By Erin Strecker
Updated March 14, 2013 at 05:35 PM EDT
Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

Björk. Cher. Madonna. Lea Michele?

Bad news for fans who enjoy a good fashion risk: As red-carpet coverage has gotten more popular – even replacing the awards shows as the main event for some fashion-hungry followers – many stars are playing it safe to avoid winding up on the worst dressed list. “[These days] everybody is a critic,” hairstylist Mark Townsend, who has worked with Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Williams, Lea Michele and many others, said. “The Internet has changed it. At some [point in] time, if you were on TV you had some kind of fashion background, but now all these shows like to employ comedians to be fashion experts [instead of actual fashion people].”

One star who Townsend says isn’t afraid of what Joan Rivers and her Fashion Police cohorts might say? Glee star Lea Michele.

When it comes to her hair, Townsend says Michele is “his most adventurous client,” a woman who always has a distinct point of view… and isn’t afraid to share it.

“She has a specific idea in mind for each [red carpet] look. She’ll come in and say, ‘I don’t want to have bangs today,’” the hairstylist told EW during an event for Dove (he reps the brand’s hair care products) in New York City last week. “[One time] I literally glued latex down on her scalp and put more hair down on top of it so it didn’t look like [her bangs had] been thinned out. She will go there.”

While some of Townsend’s clients rely on him to come up with a hairstyle, Michele – much like her Glee alter ego Rachel Berry – is full of opinions. “She’ll send pictures of the dress when she picks it out, asking, ‘What do you think?’” Townsend said. “She’s very, very visual, and she has such great ideas. She’ll tear through magazines, saying, ‘I love this, I love this, I love this, but it has already been photographed, so come up with something better!’ (laughs) A lot of times it’s like, ‘The bangs of this [picture], the texture of this one.’ She’ll let us play with her color. It’s a dream for a hairdresser.”

And though Townsend’s area of expertise is hair, he understands why some actresses worry that a fashion misstep could lead to a career derailment.

“Things have changed so much. Red carpets are more of a casting session [now] than anything,” he said. “Directors and producers are [watching] so [Michele] wants to show how versatile she is with her look.”

Rachel Berry would be proud.

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