New York Daily News: Boston lawyer who helped uncover Catholic church’s child sex scandal applauds Cuomo’s reform plans for New York victims

“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.”

Read more on: New York Daily News.

PsychCentral: Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse is Society’s Responsibility

We have a huge problem in this country when it comes to protecting children from sexual abuse, and that’s denial. As an Executive Board member of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, a child sexual abuse nonprofit, one of the most common issues I come across when a survivor discloses their abuse is denial – from family members, teachers, friends – the list goes on. Myself, a survivor of incest from my late mother from the ages of 9 to 13, and a male figure at the age of 8, I know what it’s like to finally come to terms with the abuse and entrust others with the information, only to have them deny that it ever could have happened. The psychological effects were beyond damaging; I questioned my own sanity, the trauma, and attempted suicide. After all, if no one believed that such heinous acts had occurred, what reasons did I have to go on living? Child sexual abuse left me scarred with depression, psychosis, suicidal ideation and many other mental illnesses, and without proper support, it was only a matter of time before I permanently checked out.

Read more on PsychCentral.

Times Union: Sour, sweet opening addresses for session

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.

New York Daily News: Sex abuse survivors lodge rallying cry for Child Victims Act’s passage in Albany

Among the victims who attended the rally held outside the Senate chambers shortly before the start of the new legislative session was former model Nikki DuBose, who was sexually abused as a kid.

“New York needs this bill for one reason —to protect children from predators.The predators are the ones currently being protected by the law, not the children,” she said.

Read more at the New York Daily News.

 

 

New York Daily News: Former model Nikki DuBose to share her sex abuse story with lawmakers as she advocates for Child Victims Act

ALBANY — Former model and sexual abuse victim Nikki DuBose is coming to the state Capitol Wednesday with a message for state lawmakers — children need to be protected.

DuBose is the featured speaker at a rally being planned by advocates for legislation that would change New York’s statute of limitations and make it easier for child sex abuse victims to obtain justice in state courts.

“We are talking about kids,” DuBose, 31, told The Daily News.

“Why is it OK for an innocent child to be sexually abused and to have his rights, his soul, his identity, his emotions his life taken away from that very moment and for him to not receive justice?” DuBose continued. “Why is that OK?”

Read more on New York Daily News.

Albany rally seeks support for Child Victims Act as legislative session kicks off

ALBANY — Advocates for legislation to make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek legal recourse as adults will mark the Wednesday start of a new legislative session with a rally near the state Senate chambers.

Gary Greenberg, a child sex abuse victim and upstate investor who created a political action committee to fight for the issue, said the rally will feature former model and sexual abuse victim Nikki DuBose and Senate bill sponsor Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan).

Read more on New York Daily News.

Feminine Collective – Victoria’s Secret Needs A Makeover: Former Models Speak Out

We are Nikki DuBose and Cherise Shaddix, two former models working to be role models for the next generation.
And if there is one thing we know all too well, it’s the pressure to be perfect and climb the ladder of success in the fashion business at any cost.

(Nikki recently spoke out about the dark things she experienced in the fashion business in her new memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light. Cherise left the industry after an agent said things like, “your pictures make me want to kill myself,” and “oh yeah…they kinda make me want to slit my wrists, too.”)

Read more on Feminine Collective.

Reflecting on my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light to College Students

Nikki DuBose reflects on her memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, to college students from nikki dubose on Vimeo.

The Mighty – What It’s Like Being a Model With an Eating Disorder

“Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder or have experienced binging, the following post could potentially be triggering. Please don’t hesitate to call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

Darkness descends upon the room, signaling my arrival. Behind the curtain, I can feel my breath, waiting for permission to exhale. My knees quiver with apprehension as whispers drone from the crowd outside. From my spot behind the platform, I notice the flares from cameras and spotlights, like shooting stars in a strange, forsaken sky. I can already feel the eyes of the people as they stare at the empty runway, waiting for their goddesses to strut. My throat clenches and my mind empties — anxiety has taken control. What will they think of me?”

Read more on The Mighty.

Nikki DuBose Exclusive Interview on The Doctors Tv Show

“Nikki DuBose’s rise to fame in the modeling world came at a high price. She endured drug and alcohol addiction, severe eating disorders and even an alleged rape. She joins The Doctors to share her story of survival.

Nikki tells The Doctors she grew up in a household filled turmoil and abuse, something she feels shaped her for the worse. In her teens, she was offered a modeling contract, and she went to extremes in order to lose weight and make her mark in the image-based industry. She used diet pills, starved herself, binged, purged and at one point she only weighed 90 pounds.”

Read more and watch the full interview on The Doctors TV. 

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

I Knew My Mother Was Going to Die Because the Grim Reaper Warned Me

For months, the ghostly occurrences escalated and stalled, like a horrifying roller coaster that I couldn’t get off of. When the summer came, the doll manifested into a presence, and I named her, The Lady Without A Body. At first, she showed herself when Momma and Stephen argued; then, she appeared whenever I was by myself.

With her curtain of ebony hair and milky skin, she looked exactly like Momma. The entity never left my side; all day and night she breathed on my neck and made malicious faces. I debated whether or not to tell Momma. Then one Sunday morning as we cleaned the house, I summoned some courage and spilled the beans.

“Momma, I’ve been seeing something—somebody. If I tell you, please don’t make fun of me.”

Read more on The Huffington Post.

Recovery.org Interview – Meet Nikki DuBose: Model of Recovery

“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.”

Read the full interview on Recovery.org.

Huffington Post – Models, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and OWN

“In the mornings before work, I stood in the bathroom mirror and dealt with the rituals and hallucinations for hours. The exhausting act began with my bones; running my hands over them one by one gave me a temporary sense of security. I wish I could have stopped there, but that was just the beginning. My flat ass and pencil thighs brought pleasure; however, there was always more to lose. I despised my cheeks, my fatty facial cheeks. The same fantasy always replayed: a butcher knife glistened as I sliced them into a thousand, unrecognizable pieces. Bloody chunks covered the floor, and I stared at them and smiled. Then, and only then, was I suitable.”

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

Read more on The Huffington Post.

A Recap of our 2nd Annual Project HEAL SoCal Gala

Our second annual Project HEAL SoCal Gala was a tremendous success. Thanks
to Reasons Eating Disorder Center, Lisa Kantor, JD, Gabriel Hammond at Broad Green Pictures, and everyone who donated and attended, we raised over $34,000.00, a giant leap from last year’s $19,000.00! That money goes towards helping people who need funds for eating disorder treatment, and we can’t do it without people like you; people who have caring hearts and who understand that lifeProject HEAL SoCal Gala Nikki DuBose is about so much more than the superficial. Right now, there are people dying from eating disorders. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, more than schizophrenia or substance abuse.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank each and every one of you who not only donated and attended, but who I have had the honor of serving this past year. As the Volunteer Director and Executive Board Member, it has been my sincere pleasure of seeing this chapter grow, and I have learned so much from every volunteer who has walked into our meetings.

 

It is with a heavy heart that I step down from the chapter now, but I will take with me everything that I have learned as I move on. I will still serve on the board of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, and will educate others how child sexual abuse and eating disorders are linked. And as always, I will be a great supporter of Project HEAL and their wonderful mission.

Remember this: No matter where you are, or who you are, recovery is possible. I believe in you.

Thank you,

Nikki DuBose
Former Volunteer Director & Executive Board Member
Project HEAL SoCal Chapter

Huffington Post – My Psychosis Doesn’t Define Me

“I prance down the runway like a queen, my body dripping with jewels. Like a lioness, I sway from side to side, moving to entice all who look my way; I am the beast who no one can touch, and no one can tame. As I glance at the rows of curious faces, however, the darkness begins to take over. Before I know it, my worst nightmare has returned: the demons have revealed themselves, with their black eyes and mouths full of jagged teeth. I cannot escape them; they are my masters, and I am their slave.

Voices command me to keep moving. Look forward bitch and keep walking. Don’t screw it up! They’re all going to laugh at you. I force my head higher and put my shoulders back as I push through the noise and approach the end of the runway. As my feet carry me to the edge, I hear no sound, experience no sensation. Despite the music and commotion, I am lost in a dreamland.”

Read more on the Huffington Post.

 

Honored to be an Expert Reviewer with Harvard STRIPED!

striped-high-res-logo-NEW

 

Recently, I was asked to be an expert reviewer for Harvard’s STRIPED’s new teaching case entitled, “Patina of Glamour: Forging Alliances to Investigate the Underside of the Fashion Industry.”
I am grateful to be a part of this, especially because the case deals with fashion models and eating disorders, two subjects often glamorized and mocked in our society. I believe that with this lesson plan for students and teaching note, we will forge ahead in our educational efforts and break down existing walls of shame and stigma.

Check out the synopsis here: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/striped/2016/08/25/patina-of-glamour-forging-alliances-to-investigate-the-underside-of-the-fashion-industry/

I helped to review the Narrative Document Students  (listed pg. 2)

and the Lesson Plan for Teachers  (listed pg. 7)

I want to thank Dr. Bryn Austin, director of Harvard STRIPED for this wonderful opportunity, as well as all of the people who came together and made this possible.

An Open Letter to NY Times Public Editor Liz Spayd, from Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse and Advocates

Proud to have my name on this open letter to The New York Times Public Editor Liz Spayd. On behalf of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, I am listed as one of 35 Child Sexual Abuse Survivors and Advocates, urging Liz to cover the Child Victims Act of New York. Thanks, Nancy Levine for your hard work and dedication to this important issue, and thank you to everyone who is using their voice to create change.

“Dear Ms. Spayd,
We are a global community of survivors of child sexual abuse and advocates. We were heartened when, under your editorial direction, the Columbia Journalism Review published a piece by Steve Buttry, Director of Student Media at LSU: ‘The voiceless have a voice. A journalist’s job is to amplify it.’ We would like to ask you and The New York Times to consider amplifying our collective voice; we reiterate our request, emailed to you on July 11, 2016.
Our previous correspondence raised questions about The Times’ absence of recent coverage of the Child Victims Act of New York, and an appearance of a conflict of interest. Presumably there is no causal relationship between The Times’ absence of recent reporting on the Child Victims Act and Publisher and Chairman Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr.’s family financial interests in Whole Foods Market. But to quell concerns about an appearance of a conflict, we think this matter warrants further response.”

Read more on Medium.

Huffington Post: Denial, More Than Anything, Is Hindering Progress For Victims Of Child Sexual Abuse

If money is one hell of a drug, then denial is one of the biggest drug dealers in the world. And no group understands that truth better than survivors of child sexual abuse. While survivors, advocates and some lawmakers have fought hard to bring justice, there’s been little progress made; if anything, we’ve been forced to take giant steps backwards. And by forced, I’m referring to the tremendous power of, more than anything, denial.

Read my latest blog post on The Huffington Post.

Support the PAC Fighting for Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused

Donate to the PAC

Please donate to the PAC (Political Action Committee), so that corrupt lawmakers who helped kill the Child Victims Act in New York can be removed from office. All of the money from the PAC, started by Gary Greenberg, will be used to support candidates who support survivors of CSA and the Child Victims Act in New York.

Sober = Fun. Really! Find Out Why…

“Recovery is not all about work, it’s also about having fun. It’s a balancing act, and that’s been one of my biggest challenges over the course of my four-and-a-half-year sobriety. And making the decision to become sober was a complete lifestyle change; besides quitting drugs and alcohol, I had to make a commitment to change who I spent my time with. Our friends and social circles have a tremendous influence on how we live our lives, especially when it comes down to our entertainment choice. Since I made the conscious choice to leave behind many people whom I felt were having a negative influence on my health (including my modeling career), it was not an easy transition, but it was a worthwhile one. For a long time I was extremely lonely; all of the people and activities I once filled my schedule with were no longer there and adjusting to the new way of life was painful. How was I going to spend my time sans drugs and alcohol?”

Read more on Clinical Addiction Recovery Institute.

VLOG 10: Eating Disorders & Identity Part III

Huffington Post – Bill to Protect the Rights and Health of Models Dead for the Year: Education and Support Necessary to Move Forward

“On Friday, May 27th, 2016, California Assembly Bill 2539 was held in the suspense file and killed for the rest of the year. The bill would have awarded models workplace protections and health standards, granting them employee status, similar to actors who are employees of the brands they represent. As well, California modeling agencies would have been licensed as talent agencies. Although we fought hard to see this bill through, the Association of Talent Agents (ATA) and specific modeling agencies lobbied violently against it, which ultimately led to the bill’s death. As an executive board member of Peaceful Hearts Foundation and Project HEAL SoCal Chapter, two organizations dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse and eating disorders, I am passionate about pushing forth legislation which will protect vulnerable workers from being exploited in the fashion industry. Furthermore, as a survivor of a more than seventeen-year battle with eating disorders, trauma, other mental health issues, and as someone who experienced the darker side of the modeling industry, I want to clarify the arguments that have continuously come up over the past few months concerning the legislation.”

Read more on The Huffington Post.

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 7: My Response to Trump Bullying Alicia Machado

VLOG Episode 6: Models, Financial Exploitation & Eating Disorders

Huffington Post: Protest to be Held at Whole Foods 365 Launch in LA Amidst Co-CEO Mackey’s Ties with Pedophile

“I am a survivor of child abuse. Starting at age four, I was repeatedly beaten and called names that no child or adult should ever be called. Then from eight through thirteen years of age, the abuse escalated to sexual victimization by a close male figure and my mother, who suffered from mental health issues. At nineteen and through my early twenties, I was re-victimized as an amateur model and again as a professional model. Now at thirty-one, I have been in strong recovery for a few years, am an author (my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light hits stores Summer 2016), speaker and mental health advocate. I understand the long-lasting effects of abuse and how it can trigger other serious mental health conditions, yet I am also a believer that full recovery is possible. On the other side of the coin, I grasp the concept that hurting people hurt people and that forgiveness is a powerful force in this world – for ourselves and others.”

Read more on The Huffington Post.

Join Me For an Exclusive Google Hangout 5/5 with Eating Disorder Hope!

On May 5th, 6/9pm EST, I’ll be joining Eating Disorder Hope for an exclusive Google Hangout! We’ll be discussing the ever-important self love and how to keep a positive body image during summer 🙂

Visit Eating Disorder Hope to find out more!

Register for the Event and Watch it LIVE Here!

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

NAASCA Podcast – Stop Child Abuse Now with Bill Murray

I was a guest on Bill Murray’s podcast, talking about my recovery from child sexual abuse, and how that led to a plethora of mental health issues for most of my life. Listen here.

“Tonight’s special guest is Nikki DuBose from Los Angeles, a child abuse survivor who was later abused as a young professional model. Among other things, Nikki advocates on her web site for better regulation of the modeling industry (she tells me about 40% of models have an eating disorder and that there’s a lot of sexual abuse/harassment). Nikki also works closely with Matt Sandusky at the “Peaceful Hearts Foundation,” where she serves on the Executive Board and is their Volunteer Director. Nikki says, “I wholeheartedly believe that full recovery is possible, but it starts with speaking out and reducing the shame and stigma that is so often attached to mental health issues.” In her upcoming memoir, “Washed Away: From Darkness to Light,” due out later this year, 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, body dysmorphic disorder, substance abuse and sexual addictions. During her career as a professional model, she encountered a great deal of success, yet that prosperity came with a high price – one that often mirrored the sexual abuse from her childhood. Coming to a place of full healing has not been easy for Nikki, but she says, “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.”

 

VLOG Episode 5: Male Models and Body Image Issues

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

Huffington Post – Stop the Abuse of Models: Support AB 2539

“How would you feel if you came to to work today and were subjected to sexual harassment, rape, financial exploitation, and pressures to lose weight?”

This is the question I asked Mr. Chair Assemblymember Roger Hernandez and Members of the Labor Committee on April 6, 2016, at the Sacramento Capitol Office for the initial hearing of Assembly Bill 2539, before it was passed the same day. AB 2539, authored by Assemblymember Marc Levine, addresses the need for workplace protections and health standards in the modeling industry, which is notoriously unregulated.

Because of the lack of laws and protections, models have long been subjected to sexual and financial abuse, bullying from agents, and have been pressured to lose so much weight that many have developed devastating, even fatal eating disorders.”

Read more on The Huffington Post.

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.

VLOG Episode 2: How to Get Involved with AB 2539

People Magazine – Why Former Model Nikki DuBose is Backing a Bill to Fight Eating Disorders and Sexism in the Industry

“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.'”

Read more on People.

Assembly Access: Workplace Protections and Health Standards for Models

 

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 Professional Therapy Has Made the Biggest Difference in My Recovery

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

Read more on Clinical Addiction Recovery Institute.

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/

 

 

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.

On the NEDA Blog: The Modeling Industry is Changing. It’s About Time.

“As a former model, commercial actress and host, I enjoyed my share of success within the fashion and entertainment industries. I also suffered from binge eating disorder, bulimia and anorexia nervosa for the length of my career—although the behaviors didn’t begin in the industry, they were exacerbated by things I heard, saw and experienced: things like sexual harassment, trauma, bullying, exposure to wild parties, drinking, drugs and the daily pressure to lose weight. At the beginning of my career I was curvy and healthy—but by the time I left the business, I was unrecognizable even to my agents. Eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder had ravaged my mind, body and spirit, and thus, in 2012 I decided to leave; it was the greatest decision of my life. I’ve been sober for over four years, free from my eating disorders for almost three, written a book about my recovery and the modeling business,* currently speak about mental health and am a supporter of Assemblymember Marc Levine’s AB 2539.** Here’s why I’m so passionate about the bill.”

Read more on The National Eating Disorders Association.

Profit, Denial & Education: Why Clothing Retailers Are Contributing to our Youth’s Mental Health Issues and What Can Be Done to Prevent Further Damage

Denial and Profit

A part of me can’t believe that I am writing about clothing retailers and that fact that they are still selling “super skinny” and “toothpick” jeans – how long must we go around and around this issue and still see no change? Yet another part of me is not surprised at all; after all, the majority of people are not properly educated about mental health issues, especially eating disorders, and the goal of businesses, especially clothing retailers – is simply, profit.

This was a recent conversation I had with Christopher Willson, the Clinical Director from Dine Monte Nido, a unique outpatient program designed to help those suffering from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Chris was furious one day when he went to buy jeans for his eight-year-old daughter and found that many of them read “super skinny!” Oh dear. Now, most businesses grasp that in order to keep their profits high they must act as good corporate citizens. Therefore, clothing retailers should listen to the cries of consumers, such as Chris, and incorporate changes that will in turn, make their customers happy. Let’s look at the bigger picture –  for example, all the parents who buy jeans from clothing brands that advertise them as “super skinny”- you can expect that there are going to be some downright angry moms and dads writing letters, calling and blasting their opinions all over social media. After all, these labels place unrealistic expectations on already impressionable minds. Let’s review some statistics:

“42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner.

81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.”

 

You would think that clothing companies would do their research on mental health and listen to the consumers who are unhappy about how these labels are affecting their kids and teens.  Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychological disorder; certainly the higher ups and employees within the clothing companies must know someone who is or has been affected.

Or perhaps, they turn a blind eye, like this country has done for so long. Why? There are many reasons, but I would say that in the case of retailers a lack of education and focus on profit are the biggest culprits. To actually think about the well-being of others means to stop thinking about themselves, and to do that would (gasp!) would mean to potentially lose money, at least for the short-term.

I am relentless in advocating for change because eating disorders are an issue that affect over 30,000,000 people in America alone, and those are just the reported amounts. And, as a former fashion model who was always trying to fit into the fashion industry’s unrealistic sizes and portray an unhealthy image for impressionable minds, I am adamant about helping to restructure the business and stop the selling of products that are damaging to consumers. At the very least, we can start with mental health education – everyone needs it, especially the advertising and fashion industries.

Even if someone has not suffered from an eating disorder, almost everyone has been affected by low self-esteem and poor body image, however children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable; they don’t need added pressure from retailers telling them that they need to look a certain way in order to be accepted and valued. 

Finding the Solution

Lately I have been working with California Assemblymember Marc Levine, the National Eating Disorders Association, Sara Ziff from the Model Alliance and Dr. Bryn Austin, the director of Harvard STRIPED, on AB 2539, which will create healthier standards and promote the labor rights of models in the fashion industry. One thing that has stuck out to me in reading Dr. Austin’s research is how crucial prevention is. As she puts it, there is not a whole lot of literature and research dedicated to preventing eating disorders. Tying into Dr. Austin’s research lies my main interest: mental health education in the workplace, particularly the modeling industry. When we educate, we can help to prevent. I think that back during Karen Carpenter’s unfortunate and highly publicized case, eating disorders became known and glamorized because of the media – it’s what they do, they sensationalize – but they have yet to educate the public properly about eating disorders and mental health in general.

The National Eating Disorders Association has been introducing literature on eating disorders into various workplaces. Education is power because when we educate we have the knowledge to understand the what, why, when, how and who. If clothing retailers are uneducated when it comes to eating disorders and the impact their marketing schemes are having on young people, and if they are only thinking about profit, then they will continue to contribute to the mental decline and fatalities of our youth. Focusing on prevention and education in the workplace are crucial steps towards changing the way retailers and advertisers approach consumers – especially our youth.

 

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them! Drop me a line – nikki@nikkidubose.com

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

LA Weekly Interview – Lawmakers’ Bill Wants to Stop Anorexia In Fashion Models

“Nikki DuBose started modeling, on and off, when she was 15. Before she left the industry in 2012, she achieved a fair amount of success, appearing in Maxim, Elle and Vanity Fair. She also developed a serious eating disorder.

‘It’s a very psychologically damaging industry,’ she says. ‘It’s like the ballet or the military. Agents and clients have this way of being nice to you one minute and putting you down the next. It’s very blunt. They don’t care. All they care about is making money. And there’s another guy or girl walking in the door any second.’

Read more on LA Weekly.

Nikki’s Exclusive Interview with CBS LA about the importance of AB 2539

Nikki DuBose CBS Los Angeles

“’I did become very successful but I paid a very high price,’ said Nikki DuBose, who has graced the covers of magazines. ‘I didn’t want to be involved in an industry that was making me sick.’

Sick from eating disorders, her mental and physical health suffering, DuBose left the business four years ago.

She’s now a Los Angeles-based author, advocate, and a support of AB2539, a bill proposed by a Northern California assemblyman.”

Read more and watch Nikki’s exclusive interview on CBS LA.