Plaid for Women – From Darkness to Light: A Journey from Mental Illness & Abuse to Finding My Voice

You had a very rough start in life. Tell us about your childhood.

I grew up in a violent, dysfunctional family, however, hardly anyone knew that because I went to a private Christian school and we lived in a nice house. My parents divorced when I was two and my mom remarried to a much older man who kind of swept her off her feet.

Starting at four, I was subjected to physical abuse and then at 8, sexual abuse by a male figure. I developed binge eating disorder as a way to cope with the trauma, and later Body Dysmorphic Disoder and bulimia, which lasted for over fifteen years. My mom sexually abused me from the ages of 9 to 13 until the police removed me from my house. I suppressed those memories until my late twenties.

Read the full interview at Plaid for Women.

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!

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.

Interview with Nikki DuBose on Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Eating Disorders and Recovery

Kimberley Quinlan, LMFT interviews Nikki DuBose on her recovery from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Binge-Eating Disorder and Bulimia Nervosa. Nikki DuBose is a former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate. Her debut memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, speaks about her experience with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Binge-Eating Disorder, Bulimia Nervosa, Schizophrenia and child abuse.

 

The Mental Illness Happy Hour

Glamorously Dying: Ex-Model Nikki DuBose

The 31 year-old ex-model (Vogue, Vanity Fair) discusses surviving incest by her mother (who was also an alcoholic with BiPolar and DID aka Multiple Personality Disorder) and a lifetime of battling eating disorders (binging, bulimia, anorexia), depression, anxiety, psychosis, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, alcoholism and drug and sex addiction. She reflects on the physical and emotional bottom that finally made her walk away from modeling and seek help, ironically as her emaciated body was more desirable than ever in the industry.

Listen to the podcast here.

Reader’s Favorite Review for Washed Away

“Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, a memoir written by Nikki Dubose with James Johanson, is a series of dark memories of her dysfunctional family life, and the misery caused by addictions and abuse. Nikki Dubose recounts the tragic story of her life, dealing with severe eating disorders and mental challenges. Her sad story reveals a less-than-glamorous look at the world of modelling. While she is not casting aspersions on the high class world of models, she does reveal how physical and mental issues can greatly affect the choices one makes. As family and friendships come and go, and people accept then reject her, she finally grasps an opportunity to turn from her ugly duckling persona in order to become a beautiful cleansed swan – metaphorically speaking.”

Read more on Reader’s Favorite.

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.

The Exclusive Book Launch Event Has Been Postponed!

Book Launch _Nikki DuBose Shannon Kopp

 

Hang Tight! The Book Launch of the Year is coming soon! Date: TBA

We can’t wait to have you as we celebrate the launch of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light (by Nikki DuBose), and the paperback release of Pound for Pound: A Story of One Woman’s Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life (by Shannon Kopp).

When: TBA

What: Appetizers, Refreshments, Book Launch!

Where: Montecatini Outpatient Office – 6183 Paseo Del Norte, Suite 110 – Carlsbad, CA 92011

RSVP: shannon.gusy@gmail.com

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, 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 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.

Cast into a world of excess, superficiality, and vanity, Nikki traveled the globe and experienced the finest that the material world had to offer, all while feeling empty inside. Her disorders, addictions and mental health issues took her to the brink of mortality and only though a deeply painful inner-battle and her mother’s death was she able to reconnect the lost pieces of her soul and see the person she had so long rejected.

Her recovery from a nearly lifelong struggle with PTSD, psychosis, addictions and eating disorders has left Nikki with a passionate longing to help others who are also suffering by advocating for mental health and self-acceptance. In America, more than sixty-one million individuals are affected by mental illness. Child sexual abuse affects more than forty-five million people in the United States alone, yet it is still regarded as one of the most shameful issues to date. Eating disorders affect millions and are one of the most destructive and life-threatening mental afflictions today – anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychological illness. Despite the extent of the suffering, eating disorders and mental health issues are poorly understood in popular culture and are often stigmatized, mocked, or even glorified because of misconceptions and ignorance over the seriousness of the manner. Although the modeling industry has made strides towards body diversity in the past couple of years, there is a lack of education and awareness surrounding eating disorders and other mental health issues. We believe that through the recent societal trends and improved sharing of information, we are beginning to break this paradigm, therefore another aim of this book will be to educate the public. Washed Away: From Darkness to Light will serve 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. (nikkidubose.com)

Pound for Pound is an inspirational tale about one woman’s journey back to herself, and a heartfelt homage to the four-legged heroes who unexpectedly saved her life.

For seven years, Shannon Kopp battled the silent, horrific, and all-too-common disease of bulimia. Then, at twenty-four, she got a job working at the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, where in caring for shelter dogs, she found the inspiration to heal and the courage to forgive herself. With the help of some extraordinary, homeless animals, Shannon realized that her suffering was the birthplace of something beautiful. Compassion.

Shannon’s poignant memoir is a story of hope, resilience, and the spiritual healing animals bring to our lives. Pound for Pound vividly reminds us that animals are more than just friends and companions-they can teach us how to savor the present moment and reclaim our joy. Rich with emotion and inspiration, Pound for Pound is essential reading for animal lovers and anyone who has struggled to change. (www.shannonkopp.com)

VLOG 10: Eating Disorders & Identity Part III

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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Identity – Eating Disorder Hope

“Disordered behaviors and addictions might start out as seemingly insignificant attempts to reach out for comfort, but they eventually can take over our lives. When I was eight years old I began to binge eat as a way to cope with being physically, sexually and emotionally abused — that led to a more than seventeen-year battle with all sorts of addictions.

I didn’t know how to deal with my feelings and I also didn’t know who I was – I grabbed onto to destructive behaviors during the most influential period of my development.”

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

 

Speak2Heal Episode 7: Eating Disorders & Ambivalence

Ever feel like you are stuck in an unhealthy relationship with someone or something but you just can’t seem to get out of it for some reason or another? On today’s episode I talk to returning guest, Adrianna Robles, about this very topic. Adrianna is a graduate from Purdue University and currently works for an HR Software company in downtown Chicago. Her passions are writing, volunteering for organizations like the National Eating Disorders Association and speaking about eating disorders at places like Mental Health America in Lafayette, Indiana.

Connect with Adrianna on Facebook:

Visit here to find out how you can get involved with NEDAwareness Week.

I love these books on mindfulness:

  1. Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food by Jan Chozen Bays, MD
  2. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

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

Supporting Others in Recovery from Bulimia Through a Mentoring Program

“If it weren’t for the continuous support of my online mentor, Monica, I’d probably be dead. After seventeen years of binge eating, bulimia and anorexia, I’d blown through all the money I had made as a successful fashion model. For most of my adult life I didn’t have insurance, and receiving care at a treatment center appeared to be out of the question. When my anorexia and bulimia were at their worst, I was afraid to continue showing my face in twelve-step meetings, so I sought help online.

 

Online. I felt hopeless – could this possibly work? I prayed as I spilled out my soul in the message to a Christian group and hit the “send” button, and surprisingly, within a few hours, I had a response. Not only was Monica understanding, but her words were infused with love and confidence. She had faith in my recovery, no questions asked.”

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

“When Abuse, Eating Disorders & Sibling Rivalry Collide — Stop Comparing and Love Yourself”

“I love my brother. He’s twenty-four and I’m thirty. We’ve been through so much together during our relationship; through Mom’s alcoholism and eventual death, my seventeen-year eating disorder and the physical, sexual and emotional abuse I received as a child. We’ve just been through it. Our bond has been strengthened by the pain and nothing can ever replace the love that we share.

I’ll never forget the first moment when Mom placed him in my arms in the delivery room. He was wrinkled, red and so fragile. I thought if I blinked too hard he would shatter into a million pieces. Time ceased to exist as I studied every tiny finger and toe. And his eyes, his beautiful, big brown eyes – I was hypnotized.”

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

My Survivor Story of Childhood Sexual Abuse — Peaceful Hearts Foundation

“I grew up in charming Charleston, South Carolina in the eighties and nineties. Its beautiful cobblestone streets were lined with gorgeous gardens and mansions that dated back well before the Civil War. At first glance, one would have not suspected that anything bad could have happened behind the wrought-iron gates and pastel-colored walls of the grand estates. But like all homes, each one holds a story, and ours was no different.

After the divorce, Momma and I moved into a modest, one-story home on a quiet street shaded by Spanish Moss trees. It was no mansion, but it was our dream, an escape into another world. I was only two, and Momma was nineteen, and more than she desired love, she wanted security. She soon found it in the arms of an older man who promised to love and protect us. Our home quickly expanded, and the idea of a ‘family’ was no longer a fantasy, it was real.”

Read more on Peaceful Hearts Foundation.

My Story of Childhood Sexual Abuse with Peaceful Hearts Foundation

If you or someone you know is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, please visit Peaceful Hearts Foundation.

 

8 Ways Your Struggle Brings Gifts

8 Ways Your Struggle Brings Gifts

  • They make us stronger. That’s right — after recovering from a lifetime of abuse, eating disorders, drug addiction and alcoholism, one thing is for certain, I am a stronger person. I don’t see my former addictions and mental health issues as a downside, rather as things that have made me more powerful, able to tackle anything life brings my way.
  • They help shape our character. Of course we are all born with character, but I believe that my struggles have sharpened mine. With every challenge we face, our character is being built, so we can choose to see troubles as a blessing.”

Read more on Recovery Warriors.

 

Seven Ways to Have a Better Body Image

“Perception of the body is something everyone shares, whether positive or negative. Body image can be shaped by a variety of complex factors including genetics, environment and the media.

Negative body image is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone, at some point in their lifetime, experiences a poor picture of themselves, whether it be mental or physical. The important thing to remember is that you are never alone and reaching out for help is a critical step in building a healthy self image.

Here are seven ways to clear away the dust and reconstruct a better body image.” 

Read more on Recovery Warriors.

 

Peanut Butter Power Bars

You will need:

1.5 cups rolled oats, blended into a fine flour
1/2 cup rice crisp cereal
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

 

To make:

Line an 8″ square pan with parchment paper. Blend together the oat flour, rice crisp, and salt in a large bowl.

Add the peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir well. Press into pan and roll until smooth. Place into the freezer.

Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a pot over low heat, stirring until smooth.

After freezing the mixture for about ten minutes, remove from the freezer and slice into bars. Drizzle with the melted chocolate and refreeze. These can be stored in the freezer up to a week or longer in a container.

Remember to eat mindfully 🙂

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

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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-

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.

 

Berry Breakfast Pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza for breakfast? I made two different versions, here is the first one!
This recipe is great for anytime of the day 🙂

You will need:

1 pizza crust, like Udi’s

2 tbs butter

4 tbs cinnamon sugar mix (see below)

1 1/2 cups yogurt blend (see below)

1 tbs heavy cream

2 tbs of lemon juice

1 cup of strawberries

1 cup of blackberries

Cinnamon-Sugar: Mix 4 tbs of alternative sugar or organic turbninado raw cane sugar with equal parts cinnamon in a small bowl.

Yogurt Blend: Mix 1 1/2 cups of yogurt with 1 tbs heavy cream and 2 tbs of lemon juice.

 

To make: 

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the pizza crust on parchment paper and place on a tray. Spread the butter over the crust and then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar on top. Bake in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes until it is golden brown, then let it cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, heavy cream, and lemon. Spread it over the crust and top it with the berries and cinnamon-sugar once more. Eat like a pizza, and remember, mindfulness!

 

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

 

 

 

Berry Breakfast Pizza

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.

 

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?”

 

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.

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

The Golden Letter

The Golden Letter to My Mind_Nikki_DuBose_Poetry_2015

Late one winter’s eve

as the wind mocked and moaned

I uncovered a golden letter

and here is what it read:

‘O, Frankly my mind

I am no respecter of your thoughts

No longer your slave

A prisoner of your delusions

I am not.

You wail in the night

singing for my soul,

and whisper quietly in the stills of the day

concealing your intentions

But I,

I am free

Frankly my mind

I am me.’

©2015 Nikki DuBose

Nutella Hot Chocolate

Nikki_DuBose_Recovery_Recipes_Nutella_Hot_Chocolate

Need I really say more? Nutella hot chocolate. I think the name pretty much speaks for itself. This spin on the classic hot chocolate is incredible when paired with warm croissants.

You will need: 

1 cup of milk

1/2 cup of half and half or heavy cream

1/3 cup of Nutella

Whipped cream to top

To make: 

Mix the milk, cream and nutella together in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Whisk until everything is smooth and has a creamy consistency. Be careful to not burn the milk. Pour into mugs, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with dark chocolate cocoa if desired.

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

 

 

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

Apple of my Eye

Mountain Rose Apple
Mountain Rose Apple

 Our authentic beauty comes from within. Sounds cliche, right? Oh, but how true it is.
Just like this rare Mountain Rose apple grown in the Mountain Hood River Valley of Oregon, we never know what we have to offer until we cut beneath the surface. If we take the time to meditate on the inner beauty in others too, we can form longstanding, rewarding friendships and relationships that otherwise might have been missed.

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

“When Walking Away…Leads to Recovery”

“Somewhere in our online travels, we met Nikki Dubose, who is currently writing, volunteering and advocating for this world to be a better place by promoting a healthy relationship with food and our bodies. We read her story, of once being a thriving actress and international model who walked away from her career so she could recover from an eating disorder. It got us thinking of just how many of you have already made this kind of choice, or are on the cusp of needing to do so.”

Read more on The Be Program.

 

 

Raw Reflections of Self Esteem From a Thirteen Year Old

*Note: B.E.A.U.T.Y is meant to serve as a tool to release feelings and to build confidence in an otherwise damaged society. Our perception of beauty today has been lost and many times we feel ugly inside, instead of the perfectly created souls we are. The content submitted is raw and unedited, as every individual has the right to express their perceptions that have led them to where they are today.  The sole intended purpose of B.E.A.U.T.Y and all content therein is to bring healing and the message that full recovery from all eating disorders, mental health issues, abuse, and negative situations is possible.

When we hear the word “self-image,” what comes to mind? The mental pictures we form about our identities may be a reflection of  the positive and negative experiences we have encountered over a lifetime. Sometimes the manners by which we perceive ourselves is consistent, while other times we are capable of changing our mirror formations radically in the blink of an eye. Whatever the case may be, our self-image is critical in how we interact with ourselves and the world around us. Our image is a mere representation of what we show to outsiders; are we giving a correct portrayl of who we are to those around us? Are we honest in our spirits first, and letting that flow to our physical image?  So often in life we wear many masks to various associations and crowds of people; we desire our image to be one thing to one group, and another thing to another. The problem with this is that we can never be anyone but our true selves, and if we don’t know who we really are, we will never live fulfilled. We musn’t live life for others because truly no one is going to be approving of us all of the time. We must connect with a self-image that is peaceful and content at our core, and be satisfied with the image that is projected for all of the universe to see.

How and What I feel about Image

by Jacaila, age 13

 Image to me is a bunch of crap society makes up to make us feel bad. I mean I didn’t receive proper care when I was five years old! Don’t get me wrong, I care about image too. Whenever I think I look good, somebody always has to tell me I look horrible. It brings my self esteem to an all time low. I’ve always tried to figure out how girls can be “ana” or “mia.” I tried to be like that once but food is just too good! When I say, “I tried,” I meant it. I purged and starved myself, tried diet pills without eating anything after words. In fifth grade things were changing for me, just because of someone’s opinion of me. The boy called my “ugly.” It took me awhile but in my mind I thought he was right. Every time I looked in the mirror, all I saw was ugliness. My whole attitude changed, grades slipped and relationships slowly disappeared. In sixth grade, self-harm played its way into my life. I couldn’t stop, therapy wasn’t helping at all and life wasn’t getting better. So I feel that self esteem, image and what we think about it is restricting us from thinking better about ourselves. In conclusion, image is just society’s way of keeping us down.

*Jacaila is now fourteen years old, and has a more positive view of herself through working recovery.

B.E.A.U.T.Y is in Your Heart by Emma

This precious drawing comes to us from my sweet and talented neighbor Emma. She explains that this cat sees life in a very different way than most of the other cats in her world, for although her body iB.E.A.U.T.Y_Project_beauty_is_in_your_heart_Emmas filled with scars and bruises, she has a kind and gentle soul. Many of the other cats cannot see past her outward appearance, and fail to be her friend. She doesn’t let life get her down though, for she knows that her in
ner beauty shines and defeats all of the negative attitudes that the other cats have. Her positive attitude builds a world where love is all she sees, and therefore, she can never be sad or lonely.

Thank you Emma, for your endless light and love for the world.

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

 

Chia Seed Banana Bread! :D

There’s nothing like warm, fresh bread out of the oven! This bread is special because it combines organic whole wheat, bananas, and chia seeds which fill your tummy and make your heart happy. 🙂 And the smell…come on now, who doesn’t love the enticing smell of freshly baked bread in the oven? You know when I was a little girl my mom made all of the breads homemade, so I try to carry that tradition on as often as I can.  I can’t always make the bread at home, but when I can, I am transported to holiday times with my mom, peering over the counter and watching her make the most delicious whole wheat and pumpernickel breads from scratch.  I think that the memories and habits we carry through from generation to generation are so special, and I hope you enjoy this delightful Chia Seed Banana Bread as much as I did.

God Bless,

<3 Nikki DuBose

You will need:

3 TBS melted unsalted butter, plus some extra for softening the pan

3 bananas

1 egg

3/4 cup stevia/monk fruit equiv.

2 cups organic whole wheat flour

1 TSP baking soda

1 TSP baking powder

2 TBS chia seeds

10″ x 3″ round pan or 5″ by 9″ loaf pan

To make: 

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Use some of the butter to slick the pan and set aside. Peel the bananas, mash them well in a large mixing bowl, and then stir in the stevia/monk fruit and egg. Mix completely and then add the melted butter. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and chia seeds. Gently combine the dry ingredients into the wet and blend well but do not over-mix.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for forty-five minutes. You will know it is done when a toothpick is placed in the middle and comes out clean. The bread should be golden brown, and the sides should fold away from the pan easily without breaking.

Let the bread cool in the pan for at least five minutes before removing.

Relax and remember to enjoy your creation! Eating mindfully is the key to a healthy and happy mind, body, and spirit. 🙂

Chia_Seed_Banana_Bread_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?

Pineapple Pancakes

These are the ultimate treat for me!  Pancakes are something that terrified me for years because of my struggles.  I am grateful for eating pancakes as it is a marker of overcoming and letting go.

This recipe uses two kinds of flour: almond and organic whole wheat.  I like to combine the two because it gives the pancakes a more consistent feeling rather than a cakey turnout.

I hope you enjoy my pineapple pancakes!

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

You will need: 

1 cup of almond meal/flour

1 cup of organic whole wheat flour

2 TBS stevia/monk fruit/agave/organic raw cane sugar

1 TBS baking powder

1/4 TSP baking soda

2 eggs, beaten

1 can of freshly crushed pineapple (I bought a package of fresh pineapple and crushed them myself)

3/4 cup of coconut almond milk

1/4 cup of canola oil

Light whip cream and sugar-free caramel syrup to top (or top with apple butter)

To make: 

In a large mixing bowl combine the almond and whole wheat flour together. Next, add the stevia, baking powder, and baking soda. In a separate medium bowl mix well the eggs, freshly crushed pineapple, almond milk, and canola oil.  Now pour the pineapple mixture in with the flour, and stir until everything is slightly lumpy, but smooth.

Place a pancake skillet or pan on the stove and raise the heat to about medium.  Cook about 1/4 of a cup of batter at a time, and let it sit for about three minutes on each side, turning when the bubbles form and the edges start to dry. The pancake should be golden and crispy on each side…but if you “mess up”…don’t worry, it’s all about progress, not perfection right?

Serve immediately and place a dollop of light whip cream on top. Pour  caramel syrup over the top (I got mine from Starbucks!), or get more creative and make your own delicious sauce 🙂

 

 

 

B.E.A.U.T.Y Art Project “Whole”

Sometimes we become broken into a million pieces inside as a result of the things that happen to us along life’s way.

God has promised in His Word to give us, “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3). IMG_20140711_124757No matter what we have been through or will go through, we can be happy and confident because God will make us whole and complete.

Thank you to Susie Fernandez and her wonderful art students in Long Beach, California for this joyful creation!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y Art Project “Insecurities”

BeautybySusieF2Here is another art piece by Susie Fernandez and her creative art students from Long Beach, California.

The theme of the picture is, “You are more than your insecurities.”
Do you ever feel as if all you can focus on is the things you don’t like about yourself? How about redirecting that energy and focus on the things you love about yourself?! Did you know you are made for greatness? You really and truly are!

We all have insecurities, but they do not define who we are. In fact, the things that make us different are also what make us extra special 🙂

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Gaining

The Hope Diary: Gaining

July 9, 2014

You can’t paint over pain.

Gaining weight in recovery from anorexia and bulimia has been hell. There’s no ice cream-caked way to sugar coat the horrendous feelings that have surfaced once I actually started to put down my addiction, and picked up life again. Not numbing myself with food, drugs, or alcohol left me stone-cold naked and faced with thoughts and emotions that I had buried years and years ago; and many that I did not even know existed.

The sexual abuse began in my childhood and resurfaced in the modeling business. I used food, and later drugs and alcohol, to forget the experiences and dull the nightmares that I was having of being used for my body and thrown away like yesterday’s trash. I lost my identity over the course of my life, and between all of the mental problems with my mother, I often considered suicide. I began to see myself like a monster in my teenage years, and I felt like my eating disorder was my best friend, and the only thing I had to live for. Sometimes when life was really low, I found myself debating between only the eating disorder or killing myself. I truly thought that I was so low, so degraded, that I had nothing to live for. I had been so shamed in my body since my childhood, that I had come to view myself as an object, which is what others had treated me as.

Gaining weight in recovery has given me my strength back physically, mentally and emotionally, and it has enabled me to deal with the underlying pain underneath the eating disorder. When I was first sexually abused at the age of eight, I began to overeat to try to bury the shameful feelings that I had. Therefore, as an adult in recovery, at twenty-nine years old, I am working every day to value and love myself at a healthy weight, and not feel ashamed of the person that I am. There is a mental and emotional reflection I guess you could say that stares back at me sometimes, even without a mirror, and that is because of the tremendously damaged little girl and adult girl from the modeling industry that really got hurt from the constant abuse.

Gaining weight is my “sharpened Savior” in a sense, because it is a necessary tool that has been molding me into the true person that I really am, and need to be in order to face all of the monsters from my past, and the ones that will inevitably reoccur. Knowing that God is with me throughout everything is my hope and comfort.

Don’t give up. Wherever you are at in recovery, embrace it. You are strong. You can do this. I know you can. I believe in you.

God Bless,

 

B.E.A.U.T.Y Art Project by Susie

Beauty by SusieThis inspiring art work comes from Susie Fernandez and her talented art students in Long Beach, California.

We can change the negative voices in our heads from “I’m not smart enough” to “I’m smart,” and “I’m ugly” to “I’m pretty,” and “I’m amazing!”  We can program our minds to think beautiful thoughts about ourselves, and soon, we will begin to believe the positive thoughts. What we believe, we act upon, and we spread the love to others.

What negative thoughts are you having about yourself, and what phrases can you meditate on that will produce a positive change?

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y Art Project “Shine”

DuBose.Nikki.BeautyProject.Shine“All of the stars twinkle for you. This world needs your beauty! You shine so bright!”

I hope you never go another moment wondering if you are special.  Look up at the stars in the sky at night and know that God made them for you.  The stars shine for you to soak in and meditate on.

Did you know that you were born to do great things in this life, and burst with your inner beauty just like the stars?

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

B.E.A.U.T.Y Art Project “You Are Amazing”

 

“All of my love coming your way. Just want to say, you’re amazing!”♥♥♥♥

We can change the course of another’s life simply DuBose.Nikki.BeautyProject.Amazingby spreading love and kindness. What can you today to spread love to others?

God Bless,
Nikki DuBos