Lea Michele defends her weight loss in a recent interview, saying she slimmed down last year after undergoing surgery for a jaw infection.
The 25-year-old actress, who sticks to a vegan diet, plays glee club member Rachel Berry on the FOX musical comedy series "Glee." She appears slightly thinner on the current third season than she did in the first few episodes of the show in 2009.
Allure magazine, which features Michele on the cover of its December 2011 issue, reported that her "weight loss was due to a surgery she had because of an infection in her jaw" and quoted her as saying: "I'm half Italian. I can eat some bitches under the table."
Michele also showcases a slim figure as she poses in high-waisted underwear briefs and a lace bra in one of the photos posted on Allure's website.
The actress stirred controversy last year when she and two of her co-stars were pictured scantily clad and in provocative poses on the cover of GQ magazine. Michele told Allure she would "absolutely" do the photo shoot again.
Berry is one of the club's most prominent and outspoken members and often acts like a spoiled brat. Several tabloids have reported in recent years that Michele's behavior in public is similar to that of her "Glee" character. During one incident, Michele is said to have told a photographer, when asked who she was, that she was "Sarah Palin."
"I was being silly," Michele told Allure, when asked about it. "But anyway, that's a huge thing I learned ? Not everybody knows you and has the same sense of humor. At the same time, if I couldn't be myself, I'd lose my mind."
"I came from the theater world, where the word 'diva' was awesome," the New York native added. "But it's different in Los Angeles. And this all happened to me so quickly. But I came to L.A., and the first audition I went on was for 'Glee.' And I was on the show two months later and had a very different life."
Before she was cast on the show, Michele starred opposite Jonathan Groff, who plays Jesse St. James on "Glee," in the Broadway musical "Spring Awakening." One of the songs Michele sang at her audition for the television show was "On My Own" from "Les Miserables."
Groff is set to reprise his recurring "bad boy" role on "Glee" later this season, it was reported last month.
Michele began her on-screen career in 2000, appearing on an episode of the show "Third Watch" before being cast on "Glee." She was nominated for an Emmy her role on the series and was dubbed a "triple threat" by Billboard magazine last year.
Michele also appears in the new romantic comedy film "New Year's Eve," which hits theaters on December 9, and recently voiced the character of Dorothy in the animated musical movie "Dorothy of Oz," which is set to be released in 2012.