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March 8, 2015

Brunette Ambition

Brunette Ambition book coverThe world at large knows Lea Michele as the talented and driven Rachel Berry on GLEE, but who knew that she started her career in Broadway playing the young Cossette/ Eponine on Les Miserables at eight years old? Full disclosure: I used to watch every episode of Glee. Lea Michele may have been the lead actress, but I thought that Quinn (played by Diana Agron) was the true beauty.  Casting directors frequently told Lea she was not pretty enough for TV, and too ethnic to ever be mainstream. As it turned out, the starring role on GLEE proved everyone wrong.

I admit to having a soft spot for beauty books, especially if it’s written by someone who comes across as accessible and real. While she is a Hollywood celebrity, Lea manages to look like she can be your cool best friend. Her book is part memoir, part how-to, and part style guide. She shares lessons and advice that have worked for her (expect a lot of quotations from her idol Barbra Streisand) and the requisite beauty, fashion, diet, and exercise tips. She emphasizes the importance of taking care of oneself, and makes no apologies for needing her sleep, which appeals to me. I get made fun of for my early bedtime, but the sense of well being that goes with getting a good night’s sleep makes up for the ribbing.

Lea shares a great hair masque recipe which is quite easy to follow (mix five kinds of oils, including coconut oil) and applied once a week. Judging by her lustrous lucks (hello L’Oreal endorsement!), it must really work. The girl eats healthy (kale, hummus, and seaweed paper are some of her favorites) and shares a list of eleven snacks she always has, on top of breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes. A great way to ensure that she makes healthy choices when eating out is by studying the menu online in advance. I can’t remember how many times I get excited catching up with friends over a meal and not being able to peruse the menu properly to look for a healthy choice. Sometimes I will end up with a not-so-healthy dish that is more than what I need or can eat.

The book has enough pictures to satisfy the expectant fan, and has a separate chapter on life with GLEE. There’s a lot of emphasis on the importance of celebrating one’s uniqueness, and keeping a strong support group of family and friends. Thanks to her family and circle of select friends, Lea Michele appears to be good at keeping things real, despite the trappings of Hollywood.



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