We recently got to ask Nikki DuBose – A former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate a few questions.
Here’s what we got to talk about.
1) Do you have any advice for young teens and young adults battling with an eating disorder who want to get better and start their road to recovery but don’t know where to begin or don’t think they’re strong enough to make that commitment of an everyday fight to recover and start the healing process?
Author Nikki DuBose of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light was recently interviewed on addiction and recovery. Here she offers a recap on everything from when her addiction began to how to help a loved one who may be suffering.
1. Can you pinpoint when your problems with addiction began?
I was wired for addiction – my mother had bipolar and dissociative identity disorder and her mother (she was adopted) died from cirrhosis of the liver as a result of alcoholism.
I had no idea what to expect going into this book. I never thought I’d finish the thing in just a few days and feel so utterly connected to someone I’d never met. Knowing Nikki’s story has reminded me why I started to write about mental illness online, even though it often leaves me feeling vulnerable to expose myself to the world.
Washed Away: From Darkness to Light reflects a story of recovery and determination. Dubose allows us not only into her world, but similarly, into her thoughts, feelings, and emotions. She opens up about important conversations surrounding mental illness and the modeling industry that teaches a standard of “beauty” that is not always healthy and realistic. The memoir provides honest reflection as we see the stages of childhood, adolescence, adulthood and what Dubose takes away from each stage of her own life.
If you are looking for a story about a remarkable human being, with perseverance and resilience, who describes her horrifying and haunting life story with candor and courage, than I highly recommend Washed Away: From Darkness To Light, a memoir by Nikki DuBose with James Johanson. It is definitely not a light read – so be forewarned now. Washed Away is emotionally wrenching, compelling and brutally honest, truly providing insight into the mind of someone with mental illness and allowing the reader to understand her deepest and darkest thoughts.
The same goes for this book. It shows the hard truth about mental illness, and sometimes that truth is hard to hear. So even though I never experienced abuse, drugs, or alcoholism, I recognized the truth in Nikki’s words. Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is an absolutely amazing book for many reasons, but one of the things I loved was that it didn’t shy away from the tough topics, showed the thought process that I have very rarely read in other books focused around mental health stories, and I thought the ending was absolutely perfect. You turn the page, asking where’s the rest, and it brought a smile to my face when I realized the book ended.
Nikki DuBose is a former model turned author who is nothing short of a superhero. Nikki released her memoir Washed Away: From Darkness to Light in September of 2016 in which she reveals her journey to self-care. As an advocate for mental health, Nikki is a Celebrity Ambassador for The Shaw Mind Foundation, and has worked with assembly members such as Marc Levine on addressing the need for updated workplace protections within the modeling industry.
We had the opportunity to speak with Nikki about some of the work she has been doing, her journey to get there, and what is next to come.
Nikki Dubose says she won’t give up on her fight make kids safer.
The 31-year-old model-turned-activist has already made a name for herself by speaking up about sexual assault. Now, though, she’s taking the platform she’s built and using it to try and change laws to protect children from sexual violence.
“In New York, they have the worst laws in the entire nation as far as protecting children from sexual abuse,” DuBose told A Plus. “There is only a five-year window after you’re 18 years old that someone can report what has happened to them.”
REDMOND, Ore., Jan. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Eating Disorder Hope is honored to announce the Winter 2017 recipients of its respected Seal of Excellence. These recipients embody Eating Disorder Hope’s message of hope and healing while contributing to the eating disorder community in unique and invaluable ways.
Through the Seal of Excellence initiative, Eating Disorder Hope proudly honors deserving parties from three categories each quarter, including Non-Profit Organizations, Eating Disorder Professionals, and Community Members. This interactive initiative relies on community participation through an anonymous online nomination process.
“We have to keep the pressure on,” said former model Nikki DuBose, who was sexually abused as a child. “I think we really have to strategize so we can keep creating a lot of momentum to see that the bill gets passed. Fortunately we have the governor’s support. I think what he is doing is very brave and courageous.”
Model, and actress turned author Nikki DuBose urges passage of the Child Victims Act outside the Senate Parlor as the 2017 session of the NYS Legislature begins Wednesday Jan. 4, 2017 in Albany, NY. Read more at Times Union.
“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.”
Outskirts Press, the #1-rated self-publishing company according to Top Consumer Reviews, has announced the highest selling authors for October 2016.
With the help of Outskirts Press and the many options it offers to assist authors in the successful publishing and marketing of their books, these authors have sold almost 3,000 books in the month of October alone.
I sense so much hope from this woman and her life’s message. To read about what she’s been through and how she is starting to rebuild a happy life for herself is inspiring.
Nikki was a fashion model who landed the cover of coveted magazines such as Maxim and Vogue in the peak of her career. While from the outside her photos portray a woman living the life many people dream of, beneath the surface she was dealing with severe depression, sexual abuse, anorexia, alcohol and drug abuse and much more.”
“Nikki DuBose’s eating disorder that began in childhood was exacerbated by her high-profile modeling career, but the tragic death of her mother sparked a life transformation. She quit the modeling industry and has since served as a driving force behind proposed legislation to ban underweight models and regulate the industry in California. DuBose is telling this powerful story in her new memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, which was released on Aug. 25.”
‘”The director of my agency…was in his…mid-fifties, and I was in my early twenties. It was very clear that if I slept with him…I would book more jobs, and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t work. I felt like, I felt like a whore.’ – Nikki DuBose
Former model turned author and activist, Nikki DuBose describes how she felt pressured to sleep with the director of her high profile agency to book prominent campaigns and magazines in the book trailer for her newly released, raw and inspiring memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light.”
“Dear Secretary Perez,
More than 27 million women shared their experiences of sexual assault, tweeting in the wake of Donald Trump’s ‘locker room talk.’ The #NotOkay movement, initiated by social media maven Kelly Oxford, has crystallized around women’s stories of sexual violence.”
“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.”
“Nikki DuBose, board member of Matthew Sandusky’s Peaceful Hearts Foundation wrote on Huffington Post: “Regardless of whether or not Gafni was ever charged with a crime, or in spite of the statutes of limitations, we are obligated as a society to support victims of child sexual abuse and give them a voice.”
“My modeling career was anything but typical. I wasn’t plucked out of a mall or grocery store; I wasn’t even discovered. I didn’t just ‘fall’ into the industry by chance, either, although I was a serious nerd who never thought she belonged with the fashion industry’s elite. I pushed my way into the business, desperate for love and acceptance, because quite frankly, I didn’t receive a lot of it at home. When I did start modeling as a teen and later in my early twenties, it wasn’t ‘exciting,’ although I often fantasized that I was a glamorous supermodel because it lifted my low self-esteem. At some point, I did reach a pretty high level in my career, and I paid a high price for it, as I talk about in my soon-to-be-released memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light. I was more familiar with abuse, poor body image, and distorted ideals of love than confidence and beauty, which all pushed me to look for acceptance in places where I could never find it. The modeling industry was one of those places, and it proved to be an illusionary world, one where I felt that I had to remain high, drunk, or starved in order to exist in it.”
“Nikki Dubose is an amazing young woman who is actively involved in helping others to live the life they are meant to live. Listen to share her story of her past and her journey to healing and thriving in life.”
“Stolen pay. Sexual harassment. Months without a paycheck. Outrageous fees and expenses that eat away at earnings. And no one to turn to for help.
Models allege that labor abuses like these run rampant in the modeling industry — leaving many workers feeling more like indentured servants than the glamorous high fashion icons young girls around the world dream of becoming.”
“Unfortunately, eating disorders are common in the modeling world. These former models, all of whom have suffered eating disorders, are speaking out about their experiences in the appearance-focused industry-and revealing how they eventually recovered from its effects and gained body confidence.”
“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.’
“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.”
“Nikki DuBose’s time in the modeling industry was anything but positive.
‘I experienced everything negative that you could imagine in the modeling industry,’ the former model, 31, tells PEOPLE. ‘I was raped in the modeling industry. I was sexually harassed. I had eating disorders which were exacerbated by the modeling industry, and I was pressured by the director of my agency about sleeping with him, and all of these things really triggered my mental health condition.'”
“Fashion Model Nikki Dubose had a secret. 40% of all fashion models have an eating disorder and she was one of them. She did everything she could to meet the impossible standards set by the fashion/modeling industry and paid the price with her health. She got out to save her life and has been an advocate for change ever since.”
“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.”
“Nikki Dubose, una ex modelo que ha manifestado su apoyo a este proyecto de ley, ha comentado en un comunicado oficial lo siguiente: ‘como ex modelo y superviviente de un grave desorden alimenticio, sé que este tipo de legislación se necesita de forma crítica.'”
“The evidence of eating disorders in the modelling industry is alarming,” Levine said, while former model-turned-advocate Nikki DuBose supported the legislation with a statement, asserting: ‘As a former fashion model and an eating-disorder survivor, I know that this legislation is critically needed.'”
The Duchess of Windsor once said, ‘you can never be too rich or too thin.’ But a Bay Area lawmaker believes she is wrong–at least on one account–and has proposed a ban on models who look ‘too thin’ on the runway.
In fact, San Rafael Assemblyman Marc Levine wants to ban anorexic models on the catwalk altogether. He has introduced AB2539, which takes its cue from a similar laws already on the books in France, Italy and Spain. The hope is that models will stop starving themselves to get work, and women and girls will stop starving themselves to look like models.
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 email@example.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. 😉
“This is part of a series featuring individuals who share their life experiences with mental health issues. Recently, I asked writer and mental health advocate Nikki DuBose about her history of mental health issues and her current advocacy work.”