Shawna Malcom
May 04, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Sure, she’s wafer thin and a self-described fitness freak, but don’t even think about giving Vanessa Marcil the Calista treatment. ”I eat whatever I want, junk food included,” says Marcil, whose ”Beverly Hills, 90210” alter ego, the bitch-alicious Gina, reveals on Wednesday’s episode (8 p.m., Fox) that she suffers from an eating disorder. ”If I deny myself something, I just get resentful, so what’s the point?”

While she may not be a starving artist, Marcil, 29, has indulged in her fair share of destructive behavior. What she characterizes as a ”difficult childhood” led the Palm Beach, Calif., native to start drinking at 11 and to ”marry” Hollywood wild child Corey Feldman in the late ’80s. Despite published reports to the contrary, Marcil now claims the union was ”actually a joke we played on our friends. We were messed-up kids, you know? Now that I’m in the public eye, it’s turned into this whole wrong rumor. To say that we were really married is completely not true.” (Sorry, Corey.)

Regardless, at 20, Marcil entered therapy, got sober, and threw herself into acting. She’s been working ever since: She popped up in her good friend Prince’s video ”The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” made out with Nic Cage in 1995’s ”The Rock,” and spent six years raising temps on ABC’s ”General Hospital.” But success came with a price: ”I didn’t take a vacation for five years. A few times, I passed out from exhaustion and ended up in the hospital. It was kind of insane.”

Since checking out of the ”Hospital” and into ”90210” last fall, Marcil has learned to slow down — sort of. ”I balance things better and don’t kill myself so much,” she says. ”But conflict makes me a more interesting actress to watch. The places I go to to pull emotions from, I think if you have a perfect, happy life, you just don’t have those places. And I want those places. I’m proud of those places.”

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