Lea Michele has opened up about the harsh criticism she received early in her career.
The 36-year-old actress, who stars as Fanny Brice in the Broadway revival of “Funny Girl,“ told Town & Country magazine that she had been the subject of derogatory remarks about her appearance when she was younger.
“People were telling me to get my nose done, that I wasn’t pretty enough for movies and TV,” Michele recalled.
The ‘Glee’ alum said comparisons are frequently made between her and Barbra Streisand, who has spoken out about her refusal to get a nose job done several times over the years.
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Streisand also originated the role of Fanny in the 1964 Broadway production of the musical, which received eight 18th Tony Award nominations. The ‘Guilt Trip’ star won the Best Actress Oscar after reprising her role as Fanny in the 1968 film adaptation of the musical.
“She was an icon for me in my life,” Michele said of Streisand.
The former ‘Scream Queens’ star told the outlet that she was thrilled when she recently received a congratulatory note from Streisand.
“It was so surreal and such a wonderful moment,” Michele said. “The fact that she recognized my performance…I could cry.
“I called [“Glee” co-star] jonathan [Groff] and [“Glee” creator] Ryan Murphy sobbing.”
Michele told Town & Country she may decide to keep the contents of Streisand’s note to herself.
“It was a beautiful handwritten note that I will treasure. It was incredibly complimentary,” she said. “It exists. It happened, and now I feel like so many dreams can come true.”
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Michele said she first encountered “Funny Girl” in 2006 when she performed on Broadway in “Spring Awakening.” The musical’s director, Michael Mayer, recommended it to her as she was going through a painful breakup at the time, and Michele said she “became obsessed”.
While on a trip to visit Mayer with Groff, Michele ran into Murphy and the two talked about “Funny Girl.” She told the outlet that Murphy created the role of “Glee” character Rachel Berry for her that night.
On the hit FOX musical series, Michele played a high school student and aspiring Broadway star who was obsessed with “Funny Girl.” Over the show’s six seasons, from 2009 to 2015, Rachel sang some of Fanny’s most famous numbers, including “Don’t Rain on My Parade”, “I’m the Greatest Star”, “People” and “My Man”.
In season five of “Glee,” Rachel drops out of college after landing her dream role as Fanny in a Broadway revival of “Funny Girl.”
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In July, it was announced that Michele would reprise the role of Fanny from Beanie Feldstein in the Mayer-directed revival.
“A dream come true is an understatement,” Michele wrote in an Instagram post after the casting news broke. “I am incredibly honored to join this incredible cast and production and return to the stage playing Fanny Brice on Broadway.”
Earlier this year, Michele’s former “Glee” co-star Chris Colfer threw shade at the actress, saying he doesn’t plan to see Michele in the Broadway revival. Michele’s ‘Funny Girl’ casting also came under fire from ‘Glee’ star Samantha Ware, who accused Michele of bullying in 2020.