Friends struck by tragic hotel murder of Julissa Brisman

Apr 16, 2009

Friends struck by tragic hotel murder of Julissa Brisman

The New York woman working as a masseuse before her horrifying murder at the Marriott Copley Place on Tuesday night was described by those who knew her as an aspiring model and actress.

Julissa Brisman, 26, was dating a Colorado man when she advertised herself as offering masseuse services on, said several friends.

“She very much talked like Paris Hilton,” said Emily Claire, 30, a Queens-based make-up artist who worked with Brisman on photo shoots. “She also told us about this thing she did, and she was kind of embarrassed to talk about it.”
Claire’s boyfriend, Matthew Terhune, 34, began photographing Brisman last year. He said she needed headshots for modeling auditions and photos for her job in a tanning salon.

Terhune described Brisman as amped up, frequently clutching a Red Bull energy drink.

“She’d always say, ‘Just joking, just joking,’ ” Terhune said. “She was very petite, very skinny, maybe 100 pounds. Last time I saw her I thought her legs were too skinny.”

Terhune and Claire said Brisman never mentioned being a masseuse. She had apparently posted a photo on her Craiglist ad of another model photographed by Terhune.

Michelle Barisano worked with Brisman on an ad for cell phone etiquette.

“Oh my God, what a tragedy,” she said upon learning Brisman’s tragic fate. “She’s beautiful. A very committed and serious actress.”

Mark Pines, a New York videographer, knew Julissa for six years. He said she came to work for him to shoot music videos and as a photo model.

“This is a total tragedy,” Pines said.

“We became the best of friends, I was very close to the whole family.” Pines said. “I babysat her dog.”

Pines learned of Julissa’s demise when he got a call from her mother.

“She called me at 7 this morning quite hysterical. Her mother lost her mother last month in the Dominican,” Pines said.

Pines said Julissa was working as a masseuse to make money but rejected speculation she was selling sex.

“I can tell you right now it was massage and not prostitution,” Pines said. “I know what she was doing with that. She wasn’t into anything with sex.”

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