Class of ’04: Tenafly High School in Tenafly, N.J.
DID BEING ON BROADWAY SO YOUNG AFFECT YOUR HIGH SCHOOL EXPERIENCE?
I actually had a really normal high school experience. I worked from age 8 to 14 on Broadway, and then when I entered high school I told my parents that I wanted to take a little break and just be a normal kid for a while.
WHAT CLIQUES WERE YOU IN?
I kind of floated around to all different groups, but it was very clear in my high school that if you were not from a wealthy family or if you were not playing a sport, then you were not cool. But I got by.
SO YOU GET WHY KIDS CONNECT TO GLEE?
Yes. I’m so honored to play Rachel Berry—she’s raised by two gay men in Lima, Ohio, and that’s not easy. But she’s proud of who she is.
HAVE YOU GOTTEN FEEDBACK FROM FANS WHO IDENTIFY WITH RACHEL?
My favorite story is that a mother came up to me and told me that her daughter said that two girls in her school said, “Are your mommies gay?” and the little girl said, “Yeah,” and the mom asked, “How did you get the courage to say yes?” and the girl said, “Mom, I’m like Rachel Berry.”
IS IT TRUE THAT YOU GOT INTO A CAR ACCIDENT RIGHT BEFORE YOU AUDITIONED FOR GLEE?
I did. I was turning into the Fox lot and a car hit me. But coming from the Broadway world, there’s no excuses—that made me leave the car in the street and run up to the audition. I think it was an adrenaline thing.
AS A NEW YORKER, HOW HAVE YOU ADJUSTED TO LIFE IN L.A.?
Basically while I’m in L.A., work is my life. Working on Glee is like having a baby. Even if you think the baby is asleep and you have some free time, the baby might wake up and then you’ve got to go be with Glee.
DO YOU HAVE ANY PETS KEEPING YOU COMPANY?
I have two cats—Claude and Sheila—that I rescued from the lot where we film. I actually rescued six cats from the lot and gave three to one of our directors, one to Heather Morris, and I have two.
HAVE THE PAPARAZZI BEEN AN ISSUE FOR YOU?
I don’t ever get followed by paparazzi. They’re bored by me. I am not a party girl or anything like that. I would rather be at home. I invite my cast members over, and we watch scary movies and we eat pizza. The other night I made Chris and Kevin watch Paranormal Activity.