She may be wearing gorgeous designer dresses at all the major red carpet events these days, but Lea didn't always think of herself as the pretty girl - in fact, casting directors and agents kept telling her she wasn't right for television. "Glee has made me feel beautiful," she tells Marie Claire. "Now when people say that I don't feel like they're lying. Glee has shown me that I am beautiful, that I can be beautiful no matter what I look like, what my weight is.
While her alter-ego Rachel Berry is all twinsets and prissy skirts, Lea got sultry at the Marie Claire shoot with photographer Yu Tsai, where she posed in glittering Cavalli for the cover. The images in the mag show an even more provocative side of the actress, who poses in hotpants, bodysuits and killer boots from labels including D&G, Dolce & Gabbana, Marchesa and Givenchy.
While the actress doesn't have many vices - she gets drunk from one glass of wine and doesn't do drugs - she does love tattoos and has nine of them, each one representing a milestone in her life (one of them is a gold star in honour of her character, Rachel).
A Gleek with body art and a celebrity without a penchant for self-destruction? This girl is going places.
For more on Lea, the November issue of Marie Claire is on sale now and check out www.marieclaire.co.uk/leamichele.