Marissa Von Bleicken Talks About Her Time On The Glee Project And Her Battle With Anorexia

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In last night’s episode of The Glee Project on Oxygen, the remaining seven participants were pushed through painful challenges to prove their tenacious spirits and were finally slushied!

Unfortunately, Marissa Von Bleicken was sent home. Keep reading to hear what she has to say about working with Ryan Murphy, the other contenders, her battle with anorexia, who she wants to win the competition and what she’s working on now! For over 12 years, Marissa has been performing in commercials and shows on both the amateur and professional level. She enjoys singing, acting, dancing, drawing and designing.

Glee star Max Alder was the guest mentor on last night’s episode. What advice did Glee star Mark Adler give you that you found most helpful?
I had a very heartfelt discussion with Max when I had my one-on-one session and he kind of really put into perspective what it really takes to make it in this industry. It’s not always going to be like The Glee Project where out of nowhere someone just waves their wand and you get an amazing opportunity like this; it takes so much hard work and self-sacrifice so that’s really what he taught me. 

What was your reaction when you found out you would be singing “Hate On Me” for your last-chance performance for Ryan Murphy?
Well, “Hate On Me” isn’t an easy song necessarily it definitely beats having to learn an entire new song in the span of two hours before performing but I was nervous because of all the slushing the day before; I wasn’t in the best physical and mental state so I was worried about getting it right but I hope I did. How difficult was getting slushied and how did you get through it? When you see someone getting slushied, I think the concept of it seems a lot more fun than it actually is–it’s actually very painful; it’s very very cold, extremely cold it feels like a thousand needles pricking your skin accompanied with stickiness, eye-burning, brain-freeze the entire experience was just so awful and uncomfortable.

How shocked were you when you found out you were eliminated?
It was a little bit of a shock just because I had been managing to stay on top throughout the duration of my time in the competition and also I had two consecutive wins; additionally the week that I was eliminated I won so that combined with it being my first time in the bottom three I expected to regardless if I did well or not, possibly still make it through so it was a little bit of a surprise for me but ultimately you got to know that what it comes down to is what Ryan sees in you in that instance and if he believes that he can write for you and if you’ll compliment the Glee cast–and there’s no arguing with that. 

Who would you like to see win the competition now?
Any of the other contenders are equally as deserving and talented but I’ve always had a special love for Hannah and Alex we were the closest on the show so either one of them winning would mean a lot to me; I think they both represent what Glee is all about.

How difficult was it to open up about your battle with anorexia?
It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make definitely. Anybody who knows me knows how reserved I am and private with my personal issues and finally getting the courage to admit–even to myself was a big step–that I’d had problems in the past with body image and how I was treating myself as a consequence of that; that was a really huge step for me. None of my friends or family knew and so after I did it I felt relieved and also nervous about when it was going to air. I was an absolute wreck and I had to kind of prepare my friends and family beforehand but I think it worked out alright and people have been amazingly supportive and they’ve written to me and told me some of their own personal stories and struggles and that’s meant more to me than anything I think, that I’ve been able to inspire others to get help.

What are your future plans?
I’ve heard that there is some interest, I won’t really know yet I have my fingers crossed but I think one of the great things about being able to have such an opportunity to work with so many renowned and accredited people like Ryan Murphy and Robert I think one advantage was that I found out what my strengths and weaknesses were. A lot of the mentors told me that TV and film is definitely my strength and I want to keep singing too. So, those are my plans for now.

What was your performing experience before The Glee Project?
I grew up in a very theatrical environment my Dad (Eric von Bleicken) was an opera singer at Lincoln Center, New York is of course the home of theater people so I’ve always been artistically oriented and interested in performing. My family ended up moving to a small town in Massachusetts for high school and there of-course I had a real-life Glee experience where the music kids were the first people to accept me into their midst and I think that’s really where I started blossoming as a performer. I had dance training; I did a commercial, off-Broadway show here and there–not a tremendous amount of experience prior to The Glee Project but definitely enough to keep me wanting to work at it.

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