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

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

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

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

Nikki DuBose

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

 

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

See Jeremiah 29:11.

God Bless,

Nikki

Dutch Grazia Interview June 2016

Voor schut
“Ik begon mijn modellencarrière op mijn vijftiende. Ik was zo blij. Het poseren en de creatieve kant van de mode-industrie vond ik geweldig. Jong als ik was, had ik nog geen flauw benul hoe het er in de modewereld echt aan toe gaat. Mijn eerste knauw kreeg ik toen mijn coach me tijdens een catwalktraining voor schut zette. Waar alle andere meisjes bij waren, trok ze ineens mijn shirt omhoog. Ze tikte op mijn buik en bitchte: ‘Jouw buik moet er net zo strak uitzien als die van de andere meiden. Ga naar huis om te trainen!’ Dat was de eerste openlijke aanval op mijn uiterlijk, iets wat in de modellenindustrie heel vaak voorkomt. De psychologische spelletjes die worden gespeeld, kunnen enorme psychische schade toebrengen. ”

Read more on Grazia.

 

Update on AB 2539

To the people,

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

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

Sincerely,
Nikki DuBose Bio Signatures

 

 

Nikki DuBose

Author, Speaker, Mental Health Advocate

Executive Board Member
Project HEAL SoCal Chapter
Peaceful Hearts Foundation

VLOG Episode 6: Models, Financial Exploitation & Eating Disorders

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

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

Read more on The Model Alliance.

The News & Observer – Fashion models back California bill to fight eating disorders, sexism

“Levine and backers argued that his bill would help young women who absorb unhealthy body image expectations from advertising. Former model Nikki DuBose relayed her struggles with eating disorders and referenced research in which around half of the girls surveyed said they felt moved to lose weight by magazine images.”

Read more on The News&Observer.

 

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

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

Read more on Recovery Warriors.

How You Can Get Involved with AB 2539

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

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

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

Nikki DuBose Letter of Support Bill AB 2539 Mar 10 2016

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

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

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

 

 

India Times

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

Read more on India Times.

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

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

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

Read more on Proud2bme.

 

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.

 

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

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

Read more on The Fashion Law.

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

Read the press release here.

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

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose