Estelle: Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele

Brunette Ambition by Lea MicheleBrunette Ambition by Lea Michele ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: May 20, 2014
Publisher: Harmony Books
Pages: 208
Target audience: teens/adults
Keywords: part memoir/part how-to, style, exercise, Glee
Format read: Finished copy from publisher* (Thanks!)

Summary: Broadway star / actress / singer Lea Michele tells the story of her life up until now, peppering in favorite recipes, looks, fashion advice, Glee factoids, and more.

If you are looking for a tell-all about Lea Michele’s life, Brunette Ambition isn’t really going to fulfill that need. Instead we get the bare bones of her fitness regiment, makeup and shopping tips, and even some of her favorite recipes in addition to how her career got started, the phenomenon of Glee, and her friendship with Jonathan Groff (my favorite!).

While I was interested in the release of the book, it wasn’t until I saw it in person that I knew I had to have it. The photography is stunning. The professional shots of Lea before and after makeup, even the ones accompanies the various exercise instructions, are so gorgeous. (She has perfect hair. I swear. I can’t even.) Not to mention she shares a bunch of instagram and iPhone pictures throughout as she tells her story.

Despite the length, she covers a lot of topics and even though it’s never completely in depth, you feel like you’re having a nice long magazine interview with her instead of just a few pages. A few of my favorite parts:

  • Her philosophy on shopping is one I really need to take to heart. Shop for basics. What should you splurge on and what should you buy at a bargain? (I love that she makes fun of some of her past fashion choices too. Been there.)
  • Have you ever thought of using a toothbrush for hair flyaways or your bangs? Me neither. But I get these all the time, and now I have a solution.
  • In a world of Lindsay Lohans and Britney Spears, I admire how Lea works so hard to stay close with her family and create a circle of trustworthy friends. I’ve read so many interviews where she talks about how she would rather stay in than go out like most girls her age, and she reiterates that often in the book. It’s nice to picture her as the kind of person who wants to curl up on her couch with wine and her cat watching crappy reality shows.
  • Since I started really following her in the last few months — her album is my summer soundtrack — I’ve been impressed by her work ethic. The amount of hours that Glee requires in addition to this book, an entire album, and appearances? She still manages to stay in shape, cook food, and be social. She’s a rock star. Seeing it all written down in one places makes it even more admirable.

And, of course, there are some quoteworthy moments too:

  • “While I get that there’s a fine line between owning your accomplishments and reciting every line of your resume, there is absolutely no shame in being proud of what you’ve managed to achieve. Own it.”
  • “I always think it’s better to scramble to learn a new skill than to sell yourself short.”
  • “Work on your friendships in the same way you’d tackle anything of importance in your life. And be judicious about the special people you let into your circle.”
  • “No matter what — the show must go on.”

I definitely see this as a book I would pick up time and time again, opening to a chapter and just reading for awhile, especially with the healthy recipes, the hair & facial concoctions, and the fitness sections. If you are a Glee or Lea fan in general, I can see where you would be interested in the whole package but as a reader who is looking for an uplifting and honest how-to, it’s worth adding to your collection. Lea’s already started on book 2, and I’m very curious how the “movement” will move forward.

I love her. I can’t help it!

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*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

7 thoughts on “Estelle: Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele

  1. Joli @ Actin' Up with Books says:

    I’m a fan of Lea Michelle and how she presents herself publicly. One of my favorite things about watching her perform is that you can tell that she is living her dream. It comes out in everything that she does.
    Thanks for sharing this review. I don’t think that I would purchase this book, but I will definitely spend a lengthy amount of time at the bookstore reading it.

  2. Chrystal @ Snowdrop Dreams of Books says:

    I was hoping to see a review of this pop up somewhere. I had it on my wishlist when I first heard about it. I might see if my library has it, so I can borrow it.

    I really admire Lea Michelle… so this is a must read for me. 🙂

    And I enjoyed your review of the book, now I know what it’s really all about.

  3. Lisa is Busy Nerding says:

    Can I just say that I LOVE that you reviewed this on the blog? I was interested in it after it was pitched via email, but I was like “this doesn’t fit with what I do” – which is SO not fair of me to do to this book! You do a great job sharing what’s great about it and I respect that about your review style (and you in general!)

    I especially love her words on friendship. YOU have to work at it, but you also need to be selective and don’t let people who don’t mesh with who you are (ahem negativity ahem) suck up your time.


  4. Alexa S. says:


    Okay, now that I’ve gotten that bit out of the way, I can tell you that I just adore the fact that Lea did a book like this. Hearing her stories + tips about every day things sounds pretty darn awesome, and so good because she’s someone I really admire.

  5. Asma A.J says:

    I’ve actually stopped watching Glee a while before it ended, but I do think that Lea is a star- and very driven. Might be checking this book out.

    Thanks for sharing some of the tidbits!

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