Eating Disorder Hope: How Children’s Body Confidence Can Start at Home

I remember the first time I felt self-conscious about my appearance. I was four, and my cousin Thomas proceeded to make fun of the birthmark on my butt cheek, which is shaped like a man’s face. It was then that I felt shame, realizing that my body was something others could use to make fun of.

A few years later, I binged to deal with sexual and physical abuse by my mother and a male figure. Looking back, I realize how much I was bullied within my own family; harmful words were used to describe my maturing body and face.

In turn, I developed body dysmorphic disorder, bulimia, and suicidal tendencies.

Negative Body Talk in the Home

Children are vulnerable, sensitive to their environments. If parents and caretakers are not careful, poor choices in words can have damaging effects on their children’s mental health.

Read the full blog post at Eating Disorder Hope.

Eating Disorder Hope: Creating Art to Recover from Eating Disorders

I was naturally a shy, introverted child. Add in an abusive environment, a mother with severe mental illness, substance abuse, and an early battle with eating disorders, and my shyness was lit on fire.

Turning inward to the extreme and developing depression, playdates in my room with stencils, colored pencils and drawing pads were my everything. This was my way to connect to life and imaginary people.

Read the full blog post at Eating Disorder Hope.

Addiction Hope: Q & A with Author Nikki DuBose on Addiction

Author Nikki DuBose of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light was recently interviewed on addiction and recovery. Here she offers a recap on everything from when her addiction began to how to help a loved one who may be suffering.

1. Can you pinpoint when your problems with addiction began?

I was wired for addiction – my mother had bipolar and dissociative identity disorder and her mother (she was adopted) died from cirrhosis of the liver as a result of alcoholism.

Read the full article on Addiction Hope. 

Eating Disorder Hope: Learning to Trust God in Recovery Process

“. . . Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me . . .”

I let the words sink in, and then I looked out my bedroom window that overlooked the water; for once, I took in the scenery not in fear, but in admiration of the sun as it descended below the horizon. The setting of the sun was a reminder of the magnificence of creation.

“If God made the sun, surely he made me. He must love me, too. I’m going to believe that no matter what, God is with me. When I’m afraid, God is right by my side. I might not see Him physically, but I can see him with my soul; simply because I believe that God is with me, He is,” I thought.

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

Today as I hiked with my blind and deaf Australian Shepherd and friends up and down rocky trails and around the azure waves of the Pacific, I was amazed at the beauty of God’s creation and the magnitude of his power.

Read the full article at Eating Disorder Hope.

Addiction Hope: From Victim to Victorious

I had to get rid of the victim mentality to move forward in my healing journey. I couldn’t become a victor until I stopped believing that I was a victim.

Victim and victor sound similar, but the only thing that separates them are the last two letters; a small difference, with an enormous impact. Sometimes in life two letters is all it takes – or that extra dedication to recovery – to make a substantial change.

Read the full article at Addiction Hope.

Eating Disorder Hope: The Process of Transformation

When recovering from eating disorders and body dysmorphia, one of the biggest challenges can be to change our inner perception, that negative self-talk, especially when we have a distorted outer vision of ourselves.

The Way We See Ourselves

However, we must consciously work on shifting the way we see ourselves on the inside, before we will ever love who we are on the outside. Everything begins in the mind. In my debut memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, I write about how I was able to wipe away that negative, monstrous outer image, starting from the inside [1].

Read the rest of the blog on Eating Disorder Hope.

PsychCentral: With Child Sexual Abuse, Awareness is Critical, but Prevention is Key

My parents trusted Robbie since he played Mr. Fix-it, but Uncle Robbie played other games—secret games that only he and I knew about. Whenever he fixed something in my house, and no one was around, he asked me to play. At first, I agreed, but soon I discovered that these were not fun games, they were painful. These were games I never won.

Read the full article on PsychCentral.

PsychCentral: Whole Foods Fails to Help Consumers, Not Truly Conscious

“What will matter 100 years from now: Your organic fruit, or the fact that you chose not to stand up for children who have been sexually abused?” That was the question I posed to Whole Foods Market executives on Tuesday, February 28th, at the Omni Hotel in downtown San Francisco. Myself along with other key business leaders, anti-animal abuse organizations and child sexual abuse advocates, came together that day to encourage Co-CEO John Mackey to disavow his relationship from alleged child sexual abuser Marc Gaffni.

Read the full post on PsychCentral.

Eating Disorder Hope: Eating Disorders and High School Life

During my first day at James Island High, I wandered aimlessly through the halls. Hundreds of students buzzed by, but I couldn’t hear anything for the dark voices. “Nobody will ever be your friend. You’re a loser!” I kept my head down toward the gum-spattered floors. I wanted to spare everyone from my hideous appearance. When the teachers called out my name During roll call, I didn’t answer; instead, I sulked in the back of the class, afraid to utter a single word.

As the days passed on through March, I wanted to disappear. I was certain that if I stayed at James Island High much longer, everyone was going to find out about my past. Deep down, I longed for others to understand, but I knew that no one could, so I avoided conversations at all costs.

During lunch, I anxiously raced through the lines and grabbed a couple of brown paper bags and desserts. I thought it best to dodge the noisy chatter at the tables and skipped straight ahead to the bathroom stalls. There I at least had silence. The crinkle noises my sandwiches made as I unwrapped them was all the friendship I needed. I had my food, and I had my thoughts. Although, I questioned my thoughts most of the time. I could only sit with my thoughts for a few minutes before purging; it seemed like the rational method to rid myself of the pain.

Read the full blog post at Eating Disorder Hope. 

NEDA: From Suffering to Triumph: How I Overcame PTSD

It is a widely-known, yet little-talked-about fact that trauma in childhood can lead to the development of unhealthy and potentially-fatal coping behaviors such as eating disorders. Until a few years ago, I never spoke a word about the abuse that I had endured in my household, as well as the disordered behaviors I lived with for most of my life as a result.

That all changed when I left my high-profile modeling career, got a mentor, went through recovery, and began writing. Once I started writing, it was as if I had blown the cap off a lid of a tightly-sealed bottle of explosives; all of my memories shattered onto the keyboard, and I couldn’t stop writing about them.

Read the full post at National Eating Disorders Association.

Addiction Hope: I’m an Addict – Who Cares About my Attitude?

It may be easy to think that our attitude doesn’t matter when we are recovering, but I beg to differ. I have found that having the right attitude has been just as important as forgiveness and perseverance. In my new memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, I share why attitude is critical for those recovering from addictions.

When I made the decision to leave the modeling industry, I was forced to confront all of my destructive behaviors and truths head on. Life was not fun anymore; it was painful because I had to face my real self. On top of it all, I had to recover, and there were many times where my family and I thought that I was going to die; living became a moment-by-moment process, not day-by-day.

But pushing through, and working with my mentor helped me to understand that having the right attitude was essential to my recovery because life is life and it is not going to change according to my feelings. If it did, then I’d float around on a pink, fluffy cloud all day and avoid pain and growth! That’s not realistic, though; to rise higher, we have to feel pain. Keeping the right attitude makes the growth process tolerable, and it helps to develop our character, which is necessary for every stage of life.

Read the full blog post at Addiction Hope.

Eating Disorder Hope: How Eating Disorders Affect Work and School

Being broke, frustrated, and uncertain about the future wasn’t such a bad thing. The ball was in my corner; I could start over clean on the West Coast. I left Charleston on a Saturday morning around nine and hightailed it through the states.

The next day, Sunday evening, I rolled up to my new place in Mission Valley. It was a little after eleven; I lugged all of my trash bags into the shared apartment and fell asleep on the couch.

On Monday, I took my remaining money, and on a whim, enrolled in another school. Southern California Esthetics Institute was a four-month-long, intensive esthetician program, and it started the next day.

On the way back to the apartment, I called Dad from the car and told him about my new plan. He was impressed by my persistence to obtain a degree and wired me money to help with the expenses. I felt ridden with guilt; I knew he couldn’t afford to pay my way through school, so I looked for a job right away.

Read the full post on Eating Disorder Hope.

PsychCentral: Paranoia my old friend

The other day, while sitting and rehashing all of my thoughts over to my psychiatrist through the computer screen, I began to feel annoyed. There he was, blissfully writing away on his notepad, while I regurgitated the same, unhappy words. “What does he really think? And why does he find my pain so funny?” I thought. But then I stopped and started to listen to my words. And I realized something. As much as I had tried to fool myself into thinking that I was no longer a paranoid person, or unaffected by the thoughts and behaviors of others, I was completely and utterly wrong.

So I snapped out of my tunnel, looked him square in the eyes (which can be hard for me to do with him), and said, “Stop writing on your little notepad.” He stopped. I noticed that he was maintaining that smirk on his face. I continued. “No matter how much I talk to you, my paranoia still exists, and in fact, it seems to get worse. And…all you can do is smile. I feel crazy!”

Read more on PsychCentral.

PsychCentral: Whole Foods CEO, Gafni & Senator among those trying to silence victims of child sexual abuse

On February 28th, from 11am to 1pm, myself, along with many other prominent leaders, will be speaking at the Omni Hotel in San Fransisco. Our message to Whole Foods CEO John Mackey will be very clear: reject your relationship with former rabbi, spiritual leader Marc Gafni.

The reasoning for our demand is credible: The New York Times cited Mackey’s and Gafni’s relationship, as well as Gafni’s alleged sexual abuse of a 14-year-old. Ever since I found out last year, I have been protesting for Mackey to step up as a business leader, and speak for the millions of consumers who have been sexually abused. Refusing to do so and remaining silent on the issue, Mackey is enabling the culture of sexual abuse, something that I am all too familiar with. His silence and failure to advocate for consumers demonstrates his inability to be socially and ethically responsible. For more than a year I have stopped shopping at Whole Foods as a direct result of this issue. The Washington Post covered a national protest that I helped organize and participated in along with Peaceful Hearts Foundation, NAASCA, and author Nancy Levine (The Tao of Pug).

The way I see it, Mackey has had significant time to respond to this situation and address the growing culture of child sex abuse and violence. Instead, Mackey has remained friends with Gafni, and Whole Food’s organization, Conscious Capitalism, which was founded by Mackey, has blocked my Twitter account.

Read the full article on PsychCentral.

Eating Disorder Hope: Self-care Tips for Mental Health Advocates

In light of the latest presidential election, I think it’s great that the Western world has sort of woken up and decided to get more involved with advocacy work. After all, there is a positive side to every seemingly negative situation, not that I hate Trump, because I don’t. What I am saying is that, every time I go on social media, it seems that a vast majority of Americans, particularly liberal females and the men who support them, are constantly pushing forth issues they are passionate about, and how they can make significant changes for good.

I am all for being an advocate [1]. Five years ago, I began to campaign for the rights of those in the eating disorder community, while I was still in the throes of my own eating disorder and learning how to recover from a range of mental illnesses. In fact, helping others and pushing for change in my community, teaming up with national associations and bring awareness to issues is one of the biggest reasons why I believe I got to a strong place of recovery. It’s also why I am now so heavily involved in helping to pass legislation and want to run for office one day.

Read more at Eating Disorder Hope.

PsychCentral: To anyone who doesn’t think sex addiction is real

Suffering from an addiction is bad enough. But it’s entirely different when you’ve gathered the courage to share about it openly, in the hopes to help others who may be struggling, only to have your addiction and bravery mocked. That happened to me when I spoke about being abused in childhood on The Doctors and how it led to sex addiction in my modeling career. I was flooded with comments from people who thought that I was a slut for sharing. I heard that little voice for a little while: Sex addiction is a fraud. You’re a fraud.

Sex addiction is a real thing, but for some reason, it’s an ongoing debate. Some people believe that sex addiction is a imagesvalid addiction, worthy to be in the DSM-5, while others believe it boils down to a lack of moral character. Yes, that’s actually something someone said to me one time.

Read more on PsychCentral.

The Mighty: What I Want Others to Know About People Who’ve Experienced Psychosis

“That face. . .Look at it!” I didn’t question the voice. I leaned in until my eyes crossed and my nose touched the mirror. My glasses began to fog from my breath. The voice continued, and then another voice joined it: a giggly, female voice. “Four eyes! Loser. No one will ever love you. What an ugly thing you are. I can’t tell if you look like a girl or a boy. Get to work fatty! Change that face. Don’t stop moving until it’s done. You can win, you can be the winner!”“Washed Away: From Darkness to Light”

In my newly released memoir, “Washed Away: From Darkness to Light,” I discuss many of the graphic events that led to my mental breakdown in childhood. I think that sharing our stories is critical because there are many hurting people in the world who will benefit from our experiences, and also the more we share, the more we continue to heal and grow.

Read more on The Mighty.

Psych Central: Depression doesn’t mean I’m broken, it means I deserve compassion

I could feel the sadness creeping up again, like an unwelcome relative looking over my shoulder and breathing down my neck. I didn’t want it to come, but it did, and I knew that I was helpless to stop it. And then it washed over me; it poured down like a river of madness, and bathed me in uncertainty. As the tears poured down my face and I crawled into bed, I wanted nothing other than to end my own life. Again. But I couldn’t move. I was drowning and stuck staring into nothingness, and the nothingness was ripping my heart apart. As much as I wanted to end my life, I had no energy to get up and do it.

Some time went by, and the energy slowly came back into my body. I muddled around and managed to answer work emails, walk my dog, feed myself and finish some schoolwork. As I drifted around the house and tried to connect with life again, my phone rang. It was a friend, calling to check up on me. My brain told me not to answer it, and I listened. Tomorrow, or maybe the next day, I told myself. Right now, right now I need rest.

Read more on Psych Central.

Addiction Hope: The Mother-Daughter Addiction

“…She flipped the truck into a ditch and just left the scene. Nikki…we can’t find her.”
I hung up. My momma: the adult, the child, my everything.
I slid to the floor and smacked my head with my fist.

“God, help me!” I thought. I desperately wanted the pain to end, and for our lives to be normal, but life had been chaotic for so long, perhaps this was our normal.

…I let the cold water wash over my blistered knuckles and stared into the mirror. The only face I recognized was Momma’s; she was all I wanted. Her reflection blended into mine and brought me face-to-face with some disturbing truths. Why was I incapable of taking care of myself? Why couldn’t I take care of her? “God, where are you? Don’t you love us?” I thought.

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

For most of my life, I never wanted to come to terms with the fact that I was an addict to pretty much everything. Addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, money, fame, success, love, food, on and on. Basically, I just wanted anything to simultaneously temper the sting of loneliness and boost my low self-esteem.

Read more on Addiction Hope.

Addiction Hope: When I Say No, I Mean No

The other evening, I had just sat down to a nice dinner with a newly acquainted colleague at a posh restaurant overlooking all of Los Angeles. As I began to gaze over the menu, I suddenly heard the question slip from his lips.

“Sooo, what would you like to drink?” I raised my head, trying to fight back any signs of annoyance. Surely, this guy must have read my book. Surely, he must know that I’m sober. But no, there he was, staring and smiling, blissfully unaware and nudging the wine list in my direction.

Read more on Addiction Hope.

PsychCentral: To my mother on this day

Nearly seven years ago, I was living in New York City, modeling, and battling several mental illnesses. My mother and I were trying to work through our complicated relationship, one that stemmed from years’ worth of domestic violence, abuse, and alcoholism. In my heart, I wanted so badly to try and understand my mother and have a genuine connection with her, but it was like trying to climb a giant hill wearing cement shoes. Not only did my mental health conditions keep me from moving forward and connecting with her, but so did hers. Bipolar, dissociative identity disorder, and her battle with the bottle were demons that kept her permanently trapped until her death in 2012.

Today would be Mom’s fiftieth birthday, and here I am, in New York City on a business trip, thinking about her.

Read more on PsychCentral.

Protecting Kids from Sexual Abuse in New York

As an Executive Board Member of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, I am honored to announce my collaboration with Stop Abuse Campaign, Gary Greenberg, Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, and Governor Cuomo to protect children in New York from sexual abuse. S809, The Omnibus Child Victims Act, works to eliminate New York’s Statute of Limitations for child sexual abuse in criminal court and civil court, and gives adult victims a year in which they can sue their abusers and the institutions that facilitated their abuse. S809 is a bill I am proud to support, not only as an advocate, ambassador and community leader, but as a survivor – I am well aware of the adverse effects of child sexual abuse, so much so, that I published a book about my recovery from it last year.

If we are to invest in our nation, we must invest in our children because they are our future. We cannot afford to ignore the fact that every day, children are being sexually abused and that we, as a society, are responsible. I hope you will join me in sending a letter to Gov. Cuomo and tell him why passing S809 to remove the statue of limitations for child sexual abuse is so critical.

Thank you for joining me in this fight.

 

 

Nikki DuBose Letter of Support for S809/Omnibus Child Victims Act

Project HEAL Letter of Support 

Letter of Support from The Shaw Mind Foundation 

Advocate Resources 

Sign the Petition 

 

Advocate Resources for S809/The Omnibus Child Victims Act

New York S809 

S809 Press Release 

S809 Facts & Talking Points 

S809 Summary 

Advice for Meeting with Legislators 

Media

EDHope: Why the Modeling Industry Needs Mental Health Education

Many years ago I opened up to one of my modeling agents in Miami about my chronic struggle with bulimia. At that point, I had been battling the illness for over fourteen years and I was terrified to lose another contract because of it.

After an unsuccessful stint at rehab, my former agent in New York realized that I just couldn’t make the cut with castings and jobs due to my eating disorder and other mental health issues, and sent me back to South Florida without a ticket back. Ultimately, my disorders prevented me from being able to focus at work, maintain a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

On MLK Day, I stand for the abused and all marginalized groups

It’s been one of my life’s missions to fight for the rights of children who have been sexually abused, because, after all, I was abused, too. But I remember recently telling a friend and fellow survivor of child sexual abuse, while getting ready to speak at a rally at the New York State Capitol on The Omnibus Child Victims Act, that sometimes, advocating for our rights in modern times feels like fighting for freedom from slavery. And not that I would ever understand what being an African-American slave feels like, but I do understand what it’s like to be physically tormented, beaten, and sexually abused. Not to mention the fact that fellow advocates, Senators and Assemblymembers have been fighting to eliminate the statue of limitations for child sexual abuse in New York for eleven years now. Repeating the same legislative process, year after year, is exhausting to those of us who grew up knowing nothing but humiliation and shame. Many times we feel as though we have to beg, cry, scream, and plead for our basic human rights – rights that were stolen from us as children. Thankfully, with the help of Governor Cuomo this year, I believe that things will be different. I want so badly to believe, and I will continue to fight for change.

Read more on PsychCentral.

New York Daily News: The true cost of child sexual abuse

After failing to change the law last year, New York State is set once again to consider doing away with the statute of limitations on prosecuting sex crimes against children — this time with Gov. Cuomo hopefully leading the reform charge against a likely intransigent state Senate.

Under current statutes, a victim must seek justice in criminal or civil court by her 23rd birthday, or she loses the opportunity to do so forever.

Read more on New York Daily News.

New York Daily News: Boston lawyer who helped uncover Catholic church’s child sex scandal applauds Cuomo’s reform plans for New York victims

“We have to keep the pressure on,” said former model Nikki DuBose, who was sexually abused as a child. “I think we really have to strategize so we can keep creating a lot of momentum to see that the bill gets passed. Fortunately we have the governor’s support. I think what he is doing is very brave and courageous.”

Read more on: New York Daily News.

PsychCentral: Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse is Society’s Responsibility

We have a huge problem in this country when it comes to protecting children from sexual abuse, and that’s denial. As an Executive Board member of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, a child sexual abuse nonprofit, one of the most common issues I come across when a survivor discloses their abuse is denial – from family members, teachers, friends – the list goes on. Myself, a survivor of incest from my late mother from the ages of 9 to 13, and a male figure at the age of 8, I know what it’s like to finally come to terms with the abuse and entrust others with the information, only to have them deny that it ever could have happened. The psychological effects were beyond damaging; I questioned my own sanity, the trauma, and attempted suicide. After all, if no one believed that such heinous acts had occurred, what reasons did I have to go on living? Child sexual abuse left me scarred with depression, psychosis, suicidal ideation and many other mental illnesses, and without proper support, it was only a matter of time before I permanently checked out.

Read more on PsychCentral.

Times Union: Sour, sweet opening addresses for session

Model, and actress turned author Nikki DuBose urges passage of the Child Victims Act outside the Senate Parlor as the 2017 session of the NYS Legislature begins Wednesday Jan. 4, 2017 in Albany, NY. Read more at Times Union.

New York Daily News: Sex abuse survivors lodge rallying cry for Child Victims Act’s passage in Albany

Among the victims who attended the rally held outside the Senate chambers shortly before the start of the new legislative session was former model Nikki DuBose, who was sexually abused as a kid.

“New York needs this bill for one reason —to protect children from predators.The predators are the ones currently being protected by the law, not the children,” she said.

Read more at the New York Daily News.

 

 

New York Daily News: Former model Nikki DuBose to share her sex abuse story with lawmakers as she advocates for Child Victims Act

ALBANY — Former model and sexual abuse victim Nikki DuBose is coming to the state Capitol Wednesday with a message for state lawmakers — children need to be protected.

DuBose is the featured speaker at a rally being planned by advocates for legislation that would change New York’s statute of limitations and make it easier for child sex abuse victims to obtain justice in state courts.

“We are talking about kids,” DuBose, 31, told The Daily News.

“Why is it OK for an innocent child to be sexually abused and to have his rights, his soul, his identity, his emotions his life taken away from that very moment and for him to not receive justice?” DuBose continued. “Why is that OK?”

Read more on New York Daily News.

Albany rally seeks support for Child Victims Act as legislative session kicks off

ALBANY — Advocates for legislation to make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek legal recourse as adults will mark the Wednesday start of a new legislative session with a rally near the state Senate chambers.

Gary Greenberg, a child sex abuse victim and upstate investor who created a political action committee to fight for the issue, said the rally will feature former model and sexual abuse victim Nikki DuBose and Senate bill sponsor Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan).

Read more on New York Daily News.

Feminine Collective – Victoria’s Secret Needs A Makeover: Former Models Speak Out

We are Nikki DuBose and Cherise Shaddix, two former models working to be role models for the next generation.
And if there is one thing we know all too well, it’s the pressure to be perfect and climb the ladder of success in the fashion business at any cost.

(Nikki recently spoke out about the dark things she experienced in the fashion business in her new memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light. Cherise left the industry after an agent said things like, “your pictures make me want to kill myself,” and “oh yeah…they kinda make me want to slit my wrists, too.”)

Read more on Feminine Collective.

Reflecting on my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light to College Students

Nikki DuBose reflects on her memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, to college students from nikki dubose on Vimeo.

The Mighty – What It’s Like Being a Model With an Eating Disorder

“Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder or have experienced binging, the following post could potentially be triggering. Please don’t hesitate to call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

Darkness descends upon the room, signaling my arrival. Behind the curtain, I can feel my breath, waiting for permission to exhale. My knees quiver with apprehension as whispers drone from the crowd outside. From my spot behind the platform, I notice the flares from cameras and spotlights, like shooting stars in a strange, forsaken sky. I can already feel the eyes of the people as they stare at the empty runway, waiting for their goddesses to strut. My throat clenches and my mind empties — anxiety has taken control. What will they think of me?”

Read more on The Mighty.

Nikki DuBose Exclusive Interview on The Doctors Tv Show

“Nikki DuBose’s rise to fame in the modeling world came at a high price. She endured drug and alcohol addiction, severe eating disorders and even an alleged rape. She joins The Doctors to share her story of survival.

Nikki tells The Doctors she grew up in a household filled turmoil and abuse, something she feels shaped her for the worse. In her teens, she was offered a modeling contract, and she went to extremes in order to lose weight and make her mark in the image-based industry. She used diet pills, starved herself, binged, purged and at one point she only weighed 90 pounds.”

Read more and watch the full interview on The Doctors TV. 

Sharing My Message of Recovery and God’s Love at Multnomah University

God’s Love is so awesome. It has the power to heal and restore even the most damaged, bitter heart. His Love can literally resurrect someone on the brink of dying. I know because it happened to me. I was a broken, washed up person who had given most of my life to addiction, sex, abuse, and the quest for fame in the modeling and entertainment industries, and God still picked me up and loved me back to wholeness even when I wanted nothing to do with Him.

After all, He had let my mother die from her addiction. He had watched, as my mother was beaten over and over again, listened to her cries for years, and did nothing to heal her pain. He certainly had did nothing to heal mine. Why did he make my mother with mental illnesses? Why did he create me the way He did? Why was I born into a family, raised by male figures who abused me repeatedly, and removed by the police in my teenage years? Did I ever ask for any of that? No, I didn’t.

I definitely don’t have the answers for that, but I do know that He was with me the whole time. He gave me the strength to go through it all, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without those experiences. There is light in the darkness, goodness in the sadness, strength in the pain. We don’t grow by living in comfort, and that is not to excuse the people from my past or what happened to me, but what I’m saying is that I choose to focus on the good, and to use my experiences to help others. There are so many hurting people in this world, and we can all use our pain to help them.

Nikki DuBose

On November 3rd, I participated in an informal Skype talk with the inspiring graduate counseling students at Multnomah University. (This was the first time I’ve done a speaking event via Skype, and it was really cool!) I shared about my debut memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, and told my story of recovery from mental health issues as well as what I’m doing to ensure that there is some sort of mental health education system in place for models and professionals in the fashion industry. It was an incredible talk and the students were highly responsive; to me, it was a testament of the power of God’s love and recovery. A few years ago even, if you would have told me that I would be an author and speaker, sharing my story with people, especially treatment professionals and students, I would have said you are crazy! I used to be terrified of counselors and anyone in the medical field because I didn’t want to release my secrets. But as they say, “We are as sick as our deepest secrets,” and I was dying because of them.

 

I still have secrets, and I am only human. And that’s why I need my relationship with God, treatment professionals, mentors and trusted friends because I am fully capable of failure every singleNikki DuBose Multnomah University Speaker modeling industry washed away book  moment of every single day. But I’m gonna tell you what. Writing, speaking, and doing advocacy to help others is what really lets my soul on fire, it gives me that purpose and that passion to keep on keeping on! And I know that God has a purpose for my life, and that is to help people, and I know He’s got a wonderful plan for you.

See Jeremiah 29:11.

God Bless,

Nikki

I Knew My Mother Was Going to Die Because the Grim Reaper Warned Me

For months, the ghostly occurrences escalated and stalled, like a horrifying roller coaster that I couldn’t get off of. When the summer came, the doll manifested into a presence, and I named her, The Lady Without A Body. At first, she showed herself when Momma and Stephen argued; then, she appeared whenever I was by myself.

With her curtain of ebony hair and milky skin, she looked exactly like Momma. The entity never left my side; all day and night she breathed on my neck and made malicious faces. I debated whether or not to tell Momma. Then one Sunday morning as we cleaned the house, I summoned some courage and spilled the beans.

“Momma, I’ve been seeing something—somebody. If I tell you, please don’t make fun of me.”

Read more on The Huffington Post.

Recovery.org Interview – Meet Nikki DuBose: Model of Recovery

“Nikki DuBose’s eating disorder that began in childhood was exacerbated by her high-profile modeling career, but the tragic death of her mother sparked a life transformation. She quit the modeling industry and has since served as a driving force behind proposed legislation to ban underweight models and regulate the industry in California. DuBose is telling this powerful story in her new memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, which was released on Aug. 25.”

Read the full interview on Recovery.org.

Huffington Post – Models, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and OWN

“In the mornings before work, I stood in the bathroom mirror and dealt with the rituals and hallucinations for hours. The exhausting act began with my bones; running my hands over them one by one gave me a temporary sense of security. I wish I could have stopped there, but that was just the beginning. My flat ass and pencil thighs brought pleasure; however, there was always more to lose. I despised my cheeks, my fatty facial cheeks. The same fantasy always replayed: a butcher knife glistened as I sliced them into a thousand, unrecognizable pieces. Bloody chunks covered the floor, and I stared at them and smiled. Then, and only then, was I suitable.”

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

Read more on The Huffington Post.

A Recap of our 2nd Annual Project HEAL SoCal Gala

Our second annual Project HEAL SoCal Gala was a tremendous success. Thanks
to Reasons Eating Disorder Center, Lisa Kantor, JD, Gabriel Hammond at Broad Green Pictures, and everyone who donated and attended, we raised over $34,000.00, a giant leap from last year’s $19,000.00! That money goes towards helping people who need funds for eating disorder treatment, and we can’t do it without people like you; people who have caring hearts and who understand that lifeProject HEAL SoCal Gala Nikki DuBose is about so much more than the superficial. Right now, there are people dying from eating disorders. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, more than schizophrenia or substance abuse.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank each and every one of you who not only donated and attended, but who I have had the honor of serving this past year. As the Volunteer Director and Executive Board Member, it has been my sincere pleasure of seeing this chapter grow, and I have learned so much from every volunteer who has walked into our meetings.

 

It is with a heavy heart that I step down from the chapter now, but I will take with me everything that I have learned as I move on. I will still serve on the board of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, and will educate others how child sexual abuse and eating disorders are linked. And as always, I will be a great supporter of Project HEAL and their wonderful mission.

Remember this: No matter where you are, or who you are, recovery is possible. I believe in you.

Thank you,

Nikki DuBose
Former Volunteer Director & Executive Board Member
Project HEAL SoCal Chapter

Huffington Post – My Psychosis Doesn’t Define Me

“I prance down the runway like a queen, my body dripping with jewels. Like a lioness, I sway from side to side, moving to entice all who look my way; I am the beast who no one can touch, and no one can tame. As I glance at the rows of curious faces, however, the darkness begins to take over. Before I know it, my worst nightmare has returned: the demons have revealed themselves, with their black eyes and mouths full of jagged teeth. I cannot escape them; they are my masters, and I am their slave.

Voices command me to keep moving. Look forward bitch and keep walking. Don’t screw it up! They’re all going to laugh at you. I force my head higher and put my shoulders back as I push through the noise and approach the end of the runway. As my feet carry me to the edge, I hear no sound, experience no sensation. Despite the music and commotion, I am lost in a dreamland.”

Read more on the Huffington Post.

 

Honored to be an Expert Reviewer with Harvard STRIPED!

striped-high-res-logo-NEW

 

Recently, I was asked to be an expert reviewer for Harvard’s STRIPED’s new teaching case entitled, “Patina of Glamour: Forging Alliances to Investigate the Underside of the Fashion Industry.”
I am grateful to be a part of this, especially because the case deals with fashion models and eating disorders, two subjects often glamorized and mocked in our society. I believe that with this lesson plan for students and teaching note, we will forge ahead in our educational efforts and break down existing walls of shame and stigma.

Check out the synopsis here: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/striped/2016/08/25/patina-of-glamour-forging-alliances-to-investigate-the-underside-of-the-fashion-industry/

I helped to review the Narrative Document Students  (listed pg. 2)

and the Lesson Plan for Teachers  (listed pg. 7)

I want to thank Dr. Bryn Austin, director of Harvard STRIPED for this wonderful opportunity, as well as all of the people who came together and made this possible.

An Open Letter to NY Times Public Editor Liz Spayd, from Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse and Advocates

Proud to have my name on this open letter to The New York Times Public Editor Liz Spayd. On behalf of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, I am listed as one of 35 Child Sexual Abuse Survivors and Advocates, urging Liz to cover the Child Victims Act of New York. Thanks, Nancy Levine for your hard work and dedication to this important issue, and thank you to everyone who is using their voice to create change.

“Dear Ms. Spayd,
We are a global community of survivors of child sexual abuse and advocates. We were heartened when, under your editorial direction, the Columbia Journalism Review published a piece by Steve Buttry, Director of Student Media at LSU: ‘The voiceless have a voice. A journalist’s job is to amplify it.’ We would like to ask you and The New York Times to consider amplifying our collective voice; we reiterate our request, emailed to you on July 11, 2016.
Our previous correspondence raised questions about The Times’ absence of recent coverage of the Child Victims Act of New York, and an appearance of a conflict of interest. Presumably there is no causal relationship between The Times’ absence of recent reporting on the Child Victims Act and Publisher and Chairman Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr.’s family financial interests in Whole Foods Market. But to quell concerns about an appearance of a conflict, we think this matter warrants further response.”

Read more on Medium.

Huffington Post: Denial, More Than Anything, Is Hindering Progress For Victims Of Child Sexual Abuse

If money is one hell of a drug, then denial is one of the biggest drug dealers in the world. And no group understands that truth better than survivors of child sexual abuse. While survivors, advocates and some lawmakers have fought hard to bring justice, there’s been little progress made; if anything, we’ve been forced to take giant steps backwards. And by forced, I’m referring to the tremendous power of, more than anything, denial.

Read my latest blog post on The Huffington Post.

Support the PAC Fighting for Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused

Donate to the PAC

Please donate to the PAC (Political Action Committee), so that corrupt lawmakers who helped kill the Child Victims Act in New York can be removed from office. All of the money from the PAC, started by Gary Greenberg, will be used to support candidates who support survivors of CSA and the Child Victims Act in New York.

Sober = Fun. Really! Find Out Why…

“Recovery is not all about work, it’s also about having fun. It’s a balancing act, and that’s been one of my biggest challenges over the course of my four-and-a-half-year sobriety. And making the decision to become sober was a complete lifestyle change; besides quitting drugs and alcohol, I had to make a commitment to change who I spent my time with. Our friends and social circles have a tremendous influence on how we live our lives, especially when it comes down to our entertainment choice. Since I made the conscious choice to leave behind many people whom I felt were having a negative influence on my health (including my modeling career), it was not an easy transition, but it was a worthwhile one. For a long time I was extremely lonely; all of the people and activities I once filled my schedule with were no longer there and adjusting to the new way of life was painful. How was I going to spend my time sans drugs and alcohol?”

Read more on Clinical Addiction Recovery Institute.

VLOG 10: Eating Disorders & Identity Part III

Huffington Post – Bill to Protect the Rights and Health of Models Dead for the Year: Education and Support Necessary to Move Forward

“On Friday, May 27th, 2016, California Assembly Bill 2539 was held in the suspense file and killed for the rest of the year. The bill would have awarded models workplace protections and health standards, granting them employee status, similar to actors who are employees of the brands they represent. As well, California modeling agencies would have been licensed as talent agencies. Although we fought hard to see this bill through, the Association of Talent Agents (ATA) and specific modeling agencies lobbied violently against it, which ultimately led to the bill’s death. As an executive board member of Peaceful Hearts Foundation and Project HEAL SoCal Chapter, two organizations dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse and eating disorders, I am passionate about pushing forth legislation which will protect vulnerable workers from being exploited in the fashion industry. Furthermore, as a survivor of a more than seventeen-year battle with eating disorders, trauma, other mental health issues, and as someone who experienced the darker side of the modeling industry, I want to clarify the arguments that have continuously come up over the past few months concerning the legislation.”

Read more on The Huffington Post.