by LEE ANN SANDWEISS
Marshella Griffin-Larry describes herself as an “Indiana girl in a California world.” Although the actress, model, singer-songwriter, and businesswoman has spent nearly 20 years in Los Angeles, she still proudly calls herself a Bloomington townie.
Griffin-Larry, 47, graduated in 1992 from Bloomington High School South before attending Indiana University as a general studies major. “My parents had my siblings [sister and brother] and me involved in the arts from a young age, so I didn’t feel I needed to study them in college,” she explains, adding that she was “a total band geek,” sang in her church choir, and started acting and modeling at age 11, doing so steadily throughout her teen and college years.
In 1995, an internship with the Agency for Instructional Technology turned full-time, prompting Griffin-Larry to take a break from her studies and travel the world as an associate producer of educational materials. She eventually returned to IU, finished her degree, and did a stint hosting the IU Update during televised Hoosiers men’s basketball games before moving to LA in 2005.
Four years ago, a routine mammogram led to a diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer, which prompted Griffin- Larry into launching chemoswagg.com, an online resource for others undergoing cancer treatment.
“When I started chemo, I was so sick—and looked how I felt. I still wanted to feel and look like myself, so I started putting on my bright red lipstick and creating cute outfits,” she recalls. “It made me feel better mentally, and I got so many compliments from others in treatment that I decided to create a business to help others.”
Griffin-Larry credits the care she received from her then-boyfriend (now her husband), Lance Larry, and her family for her new lease on life. Not only did she become an advocate for the charity Stand Up to Cancer, but she also found the courage to write and record her first album, Moodz. Released in September 2021, the album spent three weeks at No. 1 on the UK’s Global Soul Chart.
“I am truly blessed and so happy that I pushed past my fear,” says Griffin- Larry. “I encourage everyone to go after their dreams, no matter your age and circumstance. It’s never too late to pursue your passions and become everything that God intended you to be.”
Griffin-Larry is the younger sister of Bloomington Deputy Mayor Don Griffin.
For more information, visit marshellamuzic.com and chemoswagg.com.