed an estimated $1 million deal to be the newest spokesperson for the L'Oreal Paris hair and make-up brand. She has appeared in magazine spreads and television commercials promoting their products.[167][168] In September 2015, Pixelberry Studios announced their collaboration with Michele, launching High School Story with Lea Michele, a celebrity takeover update of their popular app, High School Story.[169]

Personal life[edit]


In June 2015, Michele bought a four-bedroom home in Brentwood for $2.9 million,[170] and sold her two-bedroom Los Angeles cottage for $1.8 million, which she purchased in 2012 for $1.4 million.[171] Prior to buying her Hollywood home, Michele lived in an apartment in New York City's West Village.[172][173] She moved into the apartment after graduating from high school.[174]


Michele with Cory Monteith at San Diego Comic-Con, July 25, 2009.

Prior to co-starring together on Glee, Michele briefly dated actor Matthew Morrison.[175] From 2006 to 2008, she was in a relationship with stage actor Landon Beard.[160] She dated actor/singer John Lloyd Young from summer 2008 to spring 2009, after being cast as Éponine and Marius Pontmercy in Les Misérables at the Hollywood Bowl.[176] She then dated Broadway actor Theo Stockman from November 2009 to September 2011.[177] Michele began dating her Glee co-star Cory Monteith in November 2011.[178][179] They remained a couple until Monteith's death on July 13, 2013.[180][181] Following his death, Michele co-wrote a song with singer-songwriter Sia Furler about Monteith ("If You Say So") which is featured on her debut album Louder.[182] Michele has been in a relationship with Matthew Paetz, a dating and lifestyle coach, since June 2014.[183] They met in April 2014 on the set of Michele's music video for her single "On My Way".[184] The couple reportedly began living together in September 2014.[185]

Public image[edit]

Michele is considered a fashion icon by the media.[186] She was featured on People‍‍ '​‍s Best Dressed List of 2010 as "The Newbie"[187] and she was voted "2010 Most Stylish Star" by E! Online.[188] She is known to take fashion risks at public events,[189] and, in the past, has been made fun of because of her ability to pose on the red carpet.[190] Michele has stated that Penelope Cruz is one of her style icons.[191] When describing her everyday fashion style to Marie Claire Mexico, she said: "[My style is] very relaxed and simple – jeans, flats and a leather jacket. Lately, I have mixed the Californian style with the dark side of New York. I would wear black every day if I could. For red carpets, I love experimenting."[192] In June 2010, AfterEllen ranked Michele 16th on their annual Hot 100 list for 2010, voted for by lesbian and bisexual readers. In 2011, the British popular men's magazine FHM ranked her 47th on their annual 100 Sexiest Women list.[193] In May 2011, Michele ranked 28th on the Maxim 2011 Hot 100.[194] Michele placed at number 10 on Glamour‍‍ '​‍s 50 Best Dressed Women of 2011.[195] She appeared on AfterEllen's Hot 100 list of 2011, placing at number 10.[196] The following year, she ranked number 11 on the AfterEllen Hot 100 for 2012.[197] Women's Health magazine placed Michele as the 3rd Best Summer Body of 2012.[198] In April 2012, she placed at number 37 on Glamour‍‍ '​‍s 50 Best Dressed Women of 2012 list.[199] Michele ranked 14th on the Maxim 2012 Hot 100,[200] and placed at number 39 the following year on the Maxim 2013 Hot 100.[201] She ranked number 42 on the AfterEllen Hot 100 list of 2013.[202] She placed at number 76 on FHM‍‍ '​‍s 100 Sexiest Women list of 2013.[203] Glamour ranked Michele number 19 in their 50 Best Dressed Women of 2013 list.[204] In 2013, she was nominated for a Teen Choice Award in the category Choice Style Icon.[205] Michele ranked 31st on the Maxim 2014 Hot 100 list.[206] She then ranked 48th on AskMen's list of 99 Most Desirable Women of 2014.[207] Also in 2014, Michele was featured on People‍‍ '​‍s Most Beautiful list.[208] She also featured on the Most Beautiful at Every Age list, and Hollywood's Unconventional Beauties list.[209][210] She again featured on the Most Beautiful list in 2015.[211] She placed at number 96 on FHM‍‍'s 100 Sexiest Women list for 2015.[212]


Michele is a liberal Democrat and supported Barack Obama in the 2012 Presidential Race. Obama included Michele on his wish list of celebrity endorsers for his 2012 campaign.[213] In 2010, Michele and her Glee co-stars were invited by President Obama to perform at the second annual Easter Egg Roll hosted at the White House.[214] She then sang for the President at his second inauguration ball on January 21, 2013.[215] Michele's main political interests are the legalization of gay marriage and animal rights issues, particularly the use of fur in the fashion industry and cruelty of horses in the horse-drawn carriage business.[216] For her work with animals, she received a Humanitarian Award from the animal rights group PETA.[129]

See also[edit]



  • A ^ "Cannonball" did not chart on the Flanders (Belgium) Ultratop singles chart, but charted at number 19 on the Ultratip chart, the top 100 songs which have not made the Ultratop 50.[217]
  • B ^ "Cannonball" did not chart on the Wallonia (Belgium) Ultratop singles chart, but charted at number 11 on the Ultratip chart, the top 50 songs which have not made the Ultratop 40.[217]


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  13. ^ Her paternal grandfather, Albert Sarfati, was born in New York. His parents (Michele's great-grandparents), Yontov and Celia Sarfati, were born in Turkey.
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External links[edit]