Few people would argue against the fact that actress Lea Michele is immensely talented. As "Glee's" resident Type A personality Rachel Berry, she's showed off pipes and an acting ability that demonstrates she has the potential to follow in the footsteps of her idol, Barbra Streisand. But as she reveals in the new issue of Allure, it's navigating the celebrity culture that she's found to be a bit tricky. In fact, a lot of it has surprised her. For instance, Michele was criticized for a provocative photo shoot that she and co-stars Dianna Agron and Cory Monteith did for men's magazine GQ in 2010.
"People were really offended by this, being that we play high school students. But we're not high school students!'" she says. "Cory is almost 30, and Dianna and I are 25. But there was such controversy. There was one photo where I was sitting on a bench, and they just happened to get me in a pose when my legs were like that [spread open] and ... look, I do try to keep in mind that there are a lot of young viewers watching our show. But it's a delicate balance, continuing to be who you are but also remembering you're in a certain position. But would I do the shoot again? Absolutely."
Another thing Lea's come to know is that the public's perception of someone isn't always a complete picture of them. Case in point: "Glee" guest star Gwyneth Paltrow, who has acquired a reputation as a diva. To say Lea doesn't agree would be putting it mildly. "I don't know what people are smoking, because this woman is one of the most talented, beautiful, smart-but-laid-back, cool people I've worked with," Lea explains. "That's what I hate about this business. Before I met her, I was intimidated because of her image. But she's the greatest."
Lea herself has been the subject of rumors about her weight, particularly since adopting a vegan diet -- one with no animal products. And her petite frame doesn't help matters. "People get confused, like, you know, I just eat grass," explains newly single Lea, who broke up with boyfriend of almost two years, Broadway actor Theo Stockman, in September. "But look, I'm half Italian. I can eat some b****es under the table."
Another surprise has been that the former Broadway star is paired with Hollywood hottie Ashton Kutcher in the ensemble cast of director Garry Marshall's follow up to the movie "Valentine's Day," called "New Year's Eve," which hits theaters December 9. "I never thought people would think I was attractive enough to star opposite Ashton Kutcher," she says.
I suspect there are more surprises ahead for the actress.
Will you see Lea in "New Year's Eve"?
Read her full interview in the December issue of Allure.