Lea Michele for ELLE Magazine

Posted on November 04, 2013

Miss Lea comes roaring back into the spotlight, trying on a slightly harder look, courtesy of Elle.

Cotton canvas jacket by Ralph Lauren Collection | Jeans by Frame Denim | Diamond earrings by Jack Vartanian | Silver and rose gold necklace by Tiffany & Co | Ruby, mother-of-pearl and rose gold ring by Pomellato | Metal and leather vintage Chanel belt

“Glee”star Lea Michele covers the December 2013 issue of ELLE magazine photographed by Carter Smith.

On how she’s handling Cory Monteith’s death: “I never thought I would be in this position in my whole life. Now that I am in this position, you can choose to rise, and that’s what I’m going to try to do. I know that Cory would want nothing more than for me to take this situation and use it to help people.”

On relying on friend Kate Hudson during the difficult time after Monteith’s passing: “I called [Kate Hudson] and said, ‘I don’t know where I’m going to go because my house is swarmed [with reporters].’ She was like, ‘Oh, you’re going to stay at my house.’ Like it was nothing. No one knew I was there. I’ll never really be able to thank her, truly, for what she did for me.”

On taking time to heal: “It’s very hard. And you have to be very strong to come out of this alive, but I think by doing the best for myself, by showing that you don’t have to lose yourself, maybe someone else will feel some sort of strength or comfort.”

On why she never expected her career in television to take off: “I was told my whole life I would never do television because I was too ethnic. I was 100 percent focused and ready to be the best in the world [of Broadway] I was in.”

Jacket by Prabal Gurung | Bra top by Peter Som | Denim shorts by Emilio Pucci | Metallic pumps by Saint Laurent

Quilted dress and leather and net-lace Boots by Tom Ford

Cropped pullover by Derek Lam | Stretch-jersey pants by threeASFOUR | Sunglasses by 3.1 Phillip Lim | Vintage Chanel gold-plated metal and leather belt | Sandals by Sergio Rossi



It’s not the style we would have picked for her and we doubt it’s one she’ll adopt herself. As a one-off, it’s a fine way to make a statement as she walks back into the spotlight. Not her look, though. A little too Cha Cha DiGregorio, if you know what we mean.



[Photo Credit: Carter Smith for ELLE magazine]

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  • PastryGoddess

    That cover photo is why airbrushing should be banned

  • Telperion

    She’s trying too hard, way overdone. I also backed off from my screen from the fright at the second from the cover. Eee. Not her look.

  • Sobaika

    Ugh. Casting still throws around the word ethnic.

    Anyway, I don’t think the styling suits her too much but she she’s handled a really messed up situation with grace and aplomb. Keep at it, Cha Cha.

    • MilaXX

      Which I really think was them saying, “you’ve got a big Jewish nose”. UGH indeed.

      • cakecakecake

        Omg, I should’ve kept reading the comments before I wrote mine. Go read mine and please answer my question. I just can’t.

        • cakecakecake

          But in all seriousness, does her big jewish nose constitute as ethnic? I know she’s half hispanic, but nothing about her really screams “ethnic” to me besides her dark hair.

          • alyce1213

            Half Italian/half Sephardic Jewish, raised Catholic. No Hispanic.

          • MilaXX

            Depends on what parts she’s going out for. Instead of sexy leading lady perhaps they only saw her as funny side kick. I think the “too ethnic” was probably their way of saying she’s not a perky little blonde, and she doesn’t have delicate little features so they don’t want her.

          • http://marshmallowjane.com/ marshmallowjane

            Please don’t hate me, people. I’d love to see her get her nose altered just a tad. If she could find a surgeon that is at the top of his (or her) game, maybe she could get the work done that could keep people guessing. She has gorgeous eyes and wonderful cheek bones. Her lips are good, too. Look at Patrick Dempsey. He was kinda cute but never a leading man until he had his nose fixed.

          • Sobaika

            I think they refer to any non-WASP as ethnic. Or maybe it’s just brunettes.

      • bee

        She was raised Catholic, like her mother. Some full-blooded Jews are Natalie Portman, Logan Lerman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anton Yelchin, Mila Kunis, etc., etc.

    • cakecakecake

      Omg, I should’ve kept reading the comments before I wrote mine. Go read mine and please answer my question. I just can’t. UGh.

    • http://marshmallowjane.com/ marshmallowjane

      I don’t know what to think of her. She has the cutest figure. She’s a great singer.

      I believe she used the word “ethnic,” instead of saying that the powers that be thought she should get her nose fixed. Oh, I see that MilaXX said the same thing.

  • Glam Dixie

    Eye makeup fail on the cover, and the posing in the rest of the shots is actually kind of funny. Made me laugh, anyway.

  • gayle

    None of these looks work for me and the posing is not helping either.

  • Nicholas

    I don’t like this shoot, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how Lea could have done anything to save it.

    Just amazing that Elle aren’t able to something better than this.

    • gabbilevy

      They gave her the classic guydatorial. Dirt, tires, muscle cars.

      … weird.

    • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

      Where was Joe Zee?

      • Cognitive.Dissonance


  • http://skreened.com/bkcentral Sarah

    You know your boots are bad when they are making your (very slim and shapely) legs look like trussed hams. Evil, ugly, terrible boots.

    • makeityourself

      Another Tom Ford fail. Can you imagine what her legs looked like when the “boots” came off?

  • MilaXX

    She wishes she looked as good as Cha Cha. I don’t if it’s Elle that hates her or the makeup artist. What I assume is supposed to be a super smoky eye looks like she’s wearing that sweat paint that football players put under their eyes. Like the super sexy looks she so often defaults to on the RC, this is not in her wheelhouse and it’s just not working.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOctocornNetwork International Model

      I thought they were extra eyebrows. And I love how the BKs are serious about their Cha Cha.

      • zuzu

        I learned from that image search that there’s a Cha Cha Barbie out there somewhere.

        • Saturnine

          I almost bought it :-)

      • Adriana_Paula

        Miss DiGregorio if you’re nasty.

    • filmcricket

      Yeah, I’ve seen her with a smoky eye and it really works for her – her eyes are so huge and gorgeous and she’s got the right colouring for it. This, however, is “sixth-grader gets her hands on her mother’s Kohl for the first time.”

  • hughman

    It’s like audition pics for “Transformers 5”. Ultimus Eyeliner.

    • StellaZafella

      Max Factor Prime.

  • In_Stitches

    She kind of got the standard guy-ditorial. I like it if only for that subversion.

    • Imasewsure

      Yes I think they forgot to include the one where she’s sitting in the old ford, with her feet up, wearing a tilted cowboy hat….

  • JasmineAM

    What a dumb question to ask. How the hell do you think someone feels after they’ve lost their fiance?

    • Suzanne Johnson

      Who are you talking to, and what question are you responding to?

      • Kristin McNamara

        Probably to Elle, in regards to the “On how she’s handling Cory Monteith’s death” sound bite….?

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOctocornNetwork International Model

    She could never be the best dancer at St. Bernadette’s!

  • Nicola Anna Molly Page

    No like the pictures, but I can imagine deciding on a theme would have been difficult. How would the BK’s have styled this?

    I do think she has dealt with the past few months with dignity and grace. I wish her every happiness.

  • Trickytrisha

    Very unflattering cover. The over the top, heavy eyes are just poor styling. The whole look is masculine-izing. (not a word, I know)

    • alyce1213

      The cover is gender-bending. Bad makeup and worse photoshopping make her look like a boy in drag.

  • shopgirl716

    The best dancer… with the worst reputation

  • Imasewsure

    I like the first shot where she’s walking away and looking over her shoulder… Couldn’t tell it’s her really though since it’s kind of generic but it’s cute enough. The cover is awful

  • SophieCollier

    That cover shot is extremely unflattering. It makes her nose look like a ladle.

  • bravobravp

    Best dancer from St. Bernadette’s, with the worst reputation.

    • Guest

      You beat me to it. :)

      • bravobravp

        ha I looked after I posted and saw a few others have. Just love a Grease reference!

    • Dagney

      gah! I thought I had it first till I scrolled down! lol

  • ThaliaMenninger

    I am really not feeling the cover. It’s all, “Look, my nose is the size of Jupiter and it’s shaped like the Big Dipper, while my eyes are much too close together and not the same size as each other. And my hair got caught in an oil slick. But I can rock a gold chain belt or 12, amirite?”

  • ashtangajunkie

    She’s adorable and pretty, and the only photo that shows it is the second one, where she’s looking back over her shoulder. The makeup on the cover shot is horrible.

    “How you doin’, Zuko-baby?”

  • SugarSnap108

    Just awkward all around. And those aren’t smokey eyes on the cover — they looked scorched.

    The white dress and barbed-wire wrapped around her legs, coupled with the pose, are especially perplexing.

  • cakecakecake

    As a (100%) Hispanic female, someone please, anyone, tell me how she looks “too ethnic.”

    • PastryGoddess

      I think it’s her Jewishness she was talking about.

      Did I just make up a word?

      • cakecakecake

        I had a hunch that that’s what she’s referring to, but, even then, does her jewish nose constitute as “ethnic?” ugh

        • anotherkate

          Apparently in Hollywood it does.

          • Shawn EH

            Italian. She’s actually Italian, on her mother’s side.

          • DonnaL

            Half Jewish and half Italian, to be precise. Like about a million other people in the Tri-State area.

          • Shawn EH

            So, basically, ethnic = not blonde.

    • Irish Rodriguez Reyes

      I’m also 100% Hispanic but I’ve been confused for Anglo a number of times (I have very fair skin and bottled red hair) so this whole ethnic issue is getting old. No offense to Lea but I think it’s more about her having masculine features. I have the same thing going on for me so it’s pretty much the fact that you’re a girl who sometimes looks like a boy and when you’re not classically beautiful it can be hard to make it in show biz.

    • MilaXX

      I read it as too Jewish looking for the girl next door roles (or whatever roles she auditioned for). They never saw past her features and used “too ethnic” as the excuse.

      • filmcricket

        Exactly. When the Hollywood default is still Dianna Agron, then basically all the other girls on Glee are “too” something – with the possible exception of Heather Morris.

        • Kristin McNamara

          And now Becca Tobin.

          • filmcricket

            Oh right, I always forget the newbies exist.

        • bee

          Dianna Agron is the one who is actually Jewish, for pete’s sake. Lea Michele was raised CATHOLIC, for the last time. Some actual, full-blooded Jews are Natalie Portman, Logan Lerman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mila Kunis, etc. Lea Michele is not in the club.

  • StephanieLovesTLo

    The best dancer at St. Bernadette’s. Of course.

  • Irish Rodriguez Reyes

    This just feels weird and wrong. They have her quoting (on the cover) that what happened is nobody’s business but her own yet once inside that’s all the piece is about. Whoever said that the old Hollywood system is long gone is wrong.

  • anotherkate

    Love those crazy leggings in the last shot. I mean, they’re insane, but she’s rocking the hell out of them. I want to party in the desert with that girl!

    Also: I am sad we live in a world where people can be told they’re “too ethnic” for TV. I hate that anyone could honestly think that, and I hate that cynical producers think the average person thinks that. I LOVE that Lea has managed to “somehow” (you know…through talent) overcome that b.s. notion. My TV could use more Leas (and Kerry Washingtons and Lucy Lius!) and fewer generic white people, I can tell you that much.

    • demidaemon

      You know, I know Lea can be a little too “of course” sometimes, but I started to respect her a little more after how she handled this particular tragedy and from her appearance on top chef, where she seemed smart, affluent with the topic, and easy to get along with.

      That said, her “costume” on that episode was a definite “of course.”

      • anotherkate

        Ooh, I didn’t see it–I’ve been living without cable (and its monstrous monthly bill) so I’ve lost track of Top Chef. Glad to hear she was good on it. I often wish she would dress better, but I do have a soft spot for her generally.

  • nannypoo

    WTF with the eyes on the cover. She looks like a slutty racing groupie but I like it better than her usual non-categorical slutty look. I didn’t realize that she was so concerned with helping others, but what do I know.

    • http://foodycat.blogspot.co.uk/ foodycatAlicia

      I was thinking mob trophy wife.

  • lalahartma

    That cover is terrible. Also, please close your mouth.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Space_Kitty Space Kitty

    I’ll give her credit for branching out, but I can NOT with that eyeliner.

  • YourBaloneyDontGotNoSecondName

    On one hand, it doesn’t really work. On the other hand, it’s very unexpected. She gets to be va-voom and you can’t say “of course” about it.

    I’ll be glad when she is released from Glee. I hope she gets hold of something that doesn’t merely make use of her astounding talents — I want to see what happens when she gets into something that is beyond even her talents. And she has talent to burn. CZJ’s hunger in Chicago was raw and tangible — even though that lady was an old pro, a West End hoofer oozing talent and charisma, she still had something to prove, and now she has the Oscar to show for it. I want to see what happens when Lea is so far out on a limb that even her voice couldn’t save her if she fell. I bet that would be electrifying to watch.

  • bertkeeter

    CHRIST….Her again…if not her then Paltrow, Kidman, Madonna or some other over exsposed face! ZZZZzzzzzzZZZZZ

  • Saturnine

    I just got home from work and I see a Cha Cha reference– day ends on a high note!

  • quiltrx

    Wow, her face really looks like a holy mess on that cover. Weird makeup AND weird ‘shopping.
    But you are GIVING ME LIFE with a Cha Cha DiGregorio reference!

  • Jacqueline Wessel

    So I’m guessing that some men’s magazine was using this location for an amazing guyditorial, they finished early and let their sister publication, Elle, have the rest of their time at half off.

  • siriuslover

    hahaha Cha Cha! Racing for the pinks!

  • Dagney

    The best dancer at Saint Bernadette’s!

    (with the worst reputation).

  • webslice33

    posing is not her forte..she looks very uncomfortable, like she needed to pee..

  • http://marshmallowjane.com/ marshmallowjane

    I like everything but the pants and the chains. They look silly.

  • http://victoriapavlova.com Victoria Pavlova

    the covershot is very unflattering. Sharpie-rimmed eyes and flat everything is not a good look.

  • Dessie

    I honestly don’t get how this girl is getting magazine covers at this point. No one watches “Glee” anymore. Not to be a jerk but is it just because her boyfriend died? Also, hate the denim diaper.

    • demidaemon

      I think saying “no one” about anything is a bit hyperbolic. Someone must be watching it or it would be cancelled. And my guess is that a lot of people still watch that show.

  • decormaven

    So, is she up for the next Fast and Furious installment now? The second shot is OK, but the subsequent shots are not flattering in style.

  • Fannie Wolston

    I don’t think this works for her, none of it makes any sense.

  • Anne

    She’s the best dancer at St. Bernadette’s–with the worst reputation!

  • crash1212

    Love that Tom Ford quilted dress.

  • MoHub

    That’s some frightening eye makeup.

  • Danielle

    I’m in major lust with that Prabal Gurung jacket.

  • Shawn EH

    Her Top Chef episode was pretty funny. She came off better (more fun-loving, less eccentric) than some of the previous celebrity guests. Her flirting with Tom Colicchio? Of course.

    • demidaemon

      I loved that episode and thought she was pretty cute.

      Also, her costume: a definite of course.

  • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

    Raccoon eyes.
    The pictures seem really random.

  • Kathy

    She’s such a lovely young woman, but the sharpie eyeliner and the lace boots cutting into her skin make me wince.

  • http://heartprintandstyle.com/ Vivi N

    They put her in these ‘sexy’ outfits and she just does not have the body to fill out in them. She looks like she’s playing dress up; it’s not effortless.

  • Sonia Perez

    Actually I like that last one- and I’ve never like any of her looks because many things have looked wrong on her. In that last one she looks like a fashionable chola/home girl/vata loca!

  • NYCGlamourpuss

    She’s da best dancer at St. Bernadette’s! (Wit da worst reputation!)

  • Jeannie Shmina Greenwald

    I don’t like the venue or the styling a bit.

    Ethnic? I think she’s stunning, but these photos are just not good.

  • lundibleu

    Honey, no. Not that eye makeup.

    In serious, it’s not the worst look for her but that eye makeup is horrible. And the airbrushing is more obvious than it needs to be. Also, ethnic? I don’t understand.

  • Barbara Thomas

    I have heard that Kate Hudson quote all over the place and I just — is it me or is that NOT an extraordinary gesture? A friend said she could stay at her house. That’s a totally normal thing for friends to do for each other. I’m kind of sad that such a simple thing is held up as something you can never adequately thank someone for. Being your surrogate, donating a kidney…that’s the kind of thing you can never adequately thank someone for. Not a prolonged sleepover.

    • demidaemon

      In this case and considering celebrity culture, I think it is a pretty big deal. Kate could easily have had the paps barreling down on her as well, if they had found out.

  • FionaTF

    The cover make-up is so so bad. SO BAD. Wow. It doesn’t even look like her. The contour around her nose is bizarre. The eyeliner is inexplicable. The nude lip. The greasy hair. How did this get chosen as the cover shot.

  • melisaurus

    I want all of this. Elle magazine, just PM me and I’ll give you my address to ship the samples.

    Tyra wants you to know your neck disappeared in any of these photos, darling. Elegance is key.

  • BrooklynBomber

    How could anybody approve that cover?

    • Gatto Nero

      Truly scary Photoshop, among other horrors.

      • BrooklynBomber

        Inexplicably bad.

  • Bree The Vole

    Three days late to the post, so I can say this safely: I like the cover. It doesn’t show off her beauty, but it’s interesting. I’d love to see her in full drag.

  • guest2visits

    I like what she’s wearing for her cover but I don’t know if I like or hate that make-up.

  • Jane

    I liked her face in the picture with the white dress, but those Tom Ford boots are just silly. Seriously they will cause lasting damage like varicose veins.