‘Sopranos’ star comes to UI

By Tracy Douglas

Many might know Jamie-Lynn Discala as Tony Soprano’s daughter Meadow on the hit HBO series The Sopranos, but many might not know about her personal struggles with an eating disorder.

Discala is coming to the University tonight to discuss her battle with an eating disorder in the Lincoln Hall Theater at 6:30, sponsored by the University Registered Student Organization Body Image Network (BIN) and several other groups. The actress suffered from anorexia in the late 90s.

Discala is the spokeswoman for the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), said Katie Sonneborn, treasurer of BIN and junior in LAS.

“She will be discussing her battle with an eating disorder, how she overcame it and how it has shaped her life,” Sonneborn said. She said Discala was someone who had been “vocal in her struggles” by eventually becoming the spokeswoman for NEDA.

Sonneborn said the group wanted someone who would be able to draw a big crowd and move beyond the group’s target population of dorms, sororities and sports teams.

“This whole year has been focused on this program,” Sonneborn said.

“It kind of started as a joke, a ‘wouldn’t it be cool if we could get her’ type thing,” said Tara O’Connor, president of BIN and sophomore in LAS.

O’Connor said other University groups such as the UIUC Counseling Center, University Housing, the Mettler Center and several sororities helped raise the money needed in order to get Discala to speak on campus. She added that one group donated money specifically designated for advertising the event.

BIN is affiliated with the Counseling Center and does education on and prevention of eating disorders, Sonneborn said. She said the group goes to dorms, sororities and sports teams to present programs and discuss issues related to body image.

“(Body image) is a big issue on college campuses. It affects just about all of us,” Sonneborn said, adding that there are not many people with actual diagnosed eating disorders. She said a lot of people are working on issues of body image, such as the Treatment Team.

“We still need to reach more people,” Sonneborn said.

The group will have its chance to reach more people tonight at Discala’s speech. Elizabeth Lindner, sophomore in LAS, said she would be going to the speech.

“I am going because I’m definitely interested in learning more about her struggle with eating disorders, and I feel that because she’s a well-known celebrity, it’s an exciting change to get a lot of people to come out to hear about such an important topic,” Lindner said.