Sandra Lee Says She Cut Her Hair Just Like Princess Diana for Her First Cookbook (Exclusive)

Lee released her first cookbook, 'Semi-Homemade — Cooking, Fast and Fabulous,' in 2001

<p>Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty; Peter Brooker/Shutterstock </p>

Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty; Peter Brooker/Shutterstock

As Sandra Lee was trying to hit it big in the food scene, she knew she needed to look to the right person for inspiration for her appearance.

Just before she launched her first cookbook in 2001 — called Semi-Homemade — Cooking, Fast and Fabulous — she styled her hair like an absolute icon in hopes that it would make a statement.

"I cut my hair like [Princess Diana] for my first cookbook before I had a publisher," Lee, 57, reveals to PEOPLE at the GLAAD Media Awards. Maybe it was the hairstyle or maybe it was her penchant for turning grocery store staples into glamorous homemade meals, but the fact remains that Lee quickly rose to fame soon after and has since released dozens of cookbooks (and has won a Daytime Emmy for her show Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee).

<p>Jamie McCarthy/Getty</p> Sandra Lee at GLAAD Media Awards on May 11

Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Sandra Lee at GLAAD Media Awards on May 11

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She tells PEOPLE, though, that her show, which ran for 15 seasons, had a "certain reputation" for not being "particularly healthy" once upon a time.

Lee recalls a time early on when her nephew Bryce, who accompanied her to the GLAAD Media Awards (and who you might recognize from Netflix's The Trust), was going to join her on the show for Mother's Day and she switched up the recipe to combat the criticism.

"I was going to make Rum Baba with Twinkies, but we changed the whole recipe and used sorghum [a crop cultivated for its grain] — it's very southern," she recalls.

Related: Sandra Lee Says She's Taking a 'Solo Health Week' at Special Clinic in Germany: 'Can't Hurt to Triple Check'

Lee may not be rocking her Princess Diana hair these days, but she has leaned into the '70s style. For the GLAAD Media Awards, Lee wore her long blonde hair down in loose curls and fluffed her bangs around her face. It's similar to how she's been wearing her hair for years, but she added some volume for vintage flair.

She wore a long-sleeve floral dress with a puffy shoulder and accessorized with tan heels and a coordinating handbag. To tie everything together, Lee wore dazzling drop earrings.

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