Allegedly, Lea Michele, according to some sleuthing conspiracy theorists, cannot read. And if that’s true—it’s not (but could it be?)—it appears Michele did not read the warnings nor the instructions prior to getting a spray tan before Broadway’s biggest night, the 2022 Tony Awards.
On Sunday night, Michele performed during the ceremony along with her original castmates Jonathan Groff and Skylar Astin as part of a 15-year anniversary tribute to the musical “Spring Awakening.” Michele—who said in a documentary that she showed Groff her “whole vagina” with a “desk lamp???”—sang “Touch Me,” the musical anthem for teen horniness. And I’m sorry, but I must add that Vulture noted Michele did not have to learn new lines for the performance.
Hey, that reminds me: You know who I don’t want to touch right now? Lea “The Spray Tan Blunder from Down Under” Michele!!!
One of my toxic traits is that I am a spray tan apologist willing to soak my ass in fifty dollars worth of carrot and beet juice for just a shred of added confidence. But the art of the spray tan is such that you should not be aiming to change ethnicities (I really shouldn’t have to call that out, but Ariana Grande needs to hear it); you should not resemble a ripe tangerine or Donald Trump; and if your teeth are popping out of your face like a glow-in-the-dark Jack O’Lantern, you’ve gone too far. And sure, there’s always a chance that a paparazzo on the red carpet did you dirty and upped the saturation and warmth levels to near solar heights during photo editing. But this isn’t saturation—no, this is something more sinister. I may sound like a conspiracy theorist myself, but I am convinced that the spray tanning community is out to get Lea Michele. Let’s dive in, shall we?
It’s 2012: Michele appears on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and uses this precious publicity moment to talk about none other than her spray tan, which her dog ruined by peeing on her. I don’t know about you, but my dog does not just mistakenly pee on my leg, ever. She only pees on concrete, in gutters, and on things that already smell like other dogs’ pee.
Then Michele is spotted on the set of Glee in a neon pink robe, and her skin is so orange that she falls between the “apricot” and “atomic tangerine” Crayola crayons. She appears oblivious that she would fit in much better in a school of clownfish from Finding Nemo than on the set of her hit television show.
Then, 2013: Michele is hailed again for her “vacation tan,” but fans have a right to be suspicious at this point. Are any of her tans real? Is Lea Michele…real? Sure enough, as she hits the red carpet for the 2013 Golden Globes, the singing neon carrot makes a comeback, citing some vacation baking in Hawaii. But that’s not what a sunkissed tourist looks like; instead, she’s glowing like an Orange Julius kiosk at the mall and is later seen leaving a tanning salon Portofino Beverly Hills.
Fast forward to the Black Lives Matter movement, and Lea Michele is accused of racism and harassment by her former Glee co-star Samantha Marie Ware, who says Michele told her she would “shit in her wig” if given the opportunity. Fellow co-stars Amber Riley and Alex Newell back up Ware’s claims, while co-star Dabier Snell says Michele didn’t let him sit with her group of friends because he “didn’t belong there.” Broadway’s former child star darling gets hit with one PR nightmare after the next. And as her career is rightfully ripped to shreds, one thing remains: that obnoxious shade of orange.
Fast forward again. It’s June of 2022, and according to an episode of E!’s “Down in the DMs,” Michele allegedly reaches out to “Summer House’s” Paige DeSorbo on Instagram asking where she gets her spray tans. Two weeks later, she shows up at the Tonys like this:
Listen, I’m not saying a Bravo-lebrity sabotaged Lea Michele, and I’m not saying that a surely talented spray tan artist intentionally fucked Michele over by giving her a tan from Mars, but I’m not not saying those things. Either way, even if one has committed the irrevocable sin of getting horrible spray tans more than once, bad spray tans aren’t a moral failing, and we should lay off on mocking Michele for looking like a packet of cheese dust in a Kraft Mac n’ Cheese box.
Trust that if there is a reason to dislike Lea Michele, it’s not this. But when you’re being racist while aggressively changing the color of your skin for public appearances, the spray tans are... fair game for discussion.