Lea Michele Can't Escape The Plastic Surgery Rumors After Her Face Transformation

Lea Michele has been standing up to the pressure to undergo rhinoplasty ever since she was a teenager, but some believe she may have given in to a different kind of plastic surgery: buccal fat removal. Speculation arose after Michele's cheekbones became more pronounced in photos, which many believe can only be achieved through surgical intervention. The "Glee" alum hasn't addressed the rumors, but she has been open about putting up a fight to keep her face intact in her early career.

Michele has a pronounced nose that falls outside Hollywood's beauty standards, though she had no issues with it. "I love my nose because it's mine," she wrote in an essay for Today in 2019. Nonetheless, agents believed she needed to alter her face to improve her chances in the industry. "I must've been maybe only 13 years old, I started being told by managers and agents that in order to make it on television or be on covers of magazines that I was going to have to get a nose job," she said.

Michele is glad she stood her ground. Thanks to her striking features, she earned early recognition. "Maybe if I had looked different, I wouldn't have gotten the job," she wrote about her breakout role on "Glee." Lea Michele credits Barbra Streisand for inspiring her to embrace her nose. "She was an icon for me," she told Town & Country in 2022. Michele may have refused to change her face in a major way, but many believe she was more open to going for less invasive alterations.

Lea Michele sparked buccal fat removal speculation in 2022

Speculation that Lea Michele had undergone buccal fat removal started swirling in December 2022, when she uploaded a series of selfies dolled up and striking sexy faces to Instagram (seen above). Fans noticed her cheekbones seemed more pronounced, a look often achieved with the cosmetic procedure that removes fat from the lower cheeks. Some social media users were quick to judge. "Her career will be over before the buccal fat removal trend," one user wrote in the comments section.

Others, however, suggested Michele's hollow cheeks may have a natural cause behind it. "Faces lose volume as they age, it's possible she's just aging naturally," another commenter argued. The rumors about Lea Michelle continued to pop up, mostly when she posted makeup-free photos. In April 2023, Michele received similar commentary after sharing a professional shot highlighting her facial structure. "It's like someone drew sharpies down your beautiful face," one user wrote in the Instagram post.

Some have suggested that Michele may have achieved the hollow-cheek look with makeup. Following the 2022 selfie controversy, makeup artist Ehlie Luna set out to see if she could achieve a similar effect with contouring. "I love offering [my social media followers] the option to test the look out with makeup before they make the decision [to get surgery]," she told the New York Post. But because Michele hasn't confirmed or denied the rumors, the question of whether she had plastic surgery will remain a mystery.

Lea Michele isn't against plastic surgery

While Lea Michele chose to keep her nose as is, she admitted she isn't entirely against plastic surgery. In 2019, she suggested she might go under the knife if there was a particular procedure she had been mulling over. "If it's something that I'd been thinking on my own for a while, that might've been one thing," she said in the Today interview. Michele also defended celebs who have changed their looks. "I think that people should be able to make their own choices. If that's something that someone wants to do, then great," she added.

As her opinion on plastic surgery evolved, Michele has long touted the benefits of self-care and has been open about the effort she puts to feel her best. She pays attention to what she eats and starts her days with exercise. Michele also believes that self-care goes beyond the physical body, so she makes sure to pay attention to her mental wellbeing. "I work out, I eat well, I spend time with family and friends in a positive way, I surround myself with a very strong healthy circle of people. I meditate," she told Teen Vogue in 2015.