Local comedian-magician reaches out
- Written by Anne McIlhany
Young women educated about bulimia For as long as she can remember, Becky Blaney always wanted to be on stage. As the daughter of a prominent magician, Blaney was born with the desire to perform. She started young, as her father’s assistant, and from that point on she has entertained, enthralled, and won over audiences all across the U.S. Blaney is best known as a magician and comedian. In fact, she is the only woman in the world who holds the distinction of being a professional comedian-magician. In addition, throughout the years, she has showcased her talents in many ways. Singing telegrams, acting, dancing and singing have all been a part of her repertoire. She is also a former Miss Houston. Numerous performances in Las Vegas productions, her own show in Atlantic City, several television appearances, and feature acts at top comedy clubs across the nation are all highlights of her stellar career. Despite her many accolades and professional triumphs, Blaney suffered silently for 28 years with an eating disorder few are brave enough to talk about -bulimia. Bulimia (or bulimia nervosa) is a condition that is characterized by binge eating followed by purging, usually through either self-induced vomiting or the use of laxatives. “It started in high school,” said Blaney. “I might have been slightly chunky, but I thought I was huge.” Other factors also played into the development of her struggle. “My parents were separating, I felt unhappy at home,” she said. When the bulimic behavior started, Blaney felt totally alone. “I had never heard of bulimia,” she said. “I thought I was the only person in the world who did it; like I invented this.” For years Blaney struggled with this disorder, and many times vowed that it would be her last time. “I had a million relapses,” she said. At one point, she actually vomited blood and ended up having to undergo stomach surgery. This traumatic incident still did not stop the cycle. “When it starts, you think you are in control,” she said. “But then it controls you.” Blaney has been recovered for nine years now. “Once I acknowledged it, that began the road to recovery,” she said. “The number one key to recovery is to stop the cycle. The more you don’t do it, the more you won’t do it.” Other factors critical to recovery include therapy and family support. “Family is a huge component of recovery,” said Blaney. Bulimia wreaks havoc on one’s health and life, and Blaney knows this from painful, personal experience. “I say I’m lucky to be here,” she said. “But really I’m lucky to be anywhere.” Blaney now conducts workshops and speaking engagements for young women, to educate them about eating disorders, bulimia in particular. “I love doing my act,” she said, “but this is reaching out.” For information about having Blaney speak at a function for girls or women to address eating disorders, contact her at www.beckyblaney.com. For more information about bulimia, visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.