Post image for “American Idol’s” Mariah Pulice:  “I decided I wanted to share my story.”

“American Idol’s” Mariah Pulice: “I decided I wanted to share my story.”

by Maryann Pisano on February 17, 2013

Mariah Pulice

What was your life like before auditioning for American Idol?

I was working at a restaurant.

What year did you graduate high school?


Why did you decide to audition for American Idol?

I want to be honest.  I didn’t really want to.  My mom begged me, begged me and begged me for years, literally.  All throughout my life I was involved with [music.]  [My mom] was bugging me about doing American Idol over and over again.  I said, mom, I don’t want to do it.  Finally, I said I would do it.  I said if I didn’t make it, I wouldn’t audition again.  I ended up trying out and making it to [Hollywood.]

How did you prepare for your audition?

I didn’t really do anything different.  I wanted this [audition] to be the most laid back one, because it was the biggest one.  So, I didn’t want to stress so much about it.  It got to point where I got really, really stressed and it felt like my vocal chords were swelling, but it was just me freaking out.  It really was all mental.  But, I really wanted this one to be the most laid back.  I tried to stay calm, and I picked a really well prepared song that I knew I sung well.  I was comfortable in my range.

How did you decide what you were going to wear?

That’s another thing I wanted to be super laid back.  My personality is really, really laid back.  So is my style.  I did think about it, don’t get me wrong.  But, that’s why I chose the cream shirt that I wore.  I wanted people to focus on my singing instead of [what I was wearing.]  To be honest, I didn’t even want people to think about my outfit, which is why I wore such a beige color.

Tell me about meeting the Ryan Seacrest and performing for Mariah Carey.  What was going through your head?!

I do not remember what I was thinking.  I was standing in front of them.  I remember thinking, ‘oh my God, Mariah Carey is beautiful.’  I was never a big Mariah Carey fan, I didn’t listen to her music.  When I got in there, she was so sweet.  I could tell that she was a mother.  That’s what I could tell.  I just walked in and I was so nervous beforehand.  That always happens to me. I get really, really shaky.  I start to panic.  But when I walked out there, it was a different story. I tried to compose myself because that’s what you’re supposed to do.  They were really, really sweet.  They were all really nice.  And, as much I was having trouble telling my story and singing right after, they were really patient with me.  I was crying, and Mariah kept saying, ‘it’s okay, take your time.’  Even Randy Jackson was saying, ‘it’s okay.’  I think that was a big factor how I got to sing through [my song] without crying as much as I was.

Mariah and her sister, Kristen Pulice

How did the producers learn about your struggle with anorexia?  Did to you tell them?

Yeah, I told them.  I decided I was going to share my story with them.

Why did you decide to share?  Were you hoping it would inspire others struggling?

A girl wrote on Twitter the other day that I was using the story for attention and hashtagged my name.  I’m not doing this for attention.  I feel like I’m not doing enough for the people who are in the same situation as me.  [I can use my music to help others.]  Why wouldn’t I?  I decided I was going to be open.  They ask you on American Idol why you’re trying out.  I decided I was going to let them know [my reason.]

I’m sure your battle with anorexia was kept private.  What was it like for the whole country to hear about your struggle?

It’s still kind of hard.  It kind of hit me more when the episode was coming closer and closer.  It was a countdown to my private life [being on display.]  I’m still kind of getting used to it.

How did your family react with you deciding to take your struggle public?

They’re supportive of everything I do.  They’re the most supportive group of people I can ever ask for.  They love that I am telling my story.  I am helping people, so they’re all for it.

What helped you overcome anorexia?

I think American Idol was a big push for me to get better.  I want to support a healthy lifestyle.

Were you in an inpatient program?

Yes.  I was in inpatient twice.

How are you today?

Everything is up and down.  I have days that I like the way that I look, and there are days when I don’t.  But there are never days that I don’t eat.

There are never days that I don’t eat.

Have people been coming out of the woodwork to contact you?

(Laughs) Yes!  I have people from Brazil and the Philippines friend requesting me.  I think it’s so, so sweet.  Then they’ll send me a message and say, ‘hi.’

How many messages a day do you receive?

It died down a lot.  When the episode first aired, it was so many.  I had to turn off my phone.  I guess I get five a day now.

Do you respond to most of them?

Yeah, I try.

Have a lot of girls reached out to you that are also struggling with anorexia?

Yeah.  I get messages either saying thank you or that they struggle, too.  Not enough people [in the public eye admit] that they’re struggling.

I am sure that so many celebrities in Hollywood are struggling, too.  And the only story we’ve really heard is Demi Lovato’s.  You’re inspiring a lot of girls.

Right.  It is so important for people to know that guys struggle with this, as well.  So many guys have reached out to me.  Even guys do this, too.  Look at male models.  They’re ridiculous.

I think your story is really amazing, Mariah.  It’s  great that you were brave enough to share your story!

Thank you!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Minnie February 17, 2013 at 11:20 pm

thank you for a sensitive interview and highlighting a real-life issue. Great job!


kim pulice February 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Thank you for giving my daughter Mariah a voice to tell her story. She’s an amazing, loving, talented young woman and we are all so very proud of her for everything she’s done. It was very hard to watch my daughter in HS. getting thinner and thinner. I took immediate action and had her placed in a hospital because I knew this was beyond my control. As an ICU RN I felt so helpless. My daughter was going to die. She’s come such a long way and is doing so much better now. Thank God.
When she auditioned for Idol I new she’d make it through to Hollywood. She’s so talented. I only wish she could have a door opened for her. I thought maybe this would be it. Didn’t quite work that way but she’ll keep plugging along and hopefully something will come up or someone will give her a chance. Kim Pulice


Maryann Pisano February 21, 2013 at 9:26 pm

You’re welcome, Kim! Mariah is very brave.


Claudine Kerber February 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Don’t give up your dreams! Mariah, you are a great spirit. I still remember you always smiling and being in a great mood. You were a great friend to everyone and wanted to help all the time. I still remember when you performed at the concerts at school. I remember getting chills when you had a solo and thought you were so brave to sing infront of everyone when you were 9 or 10. Your voice was beautiful even back then.

When I found out that you were on the show…I bragged to everyone that I knew that “she was one of my former students…you have to watch her…she is so good. Here…look it on You Tube.”

I know that not moving on with the show is a let down. I have an article on my fringe to remind me to keep learning and trying my hardest to not get frustrated in life. It is entitled, “Don’t Give Up”. I found it in a Costco newsletter of all places. It reads…
Often Life doesn’t go in the direction we want it to. Does that mean our lives are doomed and we can’t achieve the success we dream of? Let’s be realisitic: Everyone fails. Consider the following:
Walt Disney was fired because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas”.
Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was to “too stupid to learn anything”. He was fired from his first two jobs for nonproduction.
Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and did not read until he was seven.
Charles Schulz submitted the Peanuts comic strip to his high school yearbook and it was rejected.
The Beatles were turned down at first because “We don’t like thier sound. Guitar groups are on thier way out.”
Imagine if these individual had given up believing they were doomed to failure and would never achieve success. Do you think they every felt down and depressed? Sure. But they didn’t allow a gloomy state to overtake them, to overpower their desire to succeed.

Use this fabulous opprotunity on AI to lead you be strong and determined to help direct your life/career to where you would like it to go. Not many people in life have that much bravery to sing on national television!


Susan September 10, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Thank you for conducting an interview on such a sensitive topic that is viewed by pop culture the wrong way. Eating disorders are glamorized to a certain degree, and then those that struggle are then chastised when they have gone ‘too far’. Its encouraging and enforcing to know that young women with talent and a positive outlook on life are willing to share their story so that others will follow and believe that recovery equals growth and achieving your dreams.


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