Eating Disorder Hope: How Eating Disorders Affect Work and School

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

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

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

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

Read the full post on Eating Disorder Hope.

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

LA Times: Why Models Need Labor Protections

“For most models, the work isn’t lucrative, leaving them particularly vulnerable to those who hold the keys to more jobs. Model-turned-mental-health advocate Nikki DuBose has said she was pressured to sleep with the director of her modeling agency: ‘When I did I worked more, and when I didn’t the work stopped coming.’

Read more on LA Times.

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.

Find out the untold story of Nikki DuBose

Support the Artist Initiative & Scoop Up Clothing From Lucid Designs!

Support my team, the LA Artist Initiative, for the 2016 NEDA walk, and help save lives for those struggling with deadly eating disorders! 
Now through the first week of April purchase any Conscious Apparel Piece from Lucid Designs, and they will donate 40% to our team, the LA Artist Initiative, which all goes towards the National Eating Disorders Association. To find out more about the LA Artist Initiative, please visit our team page on the walk site!




 

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Prices are as follows:

40% of proceeds for Conscious Apparel goes to the LA Artist Initiative
Hoodies – 85.00
Sweat tops – 70.00
Jogging Pants – 70.00
Tshirts – 60.00
Long Sleeve T- 65.00
Denim long sleeve – 60.00
Apron – 50.00
Baseball caps – 45.00
Tank tops – 50.00

Baseball caps and tanks will be available in March!

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Today Kicks Off NEDAwareness Week 2016!

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This year NEDA’s theme is 3 Minutes Can Save a Life. Get Screened. Get Helped. Get Healthy.

For over seventeen years I battled with not only an eating disorder, but a plethora of mental health conditions that held me prisoner in my own mind and body. If only I would have trusted someone outside of myself I would have experienced the help much sooner. It really only takes three minutes to get access to critical, life-saving information. Isn’t it the most amazing feeling to know that there are people out there who understand you, who are just waiting to love you?

Visit NEDA’s Awareness site to get screened and find out more information.

In regards to my own recovery, it was thanks to a combination of spirituality, mentorship, the twelve-step program, therapy, medication, family and friends, great organizations like NEDA and leaving my modeling career behind. After falling many times and never giving up I was able to regain my mental, physical and spiritual health, and have been going strong for the past three years. Writing and speaking have been incredible tools of healing for me because they have helped me to find my voice during times when I thought that I had none. But we all have voices and often they can be heard the loudest when our lives feel the darkest. 

Don’t give up, ever. You, more than anyone else in the world, are worthy of self-love, care and recovery.

Here’s my schedule for #NEDAwareness 2016:

Feb. 23 10am PST: Twitter Chat – “Getting Healthy: The Many Faces of Eating Disorders Recovery” with @NEDAstaff @EDHope @GenderSpectrum @MentalHealthAm @EricC_Official @TheNikkiDuBose

Feb. 23 7pm PST/ CSU San Marcos: Screening of The Illusionists and Panel Discussion. I will be speaking on a panel at CSU San Marcos, discussing the documentary The Illusionists and talking about the globalization of beauty. All are welcome to attend.

Feb. 25 7pm PST/ CSU San Marcos: Keynote Speaker. I will be telling my personal story of recovery and then holding a Q & A session afterwards.

 

Speak2Heal Episode 6: Facts, Myths & Healing — Child Sexual Victimization

Welcome to Episode 6: Facts, Myths & Healing — Child Sexual Victimization. On this episode I talk about what child sexual abuse is and demystify “stranger danger,” a topic surrounding Matthew Sandusky’s new book, Undaunted, out now on Amazon.com. In my upcoming book, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, I share my own story with child sexual victimization and abuse and how that led to a plethora of mental health issues. I am fortunate to work with Matthew at Peaceful Hearts Foundation; Matthew, his wife Kim, and countless others are passionate about helping survivors of child sexual abuse and making sure they receive the help they need.

There’s alot of miseducation about not only child sexual victimization, but about the Sandusky story as well, and in Episode 6 I dive into both and bring to light some of the truth about topics that have been hidden for far too long.

Have a question or comment? Something you’d like me to talk about on a future show? Drop me a line nikki@nikkidubose.com

Here’s the workshop I did at UCLA recently involving art therapy, child sexual abuse and eating disorders.  

Here’s some awesome art therapy exercises in case you’re interested. You’re never too old for art. 😉

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

In Memory of Ryan

You know, we were kids. He was older, and hiding my Barbies was his thing. Just like most cousins, he liked to tease; it was his way of showing affection. Of course I cried a lot – I loved my dolls more than anything. But as I grew, I wanted to spend more time with him and his brothers, and less time with my dolls.

Then came the times he spent showing me how he could play the guitar, and I was impressed. This kid was good. Like radio good. I spent hours at his feet, cuddling my knees and bobbing my head, as he ripped away tunes, sweating over sheets of music. Of course the teasing always came back. At Halloween he locked me in a dark room and blasted loud tapes of spooky noises. I cried. He laughed.

I didn’t see Ryan for years, but I always thought about him. As life took us in different directions, he and his brothers were constantly in my heart. I struggled with my own issues – depression, eating disorders, addiction, the after-effects of abuse. I was trying to keep my head afloat in a dark ocean of confusion; I wanted to visit my family, but I felt detached from the world. I could no longer identify with the little girl who once played freely and enjoyed life for what it had to offer. I was simply someone else…an identity I had created to cope with life. Often, I contemplated destroying that identity altogether. I wanted to die.

Then came the day – it started out like every other day. Except on this day, I learned that Ryan was gone. He had taken his own life. The memories we shared, were all I had to hold onto. We could never create new ones.

I wish he could have known that, whatever pain he was going through were only temporary. I wish he could have known that he could have reached out…to anyone. I wish that as kids, I could have told him anything, just one thing, that could have made a difference. But I can’t go back and change that. I can, however, help someone else, in honor of him.

I changed my life in honor of my mother, who died in 2012. More importantly, I did it for myself. We can all do it, in memory of someone we love, in honor of ourselves.

If you or someone you love needs to talk, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As well, you can visit their website to find out more about suicide prevention and ways you can help in your area.

God Bless,
Nikki

Now and Always, I Choose Life

Every thirteen minutes another person makes the horrifying decision to end their life in the United States.(1) That’s one too many; imagine how many precious lives could be saved if they could see themselves through the eyes of the people who love and care for them.

Suicide is something I am all too familiar with. In honor of Suicide Prevention Week, I would like to share a bit of my story.

I am now thirty years old; thankfully I am able to see life on the other side of that seemingly endless tunnel of despair. But life wasn’t always like this, no, in fact, for most of it, I struggled with the after-effects of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, a seventeen year eating disorder, alcoholism, depression and stints of heavy drug use. On the outside, I seemed like I had everything together, but on the inside and to a close few who really got to know me, I was desperate to die.

Thoughts of death began to creep in around my early teens, when my mother attempted suicide twice. When other kids my age were just beginning to blossom at school and make friends, I was living in a nightmare, visiting Mom at the mental ward. Visions of her bandaged arms haunted me for most of my adult life, although they were detached somehow; I buried them in a deep place. After all, mothers weren’t supposed to be the ones who needed care.

I internalized the clouded feelings. If Mom wanted to die…I wanted to, too. What was my identity? How was it being formed? My mental state deteriorated at a time when it should have been growing. I was angry and began to dabble in my own forms of self-harm and ultimately, turned towards sharp objects for relief. I needed something to release the intense misery that I felt inside.

At eighteen I was married, although it was brief. I was looking to get away from my family, and move as far away from home as I possibly could. I looked for anyone and anything to cure the loneliness and painful memories that kept resurfacing from my childhood. My eating disorder was worse than ever; I binged and purged multiple times a day. When that couldn’t numb me anymore, I reached for a full bottle of ephedrine and swallowed it whole. The world became dark and I collapsed. Thankfully, my husband at the time came home and found me, my sweaty body convulsing on the floor. I was angry. “How could he do this to me?” I thought. “How could he let me live?”

I continued to struggle with thoughts of suicide, especially when I was recovering from anorexia. Many people are not aware how many deaths are due to suicide from those suffering from eating disorders, but I teetered on the brink for far too long.(2) I was blinded as to my worth; years of trauma had led me to believe that I was not good enough. Throughout years of recovery, however, I am grateful to say that not only am I alive and thriving, but I am able to help others see their value as well. Our darkest times truly can serve as our most valuable lessons.

My mom was not so lucky. Only a couple of months before her death she was in rehab, trying to get her life together. However, she kept talking about how she wanted to die. And she did…she created that life. It was the hardest reality for me to face. My life will turn into the way I want it to. I choose life, today and always. What do you choose?

If you or someone you love is contemplating suicide, please call 1.800.273.8255  Just talk, to anyone. Whether you know it or not, there are so many people who love you.

Visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to learn more about suicide and ways to get involved in your area

To learn more about eating disorders, check out the National Eating Disorders Association.

Radiate Love Gala

Come join me and Project HEAL – Southern California Chapter, September 25, 2015, as we celebrate recovery, community and choose love over fear! The evening will include hors d’Oeuvres, an open bar, and a silent auction as well as guest speakers. All proceeds will go to the Project HEAL treatment grant. To purchase your tickets, please visit radiatelovegala.eventbrite.com

 

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Finding Freedom through the Past

“I’ll never forget that fateful day when the horrible memories resurfaced. Although blurry and confusing, one thing was clear; I had been touched in places I shouldn’t have. Held down for far too long until I felt like I was going to perish from suffocation. A crimson, misshapen face, rough hands and chapped lips signaled my demise. As I sat alone in my bedroom and gazed into unwelcoming silence, one after another the past flooded my brain like a movie. A film that I, the prisoner, watched in unrelenting horror.”

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

 

Eating Disorder Recovery — Seeing The Value Within

“We are all precious and unique. Every body has a destiny to fulfill, and we cannot do that unless we learn to see our value on the inside first. When something is valuable it is considered very worthy, of great importance.

There is no person that is more worthy than you. Yes, you. From the day you were born, God considered you the most valuable person on the planet.

He molded you in His image. He didn’t make one person more special, one more beautiful, and another more interesting, no, He made every person of equal value.”

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

 

Eating Disorder Hope — “Regaining My Mind and My Hair”

“As I peer into the mirror on this wintry Saturday morning I come face to face with one of my oldest demons. My enemy lies dead, void of life, yet I am aware that it has a way of reentering in the darkest corridors of my mind. We meet again, I hesitate as I reach behind the middle of my head and snap, snap, snap! Section after section I unfasten my extensions to reveal what used to be a sight of horror; my thin, natural hair. I am determined to confront the sight with a bold spirit, for I believe that this cannot melt me into a neurotic puddle any longer. Shaggy, light brown tresses barely caress my shoulders, and I exhale a sigh of nostalgic relief. Peace begins to fill my heart for the first time since childhood. My hair.”

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

 

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 Two

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.

My remaining weeks in Los Angeles had been spent in sheer agony. In order to conform myself to the size that the esteemed modeling agency had asked, I had dropped to even more desperate measures than normal. Day after grueling day, I lived in hell. A blistering inferno that I couldn’t get out of.

Inside my mental blazes, I ran around in circles, unable to escape my insanities.

Every day I exercised for hours, binged, purged and locked myself in the bathroom to scrutinize my face and body. The only times I left my house were to get more supplies to fuel my obsessions. I took photograph after photograph of myself to see how much weight I had lost. In my mind, the more weight I lost, the more I achieved, and the more I achieved, the more valuable I was, to myself and to the modeling agency. My self worth was determined by people who only cared about my appearance and how much money I could rake in, but I didn’t care, I had no real love for myself.

October, 2008.

Christmas was only a couple of months away but the Miami weather raged on as if the summer had no end. As soon as I stepped off the plane in the sweltering Florida sun I sensed adventure, mixed with a feeling I couldn’t quite place. This undertaking would turn out to be one that I wouldn’t necessarily want to take.

I was instructed by the agents to come in the following day and sign my paperwork. I was overwhelmed by the move, the excitement of being in a new city and the fact that I was going to be a bona fide model! No longer would I just fantasize about being a model, I was actually going to be one. Pride washed over me and all at once I wanted to soar through the clouds and gaze at all the commoners in Florida. They would soon be seeing me on the billboards…I was a star!

The scenery the next afternoon on the way to the agency was quite a change from my safe house in Los Angeles. Girls and guys buzzed about on the white sanded beaches in barely-there bathing suits, rollerblading and confidently participating in a variety of sports. It was not going to be so easy to hide here. I pulled down my form-fitting skirt and withdrew my face as I passed through a dozen restaurants. The agents had informed me that I should wear something body-hugging, but now I was regretting it. I could feel a thousand unwanted eyes ripping off my clothes. I walked faster. As I entered into the sleek, two-story agency that faced the crystal ocean, I quietly took a seat and soaked in the moment.

I was the only person in the waiting area. All around me were large framed photographs of supermodels I recognized from the eighties and nineties. I was in awe. Did that mean I would be a supermodel, too? In my heart, I hoped so. I held my portfolio tightly and noticed a tall wall of composite cards. Rows of models that belonged to the agency were on display. I observed each and every one.

Wow, I thought. I wish I could look like her. I wonder what it’s like to be her, to be like that.

I became lost in the sea of faces and felt myself drowning.

Had I lost enough weight? Would they accept me?

I nervously tapped my foot but tried to appear calm and collected. My jittery eyes led to a second level that wrapped around to a glass enclosure. Inside a few agents stayed glued to their computers and telephones. They didn’t acknowledge my presence. I checked my phone; 2:49. The appointment was at 2:30. I bit my breath and quietly sat. In my stillness I was sorely reminded of one thing: how much I missed mom. In that moment I contemplated about what it would be like for her to be there with me, sitting beside me and cheering me on. I wanted her to be proud of me. I couldn’t wait to tell her about this opportunity, but most of all, I was tired of being…alone.

 

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…

 

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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Recovering From Anorexia and Bulimia: Loving My Jiggle

After taking a year and a half off work from modeling to recover, I feel so freaking happy to say that I am getting my booty back, my boobs back. I feel things jiggle when I walk. I have arm muscle now. I can eat to my hearts content and have a big, curvy body that is sexy.

Do I regret coming out about having an eating disorder? NO!

Do I regret sharing photoshoots that show myself at a low weight?  NO!

Why?  Because I am proud to help others who are also suffering from anorexia and bulimia and I am not afraid to show how recovery looks like, the good, the bad and the scary.

I am so happy that my body is growing to whatever size God made it to be. Let it grow baby!!

How am I preparing for NYC? Eating to my hearts content and letting go of all fears that used to consume me!

We are all already perfectly made!

Let the journey continue!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

My Reality of Recovering from Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia: A Happy Life

When I entered into recovery in 2010, I was in for the shock of my life. I was blindly going where I had never been before and I was accepting all of the bells and whistles that were to come.

Fast forward four years later and here we have January 2014. Where am I now in recovery? I am very grateful to say that God has seen me through some (for lack of better words) hell-hole days, weeks, and years, and He has Blessed me with pot holes of light that have kept me going. I have had months of steady recovery and then BAM!, I have fallen into relapse so fast that I thought I wouldn’t make it out alive.

*I have seen my body go up and down and up and down and I have felt myself have the emotional capacity many times of a 5 year old.

*I have had to re-learn to eat and have had to learn pretty much the library on nutrition and how to apply it to my daily eating habits.

*I have had some MAJOR physical side effects as a result of hurting my body for 20 years, and have had to accept and take care of myself in a whole new light, and not complain.

*I have had to relearn how to percieve myself and how to relate to the world and to others.

*I threw out the scale. I do not know how much I weigh, nor do I care! I am a firm believer that my worth and value are not rooted in my weight, size, or physical appearance. I believe it is the inner person that is important and this is what I have been working on.

*I have been working with the National Eating Disorders Association for the past year and I am so grateful to God that on March 8, 2014, we will be holding our Los Angeles Walk in Santa Monica, California. NEDA formed the Artist Initiative Team and they asked me to captain it for LA! The Initiative is for people working in the entertainment and artisitc industries who want to stand up for divirsity and fight against eating disorders. I am very honored and proud to be apart of this developing program with NEDA!

If I could tell my 8 year old self to never lean over the toilet again, I would scream as loud as I could, “STOP!”

Please do not ever ever hurt yourself! There is SO much more to life than ourselves, and our weight, and what we look like. We can think beyond ourselves and help other people who are hurting, for starters. Addicitons are so self-centered, and once they start, they are almost impossible to stop.

Now I just eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full. If I feel like I ate too much, oh well! It is just a feeling, and like everything with time, that feeling will go away. I don’t need to do some crazy hurtful thing to myself. It is just nuts. My body deserves so much love and delicious, healthy food is love. I work out, but I do not over exercise. I just focus on living a healthy lifestyle. I focus on health, and not on a size or a shape. I want to be happy! Don’t you?

Leading the Way: NEDA Artist Initiative Team

“Hello, gorgeous people, my name is Nikki. I am a model, host, commercial actress, writer, believer and dreamer. I am an advocate for NEDA, and sponsor those in eating disorder recovery because I am a survivor of a seventeen year battle with bulimia and anorexia. At the height of my modeling career, I was known for my beautiful curves; however in Europe as my battle with anorexia overcame me, I became known for my bones. Recovery for me has been filled with years of ups and downs but I decided from day one to never give up. I was fighting for my life and striving to be a role model for everyone suffering silently in the modeling industry and beyond. I am forever grateful to be free of addiction and pain, however I know that it is only because of my God, and by helping others every day with my story. Now, if I get back into the modeling business, I am calling the shots! I don’t care how much I weigh, and I refuse to surround myself with a team who would ever try to make me lose weight. I believe that our value comes from who we are on the inside and this is the message I want to leave behind for generations to come!”

Read more on NEDA.