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Lea Michele strikes a pose on the Elle US December 2013 cover wearing a Ralph Lauren jacket, Frame Denim jeans and a selection of vintage Chanel belts.

She was living her dream as Glee’s resident drama queen, dating the quarterback on-screen and off. Then, Cory Monteith’s tragic death shattered her world.

The Glee star opens up to Elle about love, mourning through music, and finding strength in Cory’s legacy.

On how she’s handling Cory Monteith’s death: “I never thought I would be in this position in my whole life. Now that I am in this position, you can choose to rise, and that’s what I’m going to try to do. I know that Cory would want nothing more than for me to take this situation and use it to help people.”

On relying on friend Kate Hudson during the difficult time after Monteith’s passing: “I called [Kate Hudson] and said, ‘I don’t know where I’m going to go because my house is swarmed [with reporters].’ She was like, ‘Oh, you’re going to stay at my house.’ Like it was nothing. No one knew I was there. I’ll never really be able to thank her, truly, for what she did for me.”

On taking time to heal: “It’s very hard. And you have to be very strong to come out of this alive, but I think by doing the best for myself, by showing that you don’t have to lose yourself, maybe someone else will feel some sort of strength or comfort.”

On why she never expected her career in television to take off: “I was told my whole life I would never do television because I was too ethnic. I was 100 percent focused and ready to be the best in the world [of Broadway] I was in.”

Read the full interview the December issue on newsstands November 19.

Credit: Elle US