Lea Michele has used her powerhouse voice to launch herself from Broadway standout to Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated actress. But it's just an accident that the Glee star even learned she could sing.
Accompanying a friend to an open casting call for Broadway's Les Misérables, the then-8-year-old surprised herself by landing the role of Young Cosette.
"I didn't know I could sing until I auditioned for Les Misérables," she told Glamour. "My mother was like, ‘You can't sing.' I'd never tried!"
The woman best known for her role as Rachel Berry in Glee followed up her Broadway debut with other stage parts in Ragtime in 1998 and Fiddler on the Roof in 2004.
Lea's breakout performance came in Spring Awakening, where she also met her soon-to-be Glee costars, Jonathan Groff and Jenna Ushkowitz.
In 2009 she was brought in to sing in McKinley High's choir room, cementing her stardom. It was there she met her longtime love interest, Glee costar Cory Monteith. The pair was dating at the time of Monteith's untimely death in 2013.
While she plays a nerdy diva by day, Michele turns heads on the red carpet by night, showing lots of leg and wearing tight, low-cut dresses. E! named her 2010's Most Stylish Star, the same year she made it to Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People list. She also ranked No. 28 on Maxim's Hot 100 in 2011.
Lea Michele's New Tattoo Is a Tribute to Cory Monteith
The "Glee" star honors her late boyfriend with a small 5. It's the football jersey number worn by Cory's character Finn Hudson.