Nikki DuBose is a former model turned author, mental health advocate, and ambassador. Her debut memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, was released September 30, 2016 in the U.S. and will be available in France in 2017 with Editions du Rocher.
Tara Nicole DuBose was born in 1985 in Charleston, South Carolina to Sandra Pierce and Wayne DuBose. Her mother was an artist and her father was a delivery salesman for local food companies. Sandra named her “Tara” after the fictional plantation in the film, Gone with the Wind, directed by Victor Fleming. Despite Sandra’s love for the name, she and Wayne often referred to Tara as “Nikki,” short for Nicole, and so the name stuck. After her parents divorced when Nikki was two, she and her younger brother were raised by their mother and stepfather. Her upbringing was filled with problems; Nikki suffered abuse of all kinds and was a witness to domestic violence. Her mother, Sandra, was afflicted with severe mental health conditions and drank heavily. As a result, Nikki suffered for over seventeen years from a wide range of mental health conditions.
Nikki wrote her first short story in the third grade and was a staff writer for the Odyssey in her senior year of high school. Her mental health conditions, however, hindered her from writing for many periods of her life. Although the ability to write was taken from Nikki for many years, through the gift of recovery, writing is what helped Nikki to heal and gave her her voice back. Washed Away: From Darkness to Light explores her life from the ages of two to twenty-seven, and her recovery from the mental torments that threatened to kill her.
Nikki currently lives in Los Angeles, California and enjoys reading anything by Stephen King in her spare time. She is working on a poetry book about the Gullah culture, which heavily influenced her growing up.
Nikki is a Celebrity Ambassador for The Shaw Mind Foundation, a global charity passionate about tackling the stigma that can accompany mental health issues. She has been featured on television shows and networks such as The Doctors, TD Jakes, CBS Los Angeles, and the Oprah Winfrey Network, and profiled in publications such as People, LA Times, Vogue UK, Esquire, India Times, and Inquisitr. She worked alongside Assemblymember Marc Levine on California Assembly Bill 2539, which addressed the need for workplace protections and health standards in the modeling industry. She gives talks regularly on her recovery at universities and treatment centers, and writes extensively on mental health, political issues, and the modeling industry on the NY Daily News, The Huffington Post, PsychCentral, and more. Nikki contributed as an expert reviewer for Harvard University’s STRIPED program (Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders), helping craft their student and teaching lesson for the fall 2016 semester, which focused on modeling and eating disorders.
DuBose is an Executive Board Member of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, a member of the League of Women’s Voters Los Angeles, Board Member of League of Women’s Voters of Los Angeles County, sits on the Budget Committee, and serves as Co-Chair of the Mental Health Board. She is also a proud member of the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology.
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