With FOX getting set to unveil GLEE following the penultimate episode of AMERICAN IDOL next Tuesday, actress Lea Michele is on the brink of becoming Hollywood’s next big thing … trust us. With that in mind, we’d like to take this opportunity to share five things you probably don’t know about the girl everyone’s going to be talking about come Wednesday morning.
1) The beauty once was told she wasn’t pretty enough for TV.
Yes, if you can believe it, some foolish casting director once dubbed Michele “too ethnic looking and not pretty enough for television” when asked to evaluate her chances of making it in Hollywood. Fortunately, she didn’t listen… and GLEE’s casting director has much better vision! “I know I’m a theater girl but I fell in love with the script so much, fought for it and now here I am!” she told us during a recent visit to the GLEE set. “It’s kind of ridiculous. I still have moments at least twice a day when I’m like, ‘This is amazing, I can’t believe this. I’m so happy!'”
2) Her new alter ego was inspired by another fictional high schooler.
If Rachel Berry — Michele’s overachieving, myspace-addicted, fame-obsessed character on GLEE reminds you of Election’s Tracy Flick — played on the big screen by Reese Witherspon — that’s not exactly accidental: Witherspoon’s character served as a major inspiration for Michele. “Oh my God!” exclaims Michele. “I’m a big Reese Witherspoon fan! She’s amazing! I even just watched FOUR CHRISTMAS the other day.” And anyone who’s seen that film will attest to just how big a fan Michele must be!
3) She and Rachel don’t have a whole lot in common.
While Rachel’s guiding philosophy is that “being anonymous is worse than being poor, fame is the most important thing in our culture now,” that’s not an opinion her portrayer would agree with. In fact, while Michele did several Broadway plays while still in high school, it wasn’t something she bragged about to her classmates. In fact, she learned the hard way that sometimes, it’s better to sit back and let others shine! “I did [our high school play] one year, and everyone was so mad at me that I got the lead, so I promised I’d never do that again!” Instead, she started exploring other extra-curricular activities. “I choose the debate team and volleyball team. I didn’t fit into one place and really had an awsome high school experience.”
4) She knew how talented Adam Lambert was way before you did.
The rest of us only recently fell in love with the AMERICAN IDOL front-runner, but Michele’s been a fan for quite some time. “I love Adam! I know him from when he was in [the Broadway play] Wicked, and I think he’s fantastic. I would definitely put my money on Adam!” she declares.
5) She works hard for the money.
Anybody who thinks acting is all glitz and glamour never had a slushie thrown into their face… repeatedly. But that’s exactly what Michele had to endure in order to capture a short-but-pivotal scene from the pilot that’s also featured in GLEE’s ads. “You have no idea…. we did it in one take, but imagine a mass of ice, and sticky and cold and hold it for 10 seconds,” she shares with a shiver. “I had the worst brain freeze!” And proving that sometimes, you have to suffer for your art, Rachel later finds herself with yet another face full of slushie in a later episode! “When we did it again it’s two slushies! Which of course we didn’t get it in one take. So basically, it’s six slushies! You do it once… nope didn’t get it. Wash your hair, blow dry, wash your face, your body, everything, come back and do it again. Didn’t get it, do it again… ”