Rachel Barbra Berry is a fictional character and de facto female lead from the Fox musical comedy-drama series Glee.
The character is portrayed by actress Lea Michele, and has appeared in Glee from its pilot episode, first broadcast on May 19, 2009.
Rachel was developed by Glee creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan.
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Her storylines have seen her suffer peer alienation due to her Broadway ambitions, and develop romantic feelings for Jesse St.
James (Jonathan Groff), a member of rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline, but primarily for quarterback and glee club co-captain Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), to whom she eventually becomes engaged.
Michele bases Rachel on herself when she was younger, and also draws inspiration for the character variously from films including Election, and television portrayals such as the Gossip Girl character Blair Waldorf.
"Rachel will never be popular because her looks aren't considered beautiful," said Michele, "and when I was in high school it was the same for me.
I didn't get a nose job, and every single girl around me did. What's so great about Glee is that it shows you how that kind of stuff hurts, but it doesn't matter: You can still be who you want to be." Michele was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 2010, and for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy in 20 for her performance in the role.
Rachel has received mostly positive reviews from critics: Maureen Ryan of The Chicago Tribune praised Michele for making the character "more than a humorless stereotype", though The Wall Street Journal Several songs performed by Michele as Rachel have been released as singles, available for digital download, and also feature on the show's soundtrack albums.
Rachel is the most frequently seen character on the series, with "The Role You Were Born to Play," "Dynamic Duets" and "Shooting Star" (all in season 4) being the only episodes where she does not appear.
She joins the newly reconstituted glee club hoping that fame will increase her popularity and help her find a boyfriend.
She is bullied by members of the school cheerleading and football teams, but is pleased when quarterback Finn Hudson joins the club, developing a crush on him.