Wise isn’t an adjective I throw around lightly. Neither is sage-like or self-possessed. But these are the words that come to mind when tasked with describing celebrated actress, singer, and health guru Lea Michele.
I met with the fresh-faced and effortlessly chambray-clad performer in honor of her new partnership with Burt’s Bees’ #BringBacktheBees campaign. To raise awareness of the decline of bees, the brand is launching three limited-edition lip balms, donating 1000 wildflower seeds (aka a bee’s dream feast) for every purchase of the balms or Instagram/Twitter post tagged with #BringBacktheBees.
As Lea and I were introduced, she greeted me with an enviably white smile and serene demeanor, both of which served to quickly soothe my buoyant nerves. I’ve been a fan of Michele since I was a teenager (that voice, hello). I’m also no stranger to the phrase “Never meet your heroes.”
To my delight, the clear-complected brunette was nothing but bright-eyed and personable as I picked her brain on topics from her diet and workout secrets to her current skincare essentials to her most embarrassing beauty moments.
Ever wondered how Hollywood celebs stay motivated to eat healthily and work out? Ever wondered what their beauty routines look like behind closed doors? To find out Lea Michele's top-secret diet, fitness, and skincare tips, keep scrolling!
BYRDIE: You’re known for leading such a conscious, all-natural lifestyle. Over time, what has inspired you to live this way? Do you ever slip or fall off the wagon?
LEA MICHELE: Early on, I was incredibly inspired by Alicia Silverstone. I loved her so much in Clueless as a young girl. I went to go see her in a Broadway show when I was young; it was The Graduate. I asked her to sign my playbill, and she signed “Go Veg” on it. I was like, “What do you mean?” And she said, “Well, I’m a vegetarian! You should go vegetarian too!” I already was at the time, so I told her that. And she said, “Oh my god, that’s amazing!” Then I read The Kind Diet ($15), and I became friends with her later on. She truly lives such a beautifully healthy life. So I was very much inspired by her.
As far as slipping, I don’t think you can ever slip as long as you give yourself the things that you want when you want them. With veganism, I go back and forth. I really gravitate toward a vegan lifestyle; it’s just what I crave more than anything. But I’m not limiting myself right now. If I do eat meat, I make sure I know where it comes from. But like I said, it’s really about balance.
BYRDIE: Do you notice a difference in your skin when you’re eating vegan?
LM: I do find that when I’m eating a lot more dairy than I probably should be, I notice it a lot in my body. I notice that I’m a lot more tired. But if I am sticking to my greens and the things that I know really fuel and power me, then I have a lot more energy. That said, I give myself what I want. Because I think it’s not actually about just what you eat; it’s how you take care of yourself overall. I drink a ton of water; I get a ton of sleep. That makes the biggest difference in how your skin glows—the texture and coloring of your skin.
BYRDIE: What about products? What are some of your current skincare must-haves?
BYRDIE: Your body looks incredible. What’s the most successful method you’ve ever found for staying in great shape?
LM: I’m really obsessed with SoulCycle right now. I also still do my hot yoga; I go to Core Power all the time. And everyone knows I love hiking. So I keep a nice variety, and that’s what helps keep me excited about my workout while keeping my body in good shape. It’s definitely not just one thing.
BYRDIE: What would you say is the most unglamorous part of your beauty routine? Do you have any rituals you only do when no one’s looking?
LM: I mean, I will totally put pimple cream all over my face at night, and if anyone comes to my door in the morning, I’m like, “Please excuse the white spots all over my face!” And before events like this, I’ll sit on the couch with tea bags over my eyes or cucumbers over my eyes. I have no shame. When I’m by myself, I can do whatever I want. [Laughs.]
BYRDIE: What’s the one moment in your life when you felt most beautiful?
LM: I feel most beautiful every night when I get out of the bath, put on comfortable pajamas, and get into bed. I love having no makeup on. I love putting my hair in a bun. I love being in pretty, comfortable pajamas. My bed is the most comfortable thing in the entire world. I love using essential oils before I go to bed, so I just put them all over and crawl in. That’s really when I feel the prettiest.
BYRDIE: Have you always felt that way? How has your attitude toward your own personal beauty evolved?
LM: You know, I’ve been this way for the longest time. I’m not a really big makeup person; in my day-to-day life, I don’t wear a lot of makeup. And I’m very grateful that I’m at this place in my life where I really like how I look without all of those elements. And then it just makes it all the more fun when you do get all glammed up. Because then you get to feel even more beautiful.
BYRDIE: What is the best piece of beauty advice anyone’s ever given you?
LM: Definitely drink a lot of water and get a lot of sleep. I know it’s, like, cliché, but the most I ever see a difference in my skin is when I’m well-rested.
BYRDIE: What about the worst advice?
LM: Hmmm. Honestly, I don’t think anyone’s ever given me bad advice. But sometimes I see people make bad choices, and I take notes. Like wearing makeup to the gym, things like that. I just think, even if you want to look cute, it’s so bad for your skin.
BYRDIE: If you could give your 20-year-old self a piece of beauty advice, what would you say?
LM: STOP PICKING YOUR PIMPLES.
BYRDIE: Any horror stories to share on the topic?
LM: Definitely. I used to pop my pimples. Or I’d have pimples and not know what to do, so I would turn them into moles with a little eyeliner. And then one day, my friend was like, “Um, why do you have all those black dots all over your face?” And I was like, “Oh my gosh.” So that was not the best idea!
The interview has been edited for clarity.