By Ashley Spencer
Even though her Glee Project journey came to an end this week, Marissa von Bleicken proved she has definite star potential. In our exclusive Q&A, the multi-talented singer, actress, and dancer opens up to J-14 about her struggle with anorexia, how she got her big break, and the The Glee Project's real-life couples.
Catch new episodes of The Glee Project Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on Oxygen.
J-14: How did you first decide to audition for The Glee Project?
Marissa von Bleicken: Growing up in New York City, I'd always been interested in singing, and I heard about The Glee Project through the grapevine because I was a theatre major at my college, Pace University. I did a video audition on MySpace, but I really honestly didn't think anything would come of it.
J-14: Were there any secret romances going on between the cast members?
Marissa: To my knowledge, no. Because it was such an intense, vigorous work environment where we're constantly under a lot of pressure, I didn't get any indication of real-life romances. I'm surprised there wasn't more secret romance stuff, because watching reality shows and not knowing what to expect, you always think there's going to be a lot of things happening. We were all very close friends.
J-14: On the show, you admitted that you once struggled with anorexia. Can you talk a little more about what you went through?
Marissa: It started when I began modeling a few years ago. All of a sudden, I wasn't really looking at my body in a normal sense. I was looking around and seeing girls who were smaller and thinking they were normal sized. The Glee Project had a big part in helping me recover. All of a sudden, I was one of 12 finalists out of over 40,000 people chosen because somebody liked the way I performed or somebody liked who I was. Somebody saw something in me other than what I looked like. That really helped my mentality.
J-14: Did it help you to open up about your eating disorder?
Marissa: The first time I spoke about it was on The Glee Project. My family had no idea. My friends saw me getting smaller but they didn't really know what was going on. So it was therapeutic when I was finally able to be open and honest about it on the show. It was really, really hard and emotional, but I realized there's so much more to me and I remembered who I was.
J-14: What can viewers expect in upcoming episodes of The Glee Project?
Marissa: I can say it does get a lot more intense and definitely things get much, much harder. That's all I can say, I'm sorry!
Photo: Courtesy of DKC