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Who's Behind Lea Michele's Sexy 'Glee' Makeover?

12/26/2012 at 10:00 AM ET

Lea Michele GleeAdam Rose/FOX

Lea Michele promised us a Glee makeover — and a Glee makeover we’ve seen!

The actress, who plays college freshman Rachel Berry on the show, says her character has had a sexy style upgrade this year, and she owes it all to Glee creator Ryan Murphy.

“It was Ryan’s idea to do this shift for Rachel, having her become a little more grown up, a little more New York,” Michele told PEOPLE recently while working with Candie’s. “I basically pick out the outfits with our costume designer, and we take all of the photos to Ryan to approve. It’s really collaborative.”

But it goes beyond the costumes: Rachel’s hair and makeup are more major, too, again, thanks to Murphy.

“He’s so involved with everything — what shoes I wear, what kind of eyeliner I put on,” she says. “I don’t know how he does it. He has so many shows, but still finds the time to help with this.”

And though we’ve been loving Rachel’s sensual smoky eyes this season, Michele says that’s probably her least favorite part of her character’s new look. “I’ve been trying to tone that down a little bit,” she admits. “It’s a b*tch to take off at night!” Tell us: Are you loving Rachel Berry’s revamped look? Or did you prefer her high school makeup and clothes? 

–Kate Hogan

PHOTOS: SEE MORE ON-SET STYLE IN ‘LIGHTS! CAMERA! FASHION!’

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Showing 20 comments

Ana on

I love Rachel’s new look! I actually would love to have her wardrobe from this season.

Fray on

I’ve always loved all of Rachel’s clothes and this season is no different. I wish we got to see more if her in NY to enjoy them.

Nicole on

Rachel’s look this year is too grown up. It makes her look like she aged a decade over the summer. And I’m glad to hear that Lea doesn’t like the raccoon eyes that much either. It was always interesting to see what Rachel would be wearing from week to week, and her clothes always managed to let her quirky nature show through, but now it’s just like, “Oh boy. Black clothes, heavy hair, raccoon eyes. How lovely. Except not.”

Claire on

The wardrobe, as a wardrobe, is nice — very New York, and I like all the black. She needs to lose the heavy make-up, though. And overall, even though I like a lot of the clothes, I don’t think it’s a good choice for the show to have changed Rachel’s look this much this drastically. She doesn’t look 17/18 years old — she looks 25 or 26. And she doesn’t look like Rachel Berry; she looks like Lea Michele. That’s a problem; I love Lea, but I watch Glee to see Rachel’s story.

Jan on

Her new clothes are awesome and she looks hot! I want all of her outfits. Glad she’s toning the makeup down though. She’s so naturally pretty that it’s really unneeded.

jessica on

This is why this show has tanked this year. I think the clothing and eyeliner and ridiculous storyline that makes this cw plot like cheap and tacky is the reason why people have stopped watching this show in droves. Lea Michele is just not a subtle actress and it shows more and more every week and I am just not interested in this dancing with stars plot on glee and stopped watching for two reasons. This new york broadway stuff is just not that interesting on a show that is very much a high school centered show and the new actors on glee especially the new york side are just not that compelling to watch there was a reason why nine sucked in the theatre and it is even worse on television.

Debra on

I can handle the clothes but I agree with Lea, the eye makeup is too much. I also don’t like that they seem to be implying that after changing their wardrobe, makeup and attitude to a more sexy style automatically makes a person grown up. That’s a bad example to set to any teenage girl that might still be watching this show. Given how the ratings seem to drop with every episode, I am not the only one who feels this way.

Acababy on

Totally agree about the eyeliner being too much. Her eyes are lovely and big and dark without it. I love the clothes though and Rachel’s confidence. I hope we spend more time in NY with her so I can start watching the show again. Lima is super boring and the new and old kids there suck. Poor Sue.

Mafer on

I hate it!! it´s not Rachel Berry AT ALL!! specially the over the top make up…this new little sex kitten is so out of character that it makes it hard to relate to her as before

Jenna Elayne on

I hate Rachel’s new look. The clothes themselves are fine, but it’s such a generic look and has lost all of the quirky personality that used to be so integral to Glee in general and Rachel Berry in particular. There’s a great deal of medium ground between the old reindeer sweaters and the endless parade of black miniskirts, and I just wish Glee would let her style have evolved instead of drastically changing it overnight.

anne on

She looks good but she looks like Lea Michele, not Rachel Berry. Although, I would say that this is the least of Glee’s worries. (More Rachel and Kurt, less newbies please)

Sammie on

I like the look fashion-wise, but this isn’t Rachel I’m seeing. It’s Lea Michele.

No more on

Rachel Berry was iconic fugure and with Finn Hudson as a parallel story was the core of Glee and the reason for much of its success. Instead of building on that, the writers undermine everything they create. Rachel doesn’t look, sound or behave like Rachel. Finn has been utterly regressed from the mature decision he made at the end of season 3 and the relationship was pissed on in the break up. Rachel as the sanctimonious ex in the swan song episode in that dismal phone call to Lima merely completed my disillusion. Too much eyeliner is the least of the shows worries.

Eyes have it on

Perhaps the writers should involve themselves less in costume and make up decisions and more on script continuity. Perhaps then all the episodes that jar because they offer out of character actions and wtf continuity fails can be replaced with some old glee magic.

Jamie on

Where did the magic of season 1 go? Where did Rachel Berry go? Rachel’s look (although stunning) is too Lea Michele. The newbies don’t interest me one bit and the high school part of the show is boring with many “wannabe” characters. Give me a spinoff with Rachel, Kurt, and Santana living together in NYC (this would be priceless comedy) and Quinn actually using that damned Metro Pass. Don’t focus so much on changing a character we already love as much as utilizing the talent of those actors that have stolen our hearts over the past few years. You have the chemistry, now make the magic happen!

Kate on

I guess people really don’t know Lea Michele the person. She doesn’t wear much make up and prefer jean short or big sweaters and leggins.

Mary Ann on

“This is why this show has tanked this year. I think the clothing and eyeliner and ridiculous storyline that makes this cw plot like cheap and tacky is the reason why people have stopped watching this show in droves. Lea Michele is just not a subtle actress”
This is a joke right? Lea is one of the better actors on the show and give me a break pretending Rachel clothes is why the show is tanking. Rachel even more mature is why the show is stil getting any viewers. Ryan knew he had to have a few old face aorund and he picked Rachel cause she is the most popular like her or not and Lea besides Jane Lynch is the one most recognizable.

Danica on

I’m glad Lea thinks the eye makeup is too much. She has gorgeous eyes and the heavy eyeliner is just a distraction that doesn’t allow us to enjoy their expressiveness. The clothes are fine, but I’d love a bit more color. I agree with what others have said about Ryan Murphy involving himself more in story continuity and actual good storytelling rather than wardrobe. Rachel Berry is my favorite character and she has been barely recognizable this season and I’m not talking about her clothes. Lima is boring. I have no interest in the newbies at all. I’m not and cannot bring myself to be emotionally invested in them. I’d rather they had gone ahead with the spin-off of Rachel, Finn and Kurt in NYC.

Caramel Girl on

I think Lea Michele (Rachel) looks amazing with or without this transformation. But I do love all her outfits and her hair. Her make up is good too but I think it’s waaaaay too heavy. Also, it bothers me that in the show she wears heavy make up when she’s about to sleep. (See Episode 4)

Steph on

I like Rachel’s new look a great deal – particularly the eyes (though maybe a TINY bit less would work as well). I like Kurt’s styling, too, though he’s been pretty tense this year (good reason, I suppose); hope he’s able to relax and have some fun again when they HOPEFULLY clear Burt’s illness. My uncle is a 15 year prostate cancer survivor; I know Ryan Murphy’s dad died of prostate cancer, but hope very much that Kurt doesn’t lose his dad (having already lost his mom so young) – been there and done that in my life and it is NOT something I’d like to see happen.

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