Addiction Hope: Marijuana Dubbed the Next “Wonder Drug” for Heroin Patients

This year I am celebrating six years of sobriety from alcohol and drugs, addictions that took seed at thirteen years old. Actually, I had my first drink at three because my late mother thought it would be funny to see my reaction after sipping a Long Island Iced Tea.

It wasn’t funny, though, as my genetic makeup combined with an abusive environment laid the groundwork for unhealthy coping behaviors to manifest. As a teen, I grabbed onto alcohol, prescription pills, cocaine and LSD like candy and water.

Needing More and More

Eventually, I needed more and more to create the “high” feeling to take me away from reality. At some point, “high” wasn’t good enough anymore, and I needed death to quiet my loneliness.

Read the full blog post at Addiction Hope.

Free and Above – Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

We recently got to ask Nikki DuBose – A former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate a few questions.

Here’s what we got to talk about.

1) Do you have any advice for young teens and young adults battling with an eating disorder who want to get better and start their road to recovery but don’t know where to begin or don’t think they’re strong enough to make that commitment of an everyday fight to recover and start the healing process?

Read the full interview on Free and Above.

Chiaki Evaldsson’s Review of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

Nikki DuBose is a mental health advocate, ambassador, public speaker and writer. She is also a former model who has experienced the dark side of the fashion industry. Her harrowing journey includes childhood abuse, addiction, self harm, rape, eating disorders, psychosis and various other mental health issues. It’s undoubtable a frightening read, but an important one.
We follow Nikki from childhood, through her years as a teenager and as an adult. Divided into chapters with focus on different themes, she provides us with an honest account of what was going through her head at the time and how she experienced it. It’s refreshing to read something so raw and sincere.

Read the full review at TheTrueSea.

Fiona Likes to Blog: 3 mental health books you MUST read today

I’ve spent many an afternoon wandering around the library. To me the library has always been a place of opportunity, and it has helped me find books that ignite new interests and explain unknown worlds to me. I’ve loved collecting books over the years, and looking back at my favourites reminds me if where I was at that point in my life, how I was feeling and what I was doing.

Having depression and anxiety means I often look for answers in the books I read. Recently I reflected on some of the books that helped me make sense of my own mental illness and it’s something that I think you might find helpful, so I’ve listed my top 3 books below.

Read the full article at Fiona Likes to Blog.

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.

Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) – 1565

Listen to the podcast with Nikki and Bill Murray here.

Tonight’s special guest is Nikki DuBose from Los Angeles, a returning NAASCA family member who was abused as a child and later as a young professional model. Nikki works closely with Matt Sandusky at the ‘Peaceful Hearts Foundation,’ and will tell us about her new book, ‘Washed Away: From Darkness to Light.’ In her memoir, Nikki details how being sexually abused as a child led to a seventeen-year battle with serious mental health issues such as eating disorders, depression, self-harm, substance abuse and sexual addictions. She experienced a great deal of success, yet that prosperity came with a high price that often mirrored the sexual abuse from her youth. Among other things, Nikki advocates on her web site for better regulation of the modeling industry. Coming to a place of full healing has not been easy for Nikki, but she says, “I wholeheartedly believe that full recovery is possible. It starts with speaking out and reducing the shame and stigma that is so often attached to mental health issues.” She goes on, “Being an advocate is what allows me to wake up every day and feel truly alive. All of that pain that I lived with for so many years is now channeled into making a difference in society. Whatever issues you’re passionate about, use your voice and the resources you have; love yourself first and from there you can help to change the world.” We’re delighted to have Nikki as a card-carrying member of the NAASCA family!

The SHAIR Podcast: #104 “Washed Away” with Nikki DuBose, Battling Food, Sex and Drug Addiction.

Nikki DuBose joins us today on The SHAIR podcast. Nikki is a former model turned author, speaker and mental health advocate. Her debut memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, was released September 30, 2016. In Washed Away, Nikki recounts her experiences navigating the dark side of the modeling industry, while battling abuse, addiction, and various mental health issues. She recently appeared in the Oprah Winfrey Network on the T.D Jakes show to speak about her recovery from body dysmorphic order and eating disorders and how the pressure to fit into the modeling industry nearly killed her.

Listen to the podcast.

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.

Get An Autographed Copy of Washed Away for the Holidays!

There’s still time to get your autographed copy of Washed Away for your loved one this holiday season! Just click the Buy Now button below and your copy will be on the way.

Personalization inside book



Win A Free Copy of Washed Away with Eating Disorder Hope!

During the month of December, enter to win a FREE copy of my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, with Eating Disorder Hope. Enter to win now!  4200x2800bb

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is a memoir that recounts the experiences of model Nikki DuBose as she overcomes a more than seventeen-year battle with abuse, child sexual victimization, eating disorders, psychosis, alcoholism, drugs, depression, suicide attempts, body dysmorphic disorder, and various other mental health issues, all while trying to navigate through the dark side of the fashion industry.

Washed Away serves as a testimony to others to let them know that they are not alone in their fears, doubts, and frustrations and that through recovery all things are possible.

He Said Books Or Me – Excerpt: Washed Away

Hi Everyone!

Just stopping by today with an excerpt from the book, Washed Away. There is more information about the book and the author below the excerpt.
Happy Reading!
Chapter 5: Sex, Suicide, Addiction, Bullying & Divorce

Life is like a painting; our circumstances are the brushes that define which way the lines will flow and trickle. This endless mural reveals the contents of our souls through its unique colors, textures, and shades.

Read more on He Said Books Or Me.

A Message from a Friend: Proof That Love Trumps Hate.

I received the sweetest message from a girl I know in NYC. Amongst the hateful messages, she reachedkindness out in love, like so many of you. Thank you, everyone, for all of your support, I have so much to be grateful for this holiday season. Read on:
“Hey Nikki! I’m reaching out because I’m nearly finished with your memoir — I was going to wait to write to you until I finished it (I have less than 100 pages left), but then I saw your FB post this morning and felt the need to reach out now.
I almost don’t know what to say (without sounding trite) about my experience of reading your book. All I can say is that I’m blown away….I’ll probably finish it today, which means that I will have read it in about four days—and seeing as it usually takes me weeks or months to get through a book, that’s saying a lot! All of us here in the ED community know, on some level, that each one of us has gone through difficult things. We wouldn’t have eating disorders if that weren’t true (and an ED is itself difficult enough to go through). But I had no idea just how much pain you’ve walked through in your life. It breaks my heart to think of the depth of suffering you experienced as a child, as a teenager, as a young adult….it’s excruciatingly painful to experience sexual trauma OR mental illness OR an abusive modeling industry OR a parent’s addiction and death OR domestic violence and abuse OR divorce — to say nothing of experiencing *all* of those things. And what you said in your FB post is completely true—trauma changes your psyche and the way you behave. It’s cumulative, and also pervasive—it affects your entire worldview, how you think, what you do. (And btw, about your FB post, whoever said those things—f*ck them. Those sound like the comments of someone who has literally zero clue about any of these issues. I’m glad you have the strength and knowledge now to recognize the lies in what they say, but I still wish you didn’t have to be the recipient of such ignorance and callousness. Please know, at least, that the people who support and love you don’t think or believe those things for a second.)
I keep thinking back to our beautiful breakfast with Don last summer. I remember then being impressed and inspired by your quiet strength, your calm, your assurance that recovery is 100% possible. If only I knew then who I was sitting next to. You are the real deal, Nikki. You’ve traveled through the darkest circles of hell and come back to share your story of light. You are hope personified. I am grateful to be one of many beneficiaries of your wisdom.
Thank you for sharing your story with all of us, and with the world. I can only imagine how many people out there have a lighter burden now just by knowing that they aren’t alone in their personal hell. I hope it was healing for you to write it.
Most of all, thank you for being a light in the dark.”
Your friend,
Joanna

 

I’m hosting a weekly mental health chat and YOU get to decide the topics!

Hi everyone! Starting next week, I’ll pick a mental health topic that you decide on – anything from psychosis to dissociative identity disorder to addictions to what it was like to have mental illness in the modeling industry – things that I cover in my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, and I’ll discuss them with you. These videos are meant to be both educational and from the perspective of my own experiences. I’ll be answering any questions you may have, so please leave them in the comments on YouTube and be kind.

 

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Recovery Warriors Podcast: From Darkness to Light with Nikki DuBose

“Nikki DuBose is an excellent example of the transformational powers of recovery. A former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate she had many experiences navigating the dark side of the modeling industry, while battling abuse, addiction, and various mental health issues (sexual victimization, eating disorders, alcoholism, drugs, depression, suicide attempts, body dysmorphic disorder, PTSD, psychosis). In her debut memoir Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, she intimately shares her process of destruction to regeneration. Tune into this week’s show to hear Nikki candidly talk about her path to healing.”

Listen to the Podcast with Nikki and Recovery Warriors!

Feminine Collective – Sex, BDD & Self-Destruction

‘”The director of my agency…was in his…mid-fifties, and I was in my early twenties. It was very clear that if I slept with him…I would book more jobs, and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t work. I felt like, I felt like a whore.’ – Nikki DuBose
Former model turned author and activist, Nikki DuBose describes how she felt pressured to sleep with the director of her high profile agency to book prominent campaigns and magazines in the book trailer for her newly released, raw and inspiring memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light.”

Read more on Feminine Collective.

Yahoo! Finance – New Memoir ‘Washed Away: From Darkness to Light’ Reveals the Dark Side of the Modeling Industry

“Nikki DuBose, a former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate, announced today the release of her memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light. In Washed Away, Nikki recounts her experiences navigating the dark side of the modeling industry, while battling abuse, addiction, and various mental health issues. In the book trailer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Fop6kvFZI8), she mentions the sexual abuse she encountered, including having been raped by a photographer, and the pressure she felt to lose weight.”

Read more on Yahoo! Finance.

Business of Modeling – A Story of Recovery: Former Model Nikki DuBose on Her Book, ‘Washed Away’

“My modeling career was anything but typical. I wasn’t plucked out of a mall or grocery store; I wasn’t even discovered. I didn’t just ‘fall’ into the industry by chance, either, although I was a serious nerd who never thought she belonged with the fashion industry’s elite. I pushed my way into the business, desperate for love and acceptance, because quite frankly, I didn’t receive a lot of it at home. When I did start modeling as a teen and later in my early twenties, it wasn’t ‘exciting,’ although I often fantasized that I was a glamorous supermodel because it lifted my low self-esteem. At some point, I did reach a pretty high level in my career, and I paid a high price for it, as I talk about in my soon-to-be-released memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light. I was more familiar with abuse, poor body image, and distorted ideals of love than confidence and beauty, which all pushed me to look for acceptance in places where I could never find it. The modeling industry was one of those places, and it proved to be an illusionary world, one where I felt that I had to remain high, drunk, or starved in order to exist in it.”

Read more on Business of Modeling.

Pretty-Hot.com – Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

147132584698929About Washed Away: From Darkness to Light:

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is a memoir that recounts the experiences of model Nikki DuBose as she overcomes a more than seventeen-year battle with abuse, child sexual victimization, eating disorders, psychosis, alcoholism, drugs, depression, suicide attempts, body dysmorphic disorder, and various other mental health issues, all while trying to navigate through the dark side of the fashion industry.

Her journey began as a young, introverted child with a florid imagination growing up in Charleston, South Carolina. By the age of eight, she had been sexually, physically, and emotionally abused and had developed an eating disorder. The abuse warped Nikki’s self-perception and sparked patterns of psychosis, depression and destructive behavior that stayed with her into adulthood. In her early twenties, she began working as a television host and started a career in modeling. Eventually, Nikki attained success, appearing on the covers of magazines such as Maxim, shooting for editorials like Vanity Fair, Glamour and FHM, and appearing in campaigns for Perry Ellis.

Read more at Pretty-Hot.com.

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

How Professional Therapy Has Made the Biggest Difference in My Recovery

“I shunned therapy or help of any kind for most of my life. As a child, I had a terrible fear of the doctor. My pediatrician referred to me as his ‘kitty cat,’ and gave me suckers every time I went in for a visit – which in my mind, was far too often. I cried and cried every time my mom took me to the doctor because I knew that hidden behind his smiles and candy was pain. And I didn’t like to feel pain. A nurse would suddenly burst into the room and then it would happen – I would get stuck with a giant needle. I resisted pain so much that the nurse eventually sat on my legs while the doctor continued calling me his ‘kitty cat.’

Read more on Clinical Addiction Recovery Institute.

India Times

“The world of showbiz attracts almost everyone. Come to think of it, what’s not to like? It has glamour, luxury and the best of all money! But do you ever wonder what lies behind this stunning scenario? Don’t we read a lot of cases of models, actors and fashion designers not being able to cope with failures and committing suicide or declaring bankruptcy? Many resort to dependency on drugs and alcohol to cope with the pressure. The picture doesn’t seem as rosy now, does it?
I became acquainted with one such case when I read about Nikki DuBose. A former model-turned-mental-health-activist, DuBose reached out to India times with her life story – one that can make even the toughest person shudder.”

Read more on India Times.

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.

 

Stories of Hope: An Interview with Nikki DuBose

“This is part of a series featuring individuals who share their life experiences with mental health issues. Recently, I asked writer and mental health advocate Nikki DuBose about her history of mental health issues and her current advocacy work.”

Read Nikki’s interview on davidsusman.com

 

 

 

Speak2Heal Episode 4 College Life & Addiction with Laura Porter

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes!

On this episode I sat down with Laura Porter who is a student at George Washington University majoring in political communication with a minor in psychology. After taking three semesters off of school for her own mental health struggles, Laura became passionate about advocating for increased awareness of mental illness among college students, specifically eating disorder awareness. Laura served as president of Students Promoting Eating Disorder Awareness and Knowledge at GW (SPEAK GW) as well as a communications intern at Active Minds Inc.

You can connect with Laura on Twitter  @LCPeez and on Speak GW.

Look out for my new book, Washed Away, coming out next year! In case you missed it in the last post, I recently wrote a blog about it on the National Eating Disorders Association.

 

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

It Happened In August: Family, Addiction and Breaking the Curse

Three years ago today Momma died in a car accident while driving back home to Charleston fr23973_1313607114603_321567_nom Myrtle Beach, SC. Her body was infused with so much alcohol, that she couldn’t see or steer properly and she lost control of the wheel. She was thrown through the windshield, over fifty feet in the air. Her friend was killed on impact. Within seconds, lives were changed forever, and as Momma lay dying in MUSC alone, no one in the family knew the horror that was taking place. However it was obvious; all the warnings were there. Years and years of signs pointed to the culmination of that tragic day.

I was only three years old when I had my first sampling of alcohol. As I stuck the red straw in my mouth and tasted the Long Island Iced Tea, I looked up at Momma and proclaimed, “More, more!” It was a joke to the family, a look-how-cute-she-is moment that no one thought twice about. Perhaps we should have. After all, Momma’s birth mom died from alcoholism. We never met her; she had to give Momma up at birth.

At thirteen, I was hitting the bars with Momma at my side, letting hormones and anger guide my way. Resentful at the abuse that had taken place for many years, I wanted to blow off steam, however I was careful to notice that Momma was quickly spiraling out of control with drinking. Frightened, I became turned off by alcohol.

By the time I reached twenty-one, I had gone through one divorce and several failed relationships. I was determined to be the one to leave, to always be in control. I was living on the other side of the country in California, wanting to be as far away from my family as possible. Momma was losing her battle to alcohol, although it was kept a secret for the most part. I became carried away in the party scene and played with the dangerous game of lets-see-how-many-drugs-I-can-take. Death was not scary to me, I just wanted to drink and take drugs.

In my mid-twenties, I was a successful model, and had tried to sober up many times. For a few years, I rode sobriety like a wild rollercoaster, never knowing when I would take the deep plunge and drop off the face of the earth again. When Momma finally passed away in 2012, I saw a reflection of myself in her casket. It was time to jump off the rollercoaster and choose life once and for all. I’m so thankful I got help and got sober before it was too late. Today I live my life in gratitude one day at a time.

If you or someone you love needs help, I recommend the following resources:

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.1.800.622.2255

Alcoholics Anonymous

Adult Children of Alcoholics

The Hope Diary: Prayer for Addiction

I came across this prayer on Facebook by Joyce Meyer Ministries and I wanted to share it with you if you are struggling with any kind of addiction or stronghold in your life.

I believe that we can be totally set free from anything, when we believe that we hold the power over whatever threatens to control us.

Prayer for Addiction: “God, I know You can help me overcome this addiction, and I’m so thankful, because I want to be free. Every time I come to You, I win another battle. Thank You for helping me to keep on fighting. I pray for complete healing and transformation not just for myself, but so others will be blessed by my testimony of Your love and mercy and Your power over sin. Help me remember what Your Word says: You will never leave me or forsake me, and You love me no matter what. Because of Jesus Christ, I already have the victory. Thank You, Lord, for showing me who I am in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

-Joyce Meyer Ministries-

The God Question: Religion vs. Spirit

“’Does God exist?’ The question looms largely in our society today. Just mentioning religion or politics is enough to spark a heated debate anywhere, anytime. Your God, my God, no God, and let’s not forget the gods of different religions, cultures and mythologies.  

Some are compelled to research the history of this so-called creator of life, and need scientific proof that such a supernatural being could exist.  Others of us, however, believe with innocent faith, and tell openly of about our devotion and miraculous experiences.”

Read more on Recovery Warriors.

 

Speaking Event — Los Angeles County Psychological Association ED SIG

A recap in photos of the March 4th, 2016 speaking event at the LACPA Eating Disorder Special Interest Group. A big thank you to Dr. Muhlheim and the Los Angeles County Psychological Association!

 

Nikki_DuBose_LACPA_ED_SIG

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Nikki_DuBose_LACPA_2

Love Letter to God

March 4, 2015

Thank You Dear Lord Jesus,

You are my Hope

You are my Strength

You are my Mind

You are my Love

You are my Savior

You are my Rock

You are my Comfort

You are my Healing

You are my Security

You are my Confidence

You are my Peace

You are my Stability

You are my Protection

You are my Beauty

Thank You Dear Lord Jesus,

You love me forever and forever

I love you with all that I am.

-Nikki DuBose


Love_Letter_to_God

Psalm 56:3,4

“But when I am afraid,

I will put my trust in you.
I praise God for what He has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?

What can mere mortals do to me?”

Psalm 57:1-4

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy!

I look to you for protection.

I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings

until the danger passes by.

I cry out to God Most High,

to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.

He will send help from heaven to rescue me,

disgracing those who hound me.

My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness.”

Paint Me A Soul Part Five

Over the next week for NEDAwareness I will detail raw, personal accounts of my time in the modeling and entertainment industries. These stories serve to inform and educate the masses about eating disorders, mental health issues, drug and alcohol addictions, and what really lies behind the doors of the fashion world.

March 2009.

My twenty-fourth birthday had come and gone, and I could hardly recall any of it…at least anything honorable.  Although I had set out to enjoy the evening sober and in an elegant fashion, by the time I saw myself dressed and sporting new gold stilettos from Bloomingdales, I couldn’t let the night unravel without the heavens spinning.

I wanted to get drunk, fast and hard. As usual my innocent plans ended in raging fights, binges on birthday food, party goodies and alcohol, multiple episodes in the bathroom for purging sessions and, ultimately, a blackout.

I had managed to hide my binging over the course of the night, and purging, I thought that to be a cinch. Because I was partying in the Miami scene, the bathrooms were continuously filled with people who were hurling the hard liquor they had churning in their bodies…at least I thought. I used that as my excuse every time I made the trip into one of the disgusting stalls. As the evening drew on, I looked and behaved like something out of a deranged circus show. I needed a team of people to help put my life together, however I continued to look for fixes in all the wrong places.

 

***

Spring had finally arrived. Outside the world overflowed with cotton candy skies, lush Hibiscus flowers swirled kisses to ethereal butterflies and rows of Royal Palm Trees bended and swayed to the rhythms of the sweet, salty air, that tangoed with the sunshine.

But inside, oh but inside, my reality was muted and bare. Moment by moment I was being strangled by the pasty walls inside Dr. Melbourne’s office. The thick smell of sterilization and cleaning fluids filled my lungs and brought me to a nauseating reality. Blood red. It was, in fact, the only color apart from the chalky white that was in this hell hole. Gallons of blood trickled from the bodies of hundreds of victims, just like myself, down through plastic tubes and into clear containers. With every drip into the container, another soul was exposed and washed away.

The only noise I could detect besides the frail beating of my heart was the maniacal tickings of the stale clock that hung directly above the wooden entrance. I was trapped, and if I wanted to escape, which I did, I would have to dash down the long hallway of slippery shame and face one beautifully altered nurse after another, explaining why I didn’t want to get my breasts enhanced.

Enhanced sounded so…so innocent, as if putting on a padded bra would have sealed the deal. But no, I was fully aware that soon I would be under the knife…again…and Dr. Melbourne…Miami’s finest, would cut and stuff large balloons of potentially harmful substances into my chest. All for the sake of…what?

I wanted to please. I wanted to feel better about my body. I had always wanted a larger chest. Now that not just one, but several of my agents had agreed and brought it to my attention that implants would make my career more successful, I was convinced I was making the right decision. I believed that after the surgery, I would finally be…good enough. I couldn’t tell what was more superficially inflated…my ego, or the sample implants enclosed in the glass case across from me.

Only a few months ago, I had walked through these same doors for rhinoplasty. Any fear that I had was replaced once Dr. Melbourne reassured me with a marker outline on my face of what my new and improved self would look like. As he held up the mirror, I was pleasantly shocked.

That’s…that’s my new nose?”

He remained neutral and said nothing. Suddenly I dwindled into an eight year old, afraid and timid. I was an annoyance with my mouth.

Yup! As I told you before, it’s not a big deal. Rhinoplasty is a common procedure. Especially with girls in your line of work.”

I felt…insulted on some levels, but I also couldn’t help noticing how seeing myself in a potentially new way soothed my emotions. As I turned my head from side to side, I believed that this surgery would fix all of my problems. No one could ever make fun of me anymore. I would book more jobs, and become a supermodel. Everyone at the agency would be astounded by my success. I could never be looked at as ugly again, and coming from a woman who as a child had been made fun of for her big nose, chunky cheeks and glasses, I felt that reducing my nose was a slap in the face to everyone…at work, and at home.

I’ll show them.

I can’t wait to do it, Dr. Melbourne.”

A few months later, after weeks and weeks of lying in bed with bandages on my face like a mummy, I uncovered my new self. A reinvented me. Dr. Melbourne removed the layers to reveal a nose that was more petite, and in my mind, a me that was finally worthy and desirable. However, I was severely swollen and numb to the touch. Numb like my life. The surgery didn’t stop my binging, or purging. Although I saw myself with a new face, I was ridden with issues. I spent hours in the bathroom, obsessing over every little detail. The sadness and anger ate away at my skin, and I wanted to die. I contemplated suicide during my rehabilitation.

Pig. Now you look even more like a pig! Your nose is tilted!

I seriously considered a second nose procedure to correct the first one, but those sane around me talked me out of it.

Now, a hard raspy knock on the door brought back me to these chalky walls, and a life-sized doll stepped inside.

Hello, I’m Theresa. Ms. Du-Boise? Du-DuBose?”

DuBose.”

Ok. Ms. DuBose, please come with me, we need to take your vitals, check your weight, etc.”

God, my weight.

As she turned out the door, I put my feet together and checked to see if my thighs were touching. I hadn’t eaten anything that day, in preparation for this very moment. My jeans were looser. I was down to wearing between a size two to four.

Just don’t look at the number.

We walked over to an area where a shaky scale sat. Fleshy eyes knocked and rolled all over my back as I took off my shoes and stepped onto the platform. Clenching my eyeballs shut, I squeezed my hands until I was sure I would burst into flames.

Please God, please don’t let her tell me the number. Please God, please don’t let her –

God wasn’t listening.

123.” She scribbled some notes on her pad.

123, that’s actually not that bad!

Not my goal, but, not enough to send me into a tailspin at the moment, either. I lifted my flat chest a little higher, and, walked out of the torture chamber straight into the room of doom. I gloated in my number.

123, 123, 123, 123…

My glory, my shining moment was shredded to pieces, the moment she closed the door. Unbeknownst to me, she mentally whipped out her blood-spattered butcher knife and sliced me in half.

123…that’s a lot for models, isn’t it?”

 

The Cure

I searched for myself
inside of bottles, liquids
pills and powders too
I took my pain
and numbed it with food
starved myself
’till I was nearly dead
Then one day
as I lay broken on the floor
a man appeared before me
“Are you ready to be healed
take my hand
All you have to do
is accept me.”

©2015 Nikki DuBose

Paint Me A Soul — Part Four

Over the next week for NEDAwareness I will detail raw, personal accounts of my time in the modeling and entertainment industries. These stories serve to inform and educate the masses about eating disorders, mental health issues, drug and alcohol addictions, and what really lies behind the doors of the fashion world.

Only a couple weeks had passed since I had first walked into the doors of the agency, but it felt as though I had journeyed through an entire lifetime. My universe consisted of photo shoots, blind contracts, and meeting person after person in castings all over town, although hardly ever eye-to-eye. Most just wanted to evaluate my face and body, not look into my eyes…that required a sincere connection and I was quickly learning that I was in the wrong place for that.

 There was a sort of bitter flow that just…worked. It only took a couple of days before I understood certain protocols and ideals. Show up, on time. Do as you’re asked. Dress to show off your body, and, work hard to maintain certain measurements. The thinner, the better. Always, always appear immaculate. Practice, practice, practice your walk. Be the best. Once you complete a job, don’t ask questions as to when you will get paid. If I had a question about something, I asked, but many times I was shot down and ignored. The tactics seemed…familiar. It was a reflection of my childhood, and one that I was willing to give up everything for. It was a family that I wanted desperately to call my own.

November 2008

Pinching the skin between my forehead repeatedly, I fell off into space. Darkness ran in all directions as the world ceased to exist. My body tingled and my brain throbbed. Suddenly I was sorry for the massive purging session that had just taken place in the bathroom of the downstairs cafe. I couldn’t really think, I was numb. Numb to it all.

Get it together. You have to take new polaroids!

I forced my eyes open to splotches and grey floaters. Sitting on the toilet, clothed, in the agency bathroom I gathered the strength to stand. Dizzy, my stomach churned with anticipation. I walked over to the sink and brushed my teeth. As I spit and raised my head, I came face-to-face with a reflection that was not my own. The glazed eyes, puffy cheeks and red lips didn’t belong to me. Who was I?

I didn’t have much time to contemplate because the door swung open and a fellow model rushed in. She glanced at me and my swollen face, suspiciously.

My gaze went from her, to myself, and back to her again. I watched her walk into a stall and shut the door.

I bet she doesn’t throw up. Why can’t you get yourself together stupid? Why can’t you just be…normal?

I packed my items away in my bag and scrutinized my body in the mirror. I just had to observe it from all angles. The fear of being rejected and criticized by my agents loomed largely. I smoothed my stomach over and over, as I moved from side to side. I checked my back, legs, everywhere. Then I fixed my hair and re-fixed it. I wanted to smash my face into the glass as I morphed into a giant swine.

God Nikki you look like a fat pig. Ugly!

After the polaroids were updated, I was asked to stay longer. Besides the negative comments that were made about my thighs, I was unsure as to why I was asked to stay behind. I wanted to leave, but I patiently agreed and sat down in an empty chair that was normally occupied by the men’s agent. I sat for an eternal time, hot and anxious.

I bet they’re going to tell you about your weight! That’s what happens when you eat right before! You better starve!

I drifted off to the wall of cards that showed off all of the women the agency kept on roster. There I was, on the bottom right. All around me were the most beautiful of the beautiful. I was still on a paper card and didn’t even have my permanent card yet.

You’ll never be like them. Never. Look at their beautiful faces.

I sunk into a bottomless pit of depression, and I couldn’t see the light. Pile after pile of dirt was thrown on top of me. I was suffocating.

Nikki?”

I snapped to my senses, but only for show.

Yes, I-I’m ready. What is it you wanted to see me for?”

My agent came over to me and firmly placed her hand on my shoulder.

Helena wants to see you in her office.” With that she motioned for me to go upstairs.

Upstairs. It was a place that few ever ventured. The owner of the agency practically lived there. Many days as I passed through the main entrance, she was always aware, yet somehow engrossed in her affairs. She intimidated the hell out of me, and she knew it too. A well-known figure, she had guided the careers of some of the world’s most recognizable faces. For a brief second, I wondered if she wanted to help me, too. Adrenaline exploded throughout my body.

As I crept up to the door I adjusted my clothes for a solid five minutes. I closed my eyes and exhaled heavily.

Finally I rapped lightly on the door. I was afraid to disturb her.

Come in and sit down please.”

Pushing the door slightly, I quietly walked in and sat in the chair across from her. The office was even more elaborate than what little bits I had noticed from downstairs. Fur rugs were strewn across a dark hardwood floor. Animal prints and jewel tones were highlighted by fancy candles and framed pictures of articles that boasted of her years of accomplishments. Her massive desk was coated with photographs of famous faces. I felt as big and important as a discarded peanut shell.

She took in a long, heavy breathe and searched me up and down with a neutral expression. Her eyes, however, were piercing. Then she unfolded.

It has come to my attention that, that there is a – a problem darling with some things. Some things that need – attention.” As she spoke she twitched her hand in the air and rolled her eyes to either side.

Attention? Oh my God. What is wrong with me?

I was transported back to my childhood. All at once I was nine years old again, waiting to show my mom my report card. Perspiration trickled between my legs and behind my neck.

It’s, it’s your nose, darling. It’s the shape. And the width. It’s too big. One of the agents brought it to my attention in the polaroids that you took. At first I didn’t notice and I thought that you could cover it up with makeup, but really, it is going to be a problem for clients.”

It took me a while to recover from the massive punch in the face I had just received.

What had she said? It took all my strength not to melt into a puddle of tears.

O-OK,” I stammered. “I understand. You are just looking out for my best.”

I have a wonderful plastic surgeon that I have sent other girls to, he’s the best in Miami, you’ll really love him. Think of it as an investment in your career, and in your life.”

Yes ma’m, thank you for telling me.”

Ok, that’s really about all I needed to tell you.” She stared blankly out her window and motioned me out the door with her crimson fingernails.

I turned, dejected and hopeless. My dreams were shattered. Change my face? Change my life. As I shuffled out of the room I felt the heat from the blistering flames, threatening to singe me.

Paint Me A Soul-Part One

In honor of NEDAwareness 2015, I will be writing about some of my experiences in the modeling business. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, we are fooled into believing the mirages created by the media I cannot even begin to tell you how many times my images were manipulated to make me look thinner to the point that it was destructive for my mental health and the health of so many others.

Over the next week I will detail raw, personal accounts of my time in the modeling and entertainment industries. These stories serve to inform and educate the masses about eating disorders, mental health issues, drug and alcohol addictions, and what really lies behind the doors of the fashion world. 

     It was the beginning of the fall of 2008. The changing air in Los Angeles signaled a shift in the direction of my life yet again. I was tired of running, tired of moving but deep within I felt that something better was on the horizon. I could have dreamed at least. After a couple of weeks of waiting to hear whether or not I would be accepted into modeling agencies in South Florida, I received emails from a few. Some of the most prestigious ones had responded. Nearly besides myself, I spotted their names in my inbox.

This is it! I’ve made it now! I’m going to be somebody, I thought.

Dizzying scenes of parading down glamorous runways filled my mind. I was overwhelmed with the prospect of my new life. My new life that was at the tip of my fingertips.

My sweaty fingers slipped on the keyboard as I clicked on the first message. However, my eyes melted with the lines as I recognized the all-to familiar response. Rejection.

Dear Ms. DuBose,

Thank you for contacting us. After reviewing your images we are sorry to say that we do not think that you would be a good fit for us at this time.

Damnit.” After reading a few more of those I shut off my computer and rolled over onto my messy bed. Crumbs from weeks worth of binges stuck to my clothes and skin and the disgusting feeling brought me back to my harsh reality.

What is wrong with me?

I pondered that question over and over again, so much, that it kept me in the pits of my destructive behaviors. I was trapped in bulimia, without a way out. Rejections from agencies fed my insecurities and mental instabilities. In turn, I cycled through binge eating and bulimia multiple times a day.

About a week later, I heard from an agency and management in South Florida. The feedback was different…sort of.

Dear Ms. DuBose

We would like to meet you. When are you coming?

Also, there are some areas that need attention on your body. The thighs and hips in particular need to be reduced. Competition here is intense!

My mind raced. Ok! I was accepted. But…I needed to change. Again. Change my body, but how much? I could handle it. I was determined to be who they wanted me to be. God knows I didn’t like who I saw when I looked in the mirror constantly throughout the day.

You stupid idiot. Look at yourself. Fat thighs. Big nose! No chest. Ugly, ugly, ugly! Worthless. Of course they won’t accept you. You’ll never be like them. Never. Get to work!

The voices I heard in my head dictated my life. Demeaning, yes, but familiar. The voices were what soothed me just as much as they belittled and controlled every single area. I was captive to them.

I succumbed to the voices that told me to starve myself in preparation for my new life as a model in South Florida that fall of 2008. I also prepared myself to listen to the voices of the people in the fashion industry. I never once thought about listening to my own voice, my heart, or my soul. I had no idea who that voice belonged to.

To be continued…

 

Podcast — “From Fashion Model to Role Model” with Recovery Warriors

My podcast with Recovery Warriors is now LIVE!

Hear me speak on overcoming a more than seventeen year battle with binge eating, bulimia, anorexia, drug and alcohol addictions, and mental health issues. Also I talk about my experiences in the modeling and entertainment industries and how walking away from them led to my recovery.

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

Vanity

This painting was created by my friend Travid Teate with Travis T Photography

206892_504056869295_5131_nMany years ago before I got into modeling I had periods where I was addicted to drugs and alcohol on top of dealing with bulimia. I was dancing at a dance club (not to be confused with a strip club) on some nights and Travis saw me from across the room with what he called, “crazy, wild energy.” The colors he portrayed in this painting were a manifestation, I believe, of some the pain and sadness I was dealing with. This was the first night he had ever saw me, and from there he went home and created this painting entitled, “Vanity.” Quite frankly, I was incredibly superficial and lost in my delusions for a long time.

Thank God for recovery so that I can live in reality now and do not have to give my life over to drugs, alcohol or eating disorders. I like to look at this painting from time to time as a reminder of what addictions can turn me into if I let them. A nightmare.

Roasted Pears with Camembert and Agave

Roasted Pears with Camembert and Agave

 

Happy New Year!  This is a simple, delicious and perfect way to welcome in 2015. This dish is ideal for when you do not have a lot of time and want to have something comforting and satisfying.

You will need: 

Cutting knife

Spoon

Melon ball scoop

Non-stick cookie sheet

Aluminum foil

2 TBS oil, such as canola or coconut

Three pears

Camembert cheese

Agave nectar

To make: 

Preheat the oven to 375°. Rinse the pears well. Place the pears on a cutting board and with the cutting knife slice the pears into halves and then scoop out the middle of each half with a small spoon or melon ball scoop. Discard the mush. Place aluminum foil on top of the cookie sheet and grease with two tablespoons of oil. Put the pear halves on top of the aluminum foiled pan. Fill each hole with camembert cheese and squeeze agave over top in a zig-zag motion. Place the pears into the oven for thirty minutes or until tender. Enjoy, and remember to eat mindfully. You are worth it!

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

Black Bean Brownies with Sweet Avocado Frosting

Generally everyone like brownies, and never does this theory hold true more than with young people, right? While it is important for kids to enjoy dessert, I like to bake treats that are healthy and delicious!

Last night for Mondays at the Mission, I made these black bean brownies with a sweet avocado sauce for the youth! No sooner had I placed them on the table than they were gone 😀

I couldn’t believe they were made out of BEANS because of how scrumptious they were! I am curious to see if you agree with me 🙂

I made two batches of these and both came out fluffy yet moist because of the baking powder. If the idea of the avocado frosting turns you off, I understand, but just think of all of the health benefits balanced with the sweet taste! It’s a win-win 🙂

God Bless,

You will need:

Black Bean Brownies

1 (15 oz). can of low sodium black beans, drained
3 eggs
3 TBS coconut oil
1/2 cup of wondercocoa powder
3 TSP of bourbon vanilla extract
1 TSP baking powder
equ. of 1/2 cup of monk fruit in the raw/stevia/agave

Sweet Avocado Frosting

1 avocado, ripe
1 TBS canola/coconut oil
1/2 TSP bourbon vanilla extract
4 packets of Stevia
1 cup of arrowroot
1 cup of powdered milk

To make:

First, let’s make the brownies. Preheat the oven to 350°. Blend the black beans, eggs, coconut oil, wondercocoa powder, vanilla extract, baking powder, and sweetener of choice until smooth in a blender. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with fat-free cooking spray and pour the brownie mix into the pan. Bake in the oven for about twenty-five minutes. Let the brownies cool in the pan before cutting into even squares, which will make about twelve.

Now for the avocado frosting! With a high-powered whisk, beat together the oil and avocado until smooth. Then carefully add the vanilla. Blend the stevia, arrowroot, and powdered milk in a blender well to imitate powdered sugar, then mix that in with the avocado until everything is properly combined.

Now here’s the best part! You can and the kids can sit down and take quality time to enjoy the incredible brownies you have spent making. What better way to bond than over a meal as a family?