I met Glee star Lea Michele backstage years ago, when she and my sister-in-law were in Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway, and Lea was only 18 years old. Pretty, petite and present is what I thought of her then—and now. What a big personality! And then, of course, there is that powerhouse voice.
Lea’s first book, Brunette Ambition (Crown Archetype), recently climbed to #3 on the New York Times bestseller list. She just announced that she is beginning work on another, though the subject is still under wraps. Brunette Ambition is all about Lea’s journey to success. But it is also an ode to healthy living.
Lea drinks organic red wine because it contains fewer sulfites, shares DIY recipes for juicing, seeks out organic foods and whips up a hair mask with ingredients from Whole Foods and a body scrub with brown sugar and agave, when she is relaxing at home. Here are a few more things she shared with OSM.
You were on Broadway before you starred as Rachel Berry on Glee. What kind of role would it take to bring you back to Broadway?
I absolutely loved working on Broadway and living in New York. I definitely miss it sometimes. But right now I’m loving working on Glee and living in LA. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ve sort of become a California girl! I would love to go back to Broadway at some point though and do either a musical or play.
Who inspires you personally? Professionally?
My mother inspires me personally every day. She is so beautiful inside and out.
Professionally, there are so many people I look up to. I believe personal and professional role models are very important and always keep you inspired.
I love Barbra [Streisand]! I also love Jennifer Lawrence. I think she’s an amazing actress and a very strong and outspoken women. Those are the kind of women who I admire so much.
OK, let’s talk about beauty. You have a unique look and obviously feel very comfortable in your own skin. What advice would you give to others to get there?
It’s not something that happens overnight. Although I’m grateful that I was raised to be happy in my own skin, it’s not always easy. Sometimes what you hear and think you need to be can start to be that little annoying voice in your head.
But I think taking great care of yourself and being kind to your heart and body is a good place to start. And always surrounding yourself with people who uplift you. Remember it starts inside; to feel truly beautiful you have to love yourself inside and out.
What are your favorite home spa indulgences?
Creating my own body scrubs and bath concoctions!
In your book, you say you have acne-prone skin. What do you do to keep it in check?
I have a great dermatologist, Dr . Howe in New York City, who saved my skin when I was a teenager. Since then I always take the best care of my skin: staying hydrated, using good products, eating right, making sure to give it time to breathe.
How/why did you become a vegetarian?
I’ve always been an animal lover, so that’s where it started for me. But I try to listen to my body and make sure I’m getting everything I need. Right now I’m pescatarian. So I’m incorporating some fish into my diet.
Can you tell us about some of your favorite comfort foods?
If I’m going to indulge I try to at least make sure it’s organic.
That way it can be more of a guilt-free indulgence. I still treat myself (I love the grilled cheese from In-N-Out Burger in LA) but I get just as great of a treat from Annie’s Mac and Cheese or Amy’s Pizza. I also love Barbara’s Bakery Organic Cheese Puff snacks.
Creating smoothies and juices is one of my favorite things to do. But my all-time favorite comfort foods are New York pizza and bagels.
What do you do to maintain your beauty from the inside out?
Yoga is such an amazing practice. I believe starting on the inside creates true beauty on the outside. Practicing self-love, eating well, being active and always laughing…
Is it hard to motivate yourself to work out? What’s your secret?
I always feel best after I work out. It boosts my endorphins and wipes away any stress. So knowing how good I’m going to feel is always what motivates me.
You’re in the spotlight wherever you go. How do you quiet your mind?
My home is my sanctuary. No matter how long a day at work I’ve had or how much I’ve been traveling, coming home and pouring a glass of organic red wine and watching TV is the best.
Lea’s mother gave her a Vitamix and she supplements her meals when possible with freshly made juice. Here are two of her favorite recipes.
FOR AN ENERGY BOOST
Blend three leaves of kale (de-stemmed, torn and chopped), one handful of spinach, four pieces of celery, the juice of two lemons and a chopped apple. Advanced juicers tend to cut out the apple and add a few leaves of romaine or a handful of parsley instead.
Blend a glass of water with the juice of two whole lemons, half a cucumber, four to six cubes of watermelon and a few shavings of fresh ginger.