Getting Ready

Tan Lines Won't Hold Lea Michele Back

What the actress texted her stylist in preparation for this year's Oscars red carpet.

By: Alicia Cesaro
Photography: Nikko LaMere

Pro tip if you’re an A-list actress headed to an Oscars bash...pack every bikini you own and head on an insanely fun girls trip to Hawaii right before (then extend said trip so you soak up every last ray of sun, ensuring a golden glow on the red carpet), make forever kind of bonds with the people you work with—everyone from your makeup artist to your stylist—so that you’re always having one big hangout (where Ariana Grande plays on repeat), and stock your pantry with Ezekiel bread and avocado for healthy-ish late-night snacking.

At least that’s what actress Lea Michele does. And we learned all that (and more!) when we played fly-on-the-wall at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills with Michele, stylist Brad Goreski, hair stylist Sarah Potempa, and makeup artist Lauren Andersen ahead of Elton John’s 24th Annual Oscar Viewing Party—aka the most glamorous gathering of glamorous people.


“I extended my trip in Hawaii as long as possible—I had the best time. It’s so incredible to go away with friends, take a breather, and get some sun. Already it’s been a busy year and a lot coming up, so I wanted to take time to carve it in before everything gets busy again.”

“I’m going to the Elton John party for the Oscars, and my stylist, Brad [Goreski], sent me a text and was like, ‘Hey Lea! Hawaii looks amazing, one thing, please don’t get any tan lines? We need fabulous fashion this weekend.’ And I just completely sent him a naked picture of myself with full-on tan lines and wrote, ‘Too late, sorry!’”

“I’m wearing a gorgeous black-and-gold Elie Saab gown. The great thing about the Elton John party is that it’s such a great group of people who attend and allows you to wear whatever you want—it’s fun to be a little bit more over-the-top, or more restrained. Anything goes! I’ve had some of my favorite fashion memories at this event, and I think this year’s dress definitely holds its own against the other dresses I’ve worn.”

“I loved the dress I wore last year [to the Oscars viewing party], it was one of my favorite dresses I’ve ever worn in my life. The sheer skirt and beautiful crystal bodice, I felt like Cinderella. It was so stunning and yet it still had an element of sexiness to it, even though it was a gown. I had so many people comment on how much they loved it. Also, most importantly, when you feel good in something it shows, and I really loved that dress.”

“I’ll take any excuse to wear huge diamonds, but the dress is embellished on its own, so we might go with simple clean diamonds. I’m not a big accessories person, I think the dress should stand out on its own. And Brad is really good at that, so he’ll take lead on how to accessorize.”

“I just did a pretty bold makeup look for the Grammys that my makeup artist, Melanie [Inglessis], and I created together. It was interesting because a lot of people had different opinions on it, but sometimes you have to take chances, and I loved it—it was the Grammys, you know? When it comes to makeup we always take into consideration, first and foremost, what the event is, and secondly, what I’ve done recently. So if I’ve recently done a lip on a carpet, I won’t do a lip. The third thing is to think about what I’m wearing and how I want to complement that look.”

“For this year’s Oscars, since the dress is elaborate on its own, I’ll probably gravitate more towards a simple, clean makeup look, probably a bronzy, glowy look that will show off my tan.”

“I really think [Oscars prep] is more about the days leading up to it than the actual day of, because if you go out the night before and eat a huge salty meal, you’re going to be puffy the next day. On the day of, I treat it like a regular day and eat a big, full meal and make sure I get some sleep. It’s important to clean up my diet, work out if I can, sleep, drink a lot of water, just get myself prepared.”

“It’s more about having energy for the entire day than it is about looking a certain way. I don’t alter my body for events, I live a very healthy life consistently, despite what’s coming up, I do that for myself. So event prep is more about being well-rested and hydrated. Because you start getting ready so early, and the events go for such a long time, so you want to be at your best for the entire day.”

“For breakfast every morning I make a clean poached egg, with a side of avocado toast on Ezekiel bread—that’s my favorite. If I don’t want toast, I’ll do scrambled egg whites with spinach and avocado on top (I like to have a protein and try not to have bread past noon), or a nice clean, simple oatmeal if I don’t have time.”

“The people I work with, as you can see, are my friends. Sarah [Potempa] and I have been friends since we met in 2006, and Brad and I are incredibly close. We play music—Brad and I love Ariana Grande—make it a fun party and have a great time. They are incredible people, as you can probably tell I’ve been working with the same people for years, and they are my family now.”

“I had the best time at the Grammys; me, Brad, Melanie, and John D. (who did my hair) got a hotel room and just hung out. I did the carpet earlier when it was nice and calm, and then went back to the hotel room and had a couple of hours to eat—I ate a whole bowl of fries—watch TV, mess up my makeup and have a good time.”

“In my bag [for the Oscars] I always have headphones because I’m in the car and I like to listen to music, mints, which are very important, Lauren [Andersen] will give me some makeup for touch-ups, and a phone charger.”

“If I want to have a late-night snack, but still keep things “good,” I’ll make a grilled cheese on Ezekiel bread with dairy-free cheese. I can’t do a lot of dairy right now because I’m singing and it’s really bad. Or just some toast—I know, bread is my Achilles’ heel. I keep only healthy, gluten-free and dairy-free everything in my house, so if I want a snack at night it helps me to make better choices.”

“I texted Brad yesterday and was like, ‘What kind of night do you want to have? Are we going to party all night? Or make it an early night?’ I love not staying out too late and getting a good night’s sleep, on Monday I have a busy week with my album coming out, but we’ll just see where the night takes us.”