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.

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.

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.

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: 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Update on AB 2539

To the people,

I regret to inform that California Assembly Bill 2539 was held in suspense on Friday, May 27th, and was killed for the rest of the year. I want to personally thank everyone for their hard work and attention to these critical issues, as the workplace protections and health standards outlined in the bill do not just affect models, but society as well. As an executive board member of both Project Heal SoCal Chapter and Peaceful Hearts Foundation, two organizations dedicated to raising awareness on eating disorders and child sexual abuse, I am passionate about preventing these issues, especially in the fashion industry where they are rampant among minors.

We worked tirelessly to see AB 2539 come to pass, however the Association of Talent Agents (ATA) and specific modeling agencies fought hard against it, which ultimately led to the bill’s death on Friday. Nevertheless, we will not give up! Although California lawmakers have denied models their right to health and safety standards this year, we will forge ahead until we win.

Sincerely,
Nikki DuBose Bio Signatures

 

 

Nikki DuBose

Author, Speaker, Mental Health Advocate

Executive Board Member
Project HEAL SoCal Chapter
Peaceful Hearts Foundation

VLOG Episode 6: Models, Financial Exploitation & Eating Disorders

Huffington Post: Protest to be Held at Whole Foods 365 Launch in LA Amidst Co-CEO Mackey’s Ties with Pedophile

“I am a survivor of child abuse. Starting at age four, I was repeatedly beaten and called names that no child or adult should ever be called. Then from eight through thirteen years of age, the abuse escalated to sexual victimization by a close male figure and my mother, who suffered from mental health issues. At nineteen and through my early twenties, I was re-victimized as an amateur model and again as a professional model. Now at thirty-one, I have been in strong recovery for a few years, am an author (my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light hits stores Summer 2016), speaker and mental health advocate. I understand the long-lasting effects of abuse and how it can trigger other serious mental health conditions, yet I am also a believer that full recovery is possible. On the other side of the coin, I grasp the concept that hurting people hurt people and that forgiveness is a powerful force in this world – for ourselves and others.”

Read more on The Huffington Post.

VLOG Episode 4: Eating Disorders & Sexual Abuse in the Modeling Industry

Huffington Post – Stop the Abuse of Models: Support AB 2539

“How would you feel if you came to to work today and were subjected to sexual harassment, rape, financial exploitation, and pressures to lose weight?”

This is the question I asked Mr. Chair Assemblymember Roger Hernandez and Members of the Labor Committee on April 6, 2016, at the Sacramento Capitol Office for the initial hearing of Assembly Bill 2539, before it was passed the same day. AB 2539, authored by Assemblymember Marc Levine, addresses the need for workplace protections and health standards in the modeling industry, which is notoriously unregulated.

Because of the lack of laws and protections, models have long been subjected to sexual and financial abuse, bullying from agents, and have been pressured to lose so much weight that many have developed devastating, even fatal eating disorders.”

Read more on The Huffington Post.

Model Alliance: What is AB 2539 and How Will It Help Me?

“On April 6, 2016, I met with Assemblymember Marc Levine at the California Capitol Office in Sacramento with a group of powerful, passionate women who aim to establish workplace protections and health standards for models. Sara Ziff, Executive Director of the Model Alliance, Madeline Hill, a former model and Model Alliance member, Dr. Bryn Austin, Director of the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders at Harvard University, attorney Cassandra Soltis and I all came together to voice our support for Assembly Bill 2539, which addresses the critical need for workplace protections and health standards within California’s modeling industry. The bill also received a great deal of support from other individuals and organizations who submitted letters explaining why they also felt the bill was needed.”

Read more on The Model Alliance.

VLOG Episode 2: How to Get Involved with AB 2539

People Magazine – Why Former Model Nikki DuBose is Backing a Bill to Fight Eating Disorders and Sexism in the Industry

“Nikki DuBose’s time in the modeling industry was anything but positive.

‘I experienced everything negative that you could imagine in the modeling industry,’ the former model, 31, tells PEOPLE. ‘I was raped in the modeling industry. I was sexually harassed. I had eating disorders which were exacerbated by the modeling industry, and I was pressured by the director of my agency about sleeping with him, and all of these things really triggered my mental health condition.'”

Read more on People.

Assembly Access: Workplace Protections and Health Standards for Models

 

Changing the Modeling Industry: Have You Heard About AB 2539?

“What: AB 2539 requires that all models in the state of California must get ‘periodic health checkups, nutrition counseling, and appropriate health testing as needed.’* Also, models will become employees of their agencies. Currently, they are independent contractors which allows the agents to get away will all sorts of underhanded and downright dangerous things (e.g., sexual harassment, withholding money, escorting out the models, pressuring them to lose weight which creates an environment for eating disorders and other destructive, fatal behaviors to manifest, and so on). Furthermore, the bill stipulates that The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board and the State Department of Public Heath have to adopt the laid out health standards for the models, the agencies have to be licensed by the California Labor Commissioner, the models themselves must obtain a doctor’s certificate stating that they meet the noted health standards, and the agencies are required to store records; if they hire models who do not have an up-to-date doctor’s certificate, they can be fined.”

Read more on Recovery Warriors.

How You Can Get Involved with AB 2539

UPDATE! On April 6th, 2016, Assembly Bill 2539 passed the Labor Committee!! We are so excited and are looking for more Letters of Support. Please see below for instructions on how to submit yours.

*************************************************************************************************

I am honored to be working as an advocate on AB 2539. Harvard STRIPED, the National Eating Disorders Association, the Model Alliance and Assemblymember Marc Levine have been working hard to  introduce the Bill, which may be the first in the United States to see that the health standards in the modeling industry are changed and that the labor rights of models are finally exercised. From my own experiences as a former model, I can attest to the poor regulations in the modeling industry, and therefore this Bill is something that is greatly needed. Below is my official Letter of Support addressed to Assemblymember Marc Levine.

Nikki DuBose Letter of Support Bill AB 2539 Mar 10 2016

Here are more resources for AB 2539: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/striped/policy-translation/california-ab-2539/

Tips for writing letters of support for AB 2539: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/striped/how-to-write-a-letter-of-support-for-ca-ab-2539/

Resources for Advocates AB 2539: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/striped/resources-for-advocates-california-ab-2539/

 

 

Huffington Post – I was Raped by a Photographer. Here’s Why You Should Care.

Trigger warning.

Models. Rape. Eating disorders. Sexual abuse. Mental health.

While all of the above are quick to grab attention, they are also quick to receive criticism because most people do not understand them. In my episode of Real Women Real Stories, and my upcoming memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, I talk about all of the above, because I was a successful model who experienced all of the dark issues you can imagine.

Read more on The Huffington Post.

On the NEDA Blog: The Modeling Industry is Changing. It’s About Time.

“As a former model, commercial actress and host, I enjoyed my share of success within the fashion and entertainment industries. I also suffered from binge eating disorder, bulimia and anorexia nervosa for the length of my career—although the behaviors didn’t begin in the industry, they were exacerbated by things I heard, saw and experienced: things like sexual harassment, trauma, bullying, exposure to wild parties, drinking, drugs and the daily pressure to lose weight. At the beginning of my career I was curvy and healthy—but by the time I left the business, I was unrecognizable even to my agents. Eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder had ravaged my mind, body and spirit, and thus, in 2012 I decided to leave; it was the greatest decision of my life. I’ve been sober for over four years, free from my eating disorders for almost three, written a book about my recovery and the modeling business,* currently speak about mental health and am a supporter of Assemblymember Marc Levine’s AB 2539.** Here’s why I’m so passionate about the bill.”

Read more on The National Eating Disorders Association.

Profit, Denial & Education: Why Clothing Retailers Are Contributing to our Youth’s Mental Health Issues and What Can Be Done to Prevent Further Damage

Denial and Profit

A part of me can’t believe that I am writing about clothing retailers and that fact that they are still selling “super skinny” and “toothpick” jeans – how long must we go around and around this issue and still see no change? Yet another part of me is not surprised at all; after all, the majority of people are not properly educated about mental health issues, especially eating disorders, and the goal of businesses, especially clothing retailers – is simply, profit.

This was a recent conversation I had with Christopher Willson, the Clinical Director from Dine Monte Nido, a unique outpatient program designed to help those suffering from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Chris was furious one day when he went to buy jeans for his eight-year-old daughter and found that many of them read “super skinny!” Oh dear. Now, most businesses grasp that in order to keep their profits high they must act as good corporate citizens. Therefore, clothing retailers should listen to the cries of consumers, such as Chris, and incorporate changes that will in turn, make their customers happy. Let’s look at the bigger picture –  for example, all the parents who buy jeans from clothing brands that advertise them as “super skinny”- you can expect that there are going to be some downright angry moms and dads writing letters, calling and blasting their opinions all over social media. After all, these labels place unrealistic expectations on already impressionable minds. Let’s review some statistics:

“42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner.

81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.”

 

You would think that clothing companies would do their research on mental health and listen to the consumers who are unhappy about how these labels are affecting their kids and teens.  Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychological disorder; certainly the higher ups and employees within the clothing companies must know someone who is or has been affected.

Or perhaps, they turn a blind eye, like this country has done for so long. Why? There are many reasons, but I would say that in the case of retailers a lack of education and focus on profit are the biggest culprits. To actually think about the well-being of others means to stop thinking about themselves, and to do that would (gasp!) would mean to potentially lose money, at least for the short-term.

I am relentless in advocating for change because eating disorders are an issue that affect over 30,000,000 people in America alone, and those are just the reported amounts. And, as a former fashion model who was always trying to fit into the fashion industry’s unrealistic sizes and portray an unhealthy image for impressionable minds, I am adamant about helping to restructure the business and stop the selling of products that are damaging to consumers. At the very least, we can start with mental health education – everyone needs it, especially the advertising and fashion industries.

Even if someone has not suffered from an eating disorder, almost everyone has been affected by low self-esteem and poor body image, however children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable; they don’t need added pressure from retailers telling them that they need to look a certain way in order to be accepted and valued. 

Finding the Solution

Lately I have been working with California Assemblymember Marc Levine, the National Eating Disorders Association, Sara Ziff from the Model Alliance and Dr. Bryn Austin, the director of Harvard STRIPED, on AB 2539, which will create healthier standards and promote the labor rights of models in the fashion industry. One thing that has stuck out to me in reading Dr. Austin’s research is how crucial prevention is. As she puts it, there is not a whole lot of literature and research dedicated to preventing eating disorders. Tying into Dr. Austin’s research lies my main interest: mental health education in the workplace, particularly the modeling industry. When we educate, we can help to prevent. I think that back during Karen Carpenter’s unfortunate and highly publicized case, eating disorders became known and glamorized because of the media – it’s what they do, they sensationalize – but they have yet to educate the public properly about eating disorders and mental health in general.

The National Eating Disorders Association has been introducing literature on eating disorders into various workplaces. Education is power because when we educate we have the knowledge to understand the what, why, when, how and who. If clothing retailers are uneducated when it comes to eating disorders and the impact their marketing schemes are having on young people, and if they are only thinking about profit, then they will continue to contribute to the mental decline and fatalities of our youth. Focusing on prevention and education in the workplace are crucial steps towards changing the way retailers and advertisers approach consumers – especially our youth.

 

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them! Drop me a line – nikki@nikkidubose.com

 

 

 

 

Fashioning Change: An Interview with Model-Turned-Activist Nikki DuBose

“Escaping and conquering adversity is hard enough, but working towards eliminating the same adversity for others seems to be the work of heroes.

Somehow, superhero Nikki DuBose found a way to do both. After an early start as a model at the tender age of 15, DuBose faced body shaming, an eating disorder and drug and alcohol abuse, all propagated by the hands of the fashion industry.”

Read more on Proud2bme.

 

LA Weekly Interview – Lawmakers’ Bill Wants to Stop Anorexia In Fashion Models

“Nikki DuBose started modeling, on and off, when she was 15. Before she left the industry in 2012, she achieved a fair amount of success, appearing in Maxim, Elle and Vanity Fair. She also developed a serious eating disorder.

‘It’s a very psychologically damaging industry,’ she says. ‘It’s like the ballet or the military. Agents and clients have this way of being nice to you one minute and putting you down the next. It’s very blunt. They don’t care. All they care about is making money. And there’s another guy or girl walking in the door any second.’

Read more on LA Weekly.

Nikki’s Exclusive Interview with CBS LA about the importance of AB 2539

Nikki DuBose CBS Los Angeles

“’I did become very successful but I paid a very high price,’ said Nikki DuBose, who has graced the covers of magazines. ‘I didn’t want to be involved in an industry that was making me sick.’

Sick from eating disorders, her mental and physical health suffering, DuBose left the business four years ago.

She’s now a Los Angeles-based author, advocate, and a support of AB2539, a bill proposed by a Northern California assemblyman.”

Read more and watch Nikki’s exclusive interview on CBS LA.

Vogue Spain – AB 2539

“Nikki Dubose, una ex modelo que ha manifestado su apoyo a este proyecto de ley, ha comentado en un comunicado oficial lo siguiente: ‘como ex modelo y superviviente de un grave desorden alimenticio, sé que este tipo de legislación se necesita de forma crítica.'”

Read more on Vogue Spain.

Vogue UK – Will California Follow French Model Health Law?

“The evidence of eating disorders in the modelling industry is alarming,” Levine said, while former model-turned-advocate Nikki DuBose supported the legislation with a statement, asserting: ‘As a former fashion model and an eating-disorder survivor, I know that this legislation is critically needed.'”

Read more on Vogue UK.

Bay Area Lawmaker Says Models Can Be Too Skinny For The Runway

The Duchess of Windsor once said, ‘you can never be too rich or too thin.’ But a Bay Area lawmaker believes she is wrong–at least on one account–and has proposed a ban on models who look ‘too thin’ on the runway.

In fact, San Rafael Assemblyman Marc Levine wants to ban anorexic models on the catwalk altogether. He has introduced AB2539, which takes its cue from a similar laws already on the books in France, Italy and Spain. The hope is that models will stop starving themselves to get work, and women and girls will stop starving themselves to look like models.

 

Read more on CBS San Fransisco.

The Fashion Law – Proposed California Law Aims to Reduce Eating Disorders Among Models

“Fashion models who want to work in California would need a doctor to attest that they are of healthy weight and not suffering from an eating disorder under a proposal announced by a state lawmaker on Monday. Legislation proposed by California state Assembly member, Marc Levine, follows efforts in several countries to fight anorexia and other eating disorders among models, who are relentlessly pressured to lose weight or lose work. ‘The evidence of eating disorders in the modeling industry is alarming,’ Levine, a Democrat, who represents the Marin County suburbs of San Francisco, said in a statement on Monday.”

Read more on The Fashion Law.

Inquisitr – Creating Change In the Modeling Industry

“If former fashion model Nikki DuBose gets her wish, models in California would be legally prohibited from being too skinny.

A new bill, AB2539, introduced Monday by Assemblyman Marc Levine, would require any model working in California to be approved by a doctor certifying they don’t suffer from an eating disorder.”

Read more on Inquisitr.

 

News Release: Honored to Announce AB 2539 with California Assemblyman Marc Levine!

Read the press release here.

I am thrilled to announce my involvement alongside Assemblymember Marc Levine, his Chief of Staff Michael Miiller, Legislative Assistant Naomi Padron, CEO of NEDA Claire Mysko, NEDA STAR Program Manager Kerry Dolan, Founder of the Model Alliance Sara Ziff and Harvard STRIPED director Dr. Bryn Austin, in this new legislation that will create healthy standards for California models and in return, set a healthier example for the nation. I am fully confident that this is just the beginning and from here we will create change for the industry in ways we can’t even imagine.

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

Business Insider

“Fashion models who want to work in California would need a doctor to attest that they are of healthy weight and not suffering from an eating disorder under a proposal announced by a state lawmaker on Monday.

The bill proposed by California state Assembly member Marc Levine follows efforts in several countries to fight anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders among models, who are relentlessly pressured to lose weight or lose work.”

Read more on Business Insider.

Los Angeles NEDA Walk, Captured In Time

March 7, 2015 was an inspiring day in sunny Santa Monica! I am so proud of my team, the LA Artist Initiative, and each and every person that came out and supported the National Eating Disorders Association’s cause! Every step taken is a move in the right direction!

To find out how you can get in involved in one of NEDA’s many walks around the nation, please visit their walk website.

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God Bless,
Nikki DuBose
Captain of the LA Artist Initiative Team

 

T-shirts and Artwork for sale benefiting the Los Angeles NEDA Walk!

Hey guys!

T-shirts and artwork are now for sale benefting the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)! All proceeds go to our team, the Artist Initiative, on behalf of the Los Angeles NEDA walk happening March 7, 2015. Please help us reach our goal and scoop up some one-of-a-kind products in the process. 😀
To keep up to date with our progress, please visit our team site.
*Note, sizes for T-shirts go up to 3X

God Bless,
Nikki, @suxieart and the Artist Initiative Team

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NEDAwareness Week is February 22 – 28, 2015!

2015 NEDAwareness February 22-28, 2015
2015 NEDAwareness February 22-28, 2015

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) awareness week is Feb 22-28th! Please visit NEDA’s Awareness site to learn more and to find how how you can get involved. ♡

The seemingly “perfect” images we see in magazines, billboards, on television, movies, and on social media, are an illusion, meant to make us feel bad for the sake of making advertisers and powerhouses wealthy. Please do not believe what you are seeing. The models behind the images have to resort to unhealthy measures to maintain their appearances and adhere to strict rules in order to keep their jobs. The environment that the modeling industry imposes at large is a breeding ground for eating disorders, and while they have made an effort to diversify and celebrate all body types and sizes, there is still much work to be done.

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

Spreadshirt Petition to Remove Pro ED Products

Please sign the petition to remove Pro ED products!

My response to Phillip Rooke at spreadshirt.com

Dear Mr. Rooke,

While Ioana Urma’s art installations are backed by a positive mission statement, “The idea was born out of a serious concern with the publicized woman’s body – our social obsession with thin ideals – that falls nowhere close to average or, for the majority of the population, healthy,” when her slogans appear on T-shirts, they are without context and are open to misinterpretation. While the artist is aware of the pressures that exist on society, she is unaware of the effect that her T-shirts have on those that are suffering from eating disorders. Eating disorders are mental illnesses that may affect as many as 30,000,000 people in the United States, and claim on average twenty three deaths a day. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses; up to 20% die.

Why are you not willing to take responsibility as a company for products that potentially cause psychological harm to a large group of people? As a survivor of a more than seventeen year battle with bulimia and anorexia, I can attest to the major harm that provocative messages can cause. Not only are such messages insensitive, they are a mischaracterization of eating disorders, fueling the stigmatization of a mental illness that is irresponsibly glamorized and downplayed in its severity. I worked as a fashion model for many years and developed anorexia nervosa as a direct result of the social pressures placed upon me from my environment, but eating disorders affect people from all backgrounds, economic standings, sizes, shapes, and races. To understand how these messages are received by someone with an eating disorder, I encourage you watch this TEDx Columbus talk by Laura Hill: “Eating Disorders from the Inside Out.”

Sincerely,

Nikki DuBose
Writer, Speaker, Mental Health Advocate

2014 LA Artist Initiative NEDA Walk

What an amazing turnout we had at this year’s Los Angeles NEDA Walk in sunny Santa Monica, California! As I take a while to pause and reflect on all of the time and energy that was put into preparing, sharing and executing this inspiring and emotional event, I am sad that it is now over, but I am also ready and preparing to have an even bigger and better time for next year’s event.

When I was approached by NEDA to captain the LA Artists Initiative Team, which first started in New York City, I felt grateful and blessed to be a part of such a momentous occasion and felt unsure if it was something that I could be responsible for. Was I meant to be a leader? I am so flawed!

Read more on NEDA.

NEDAwareness Week 2014 is Officially here!! Show Your Support!

I am thrilled that NEDAwareness week 2014 is upon us and kicking once again! This is a great chance for people all over the world to get involved on social media, the workplace, school, home – everywhere!

To find out how you can get involved in this year’s NEDAwareness week, please visit their site.

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