This Year in Advocacy

Here’s a summary of bills I was proud to support this year, and their status:

California Legislation

AB 249, California DISCLOSE Act, authored by Kevin Mullin and Marc Levine – Awaiting signature from Governor Jerry Brown. Would amend the Political Reform Act of 1974. Lets voters know who is paying for ballot measure ads, on the ads themselves. 

*I personally endorsed this piece of legislation and also on behalf of the League of Women Voters of California.

SB 756, authored by Senator Henry Stern – Signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. In short, the bill provides restitution for mental health services to young sexual abuse victims.

*Peaceful Hearts Foundation and Shaw Mind Foundation supported as well.

SB 225, authored by Senator Henry Stern – Enrolled/Awaiting signature from Governor Jerry Brown. Combat human trafficking by updating current trafficking hotline notices to include a text messaging component.

*Peaceful Hearts Foundation and Shaw Mind Foundation supported as well.

AB 1227, authored by Assembly Members Bonta and Low – Ordered to special consent calendar. 09/14/2017
Senate amendments concurred in. To Engrossing and Enrolling. 09/14/2017. Helping to identify and prevent cases of human trafficking through age-appropriate classroom education.

*Peaceful Hearts Foundation and Shaw Mind Foundation supported as well.

New York Legislation 

This year in New York, I worked on one of the toughest and most emotional cases so far. The Child Victims Act, originally S809 then amended several times and authored by Senator Brad Hoylman, was a bill I took on because of my own child sexual abuse. This legislative session we came together as a nation and got the bill all the way to Governor Cuomo’s approval, but were defeated in the Senate (even though the bill received news-worthy bipartisan Senate support). I have hope that 2018 is our year to protect children in the state of New York and pass the Child Victims Act, as child sexual abuse is a public health crisis and is one of the premier causes of mental illness and suicide.

*Peaceful Hearts Foundation, Shaw Mind Foundation, and over twenty non-profits and mental health professionals that I work with supported as well. 

If you have an issue that you would like to work on, please contact me.

 

 

Messaging for Advocates (Outside of New York)

Senator’s contact info!  

Messaging for Advocates Outside of New York

On Twitter

 

  1. .@LeaderFlanagan The Assembly Republicans passed the #childvictimsact. Kids now looking to Senate GOP for same.
  2. .@LeaderFlanagan Protecting children from sexual abuse is the right thing to do. Please vote YES for #ChildVictimsAct

 

Calling Script

Senator’s contact info!

 

“Hi, my name is______________. I’m calling to urge Senator _________ to pass the Child

Victims Act because __________________________. I don’t live in New York, but passing

this bill is that important because children everywhere deserve to be protected. Not only is the Child Victims Act critical

to protecting kids, but it saves the state an enormous amount of money in costs related to abuse. (Optional:

You can reach me at_________________). Thank you for your time and I look forward to

seeing the Child Victims Act being signed into law this year.”

  

+++Note: You can modify the script to make it more personal to you. We want to be careful not 

to attack any lawmakers, but try to persuade them with the message of protecting kids+++

 

 

By Email

Senator’s Contact Info! 

 

Dear Senator (Insert Last Name Here),

 

A few sentences explaining why protecting children is so important to you. This can also be a few sentences relating to your personal story.

The Child Victims Act is here to protect children. Children, who right now, are being sexually abused. Every year, the CDC reports that 43,000 children in the state of New York are sexually abused. These children grow up to become what we call survivors, which cost the state hundreds of thousands in costs due to mental health, emotional, educational and physical damage. Shouldn’t we take steps to not only protect children, but save New York a tremendous amount of money in preventative care?

 

Thank you for your time. I urge you to vote YES on the Child Victims Act. Kids are depending on your support!

 

Sincerely,

Your Name

Organization (if applicable)

 

 

 

By Mail

Senator’s Contact Info! 

Please refer to my advocacy page for letters of support.

++++Note: You need to change S809/Omnibus Child Victims Act to Child Victims Act. 

++++++Again, Senate mailing addresses can be found here. 

 

 

 

God’s Word Has the Power to Defeat #MentalIllness

#Don’tMiss Loving Yourself in Recovery

It’s so easy to miss the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder. I know, because I had one for over seventeen years, and I was a master at not only hiding it from my family and friends, but deceiving myself into thinking that I didn’t have one.

Thankfully, with the help of God and my support team, I was able to get into a healthy place in my life and learn that it is possible to recover. And just as easy as it is to miss an eating disorder, it’s easy to miss loving yourself in recovery. I am a hard worker, and I love helping others, in fact, it’s one of the things that has helped me to recover. So in this VLOG for the Eating Recovery Roundup, I’ve decided to focus on #DontMiss loving yourself in recovery. Enjoy, and if you have any self love or self care tips you’d like to share, email me at nikkidubosecoaching@gmail.com.

With love and gratitude,

Nikki DuBose

Eating Disorder Hope: How Children’s Body Confidence Can Start at Home

I remember the first time I felt self-conscious about my appearance. I was four, and my cousin Thomas proceeded to make fun of the birthmark on my butt cheek, which is shaped like a man’s face. It was then that I felt shame, realizing that my body was something others could use to make fun of.

A few years later, I binged to deal with sexual and physical abuse by my mother and a male figure. Looking back, I realize how much I was bullied within my own family; harmful words were used to describe my maturing body and face.

In turn, I developed body dysmorphic disorder, bulimia, and suicidal tendencies.

Negative Body Talk in the Home

Children are vulnerable, sensitive to their environments. If parents and caretakers are not careful, poor choices in words can have damaging effects on their children’s mental health.

Read the full blog post at Eating Disorder Hope.

PsychCentral: Sexual Predators Employed at Summer Camps in Florida, New York Still Failing Children

Child sexual predators often place themselves in areas where they have easy access to children. This is one reason why teachers, babysitters, nannies, mothers, fathers, priests, and summer camp workers make excellent abusers. And while Florida has made great strides to protect children from predators in child-care centers, they are falling behind in one major area: summer camp. (1)

Recently, the Palm Beach Post probed and discovered that camps in Florida have no restrictions, therefore there are no boundaries placed on how the camps operate. (1) Abuse can happen and does happen, and nobody is there to prevent or stop it.

Read the full blog at PsychCentral.

Defying Mental Illness: Exclusive Interview with former model turned Author and Mental Health Advocate, Nikki DuBose

Defying Mental Illness (DMI) recently had the unique and exclusive opportunity to meet Nikki and interview her. Nikki’s story is truly remarkable and will inspire you…

DMI: Wow, Nikki, what an honour to interview you today. You have an interesting story that you would like to share with DMI. You were a former model that was climbing high in your career at remarkable speed. However, there was a dark side you were struggling with.

You were challenged with several mental disorders. While you were probably the envy of your friends, secretly, they were your envy! Tell us, a little bit about who Nikki first and foremost. Give us an insight into your childhood.

Read the full interview on Defying Mental Illness.

Chiaki Evaldsson’s Review of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

Nikki DuBose is a mental health advocate, ambassador, public speaker and writer. She is also a former model who has experienced the dark side of the fashion industry. Her harrowing journey includes childhood abuse, addiction, self harm, rape, eating disorders, psychosis and various other mental health issues. It’s undoubtable a frightening read, but an important one.
We follow Nikki from childhood, through her years as a teenager and as an adult. Divided into chapters with focus on different themes, she provides us with an honest account of what was going through her head at the time and how she experienced it. It’s refreshing to read something so raw and sincere.

Read the full review at TheTrueSea.

Bay Area Women Against Rape (BAWAR) Urges Commonwealth Club to Cancel Whole Foods CEO Appearance

A consortium of anti-sexual violence groups led by Bay Area Women Against Rape (BAWAR) has asked the Commonwealth Club of California to cancel the appearance of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, scheduled for May 1. Mackey is set to appear at the Cubberley Theatre in Palo Alto, in conversation with Dr. Dean Ornish.​

Read more on The Digital Journal.

Addiction Hope: Q & A with Author Nikki DuBose on Addiction

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.

Read the full article on Addiction Hope. 

Nikki DuBose Challenges Whole Foods

Former model turned author and activist Nikki DuBose, was in San Francisco to challenge Whole Foods Co-CEO John Mackey to stand up for child sexual abuse survivors and speak about her role in the Omnibus Child Victims Act in the state of New York.

Pick up Nikki’s book Washed Away: From Darkness to Light on Amazon.

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!

Binge on This Review of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

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.

Read the full review at Binge on This.

Jenni Schaefer Interviews Nikki DuBose on her memoir: Washed Away From Darkness to Light

“Author, speaker, and mental health advocate, Nikki DuBose, epitomizes the word brave. She courageously talks about tough topics that others shy away from. I know, because I am one. For a long time, I wasn’t prepared to talk about my own trauma. (I didn’t even realize I had experienced trauma.) But, with the support of people like Nikki, I have opened up. Thanks, Nikki, for encouraging many of us to share our stories. With this post, I am thrilled to have had the chance to interview Nikki about the release of her memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light.”

Read the full interview on Jenni Schaefer.

The SHAIR Podcast: #104 “Washed Away” with Nikki DuBose, Battling Food, Sex and Drug Addiction.

Nikki DuBose joins us today on The SHAIR podcast. Nikki is a former model turned author, speaker and mental health advocate. Her debut memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, was released September 30, 2016. In Washed Away, Nikki recounts her experiences navigating the dark side of the modeling industry, while battling abuse, addiction, and various mental health issues. She recently appeared in the Oprah Winfrey Network on the T.D Jakes show to speak about her recovery from body dysmorphic order and eating disorders and how the pressure to fit into the modeling industry nearly killed her.

Listen to the podcast.

Eating Disorder Hope: Self-care Tips for Mental Health Advocates

In light of the latest presidential election, I think it’s great that the Western world has sort of woken up and decided to get more involved with advocacy work. After all, there is a positive side to every seemingly negative situation, not that I hate Trump, because I don’t. What I am saying is that, every time I go on social media, it seems that a vast majority of Americans, particularly liberal females and the men who support them, are constantly pushing forth issues they are passionate about, and how they can make significant changes for good.

I am all for being an advocate [1]. Five years ago, I began to campaign for the rights of those in the eating disorder community, while I was still in the throes of my own eating disorder and learning how to recover from a range of mental illnesses. In fact, helping others and pushing for change in my community, teaming up with national associations and bring awareness to issues is one of the biggest reasons why I believe I got to a strong place of recovery. It’s also why I am now so heavily involved in helping to pass legislation and want to run for office one day.

Read more at Eating Disorder Hope.

EDHope: Why the Modeling Industry Needs Mental Health Education

Many years ago I opened up to one of my modeling agents in Miami about my chronic struggle with bulimia. At that point, I had been battling the illness for over fourteen years and I was terrified to lose another contract because of it.

After an unsuccessful stint at rehab, my former agent in New York realized that I just couldn’t make the cut with castings and jobs due to my eating disorder and other mental health issues, and sent me back to South Florida without a ticket back. Ultimately, my disorders prevented me from being able to focus at work, maintain a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

On MLK Day, I stand for the abused and all marginalized groups

It’s been one of my life’s missions to fight for the rights of children who have been sexually abused, because, after all, I was abused, too. But I remember recently telling a friend and fellow survivor of child sexual abuse, while getting ready to speak at a rally at the New York State Capitol on The Omnibus Child Victims Act, that sometimes, advocating for our rights in modern times feels like fighting for freedom from slavery. And not that I would ever understand what being an African-American slave feels like, but I do understand what it’s like to be physically tormented, beaten, and sexually abused. Not to mention the fact that fellow advocates, Senators and Assemblymembers have been fighting to eliminate the statue of limitations for child sexual abuse in New York for eleven years now. Repeating the same legislative process, year after year, is exhausting to those of us who grew up knowing nothing but humiliation and shame. Many times we feel as though we have to beg, cry, scream, and plead for our basic human rights – rights that were stolen from us as children. Thankfully, with the help of Governor Cuomo this year, I believe that things will be different. I want so badly to believe, and I will continue to fight for change.

Read more on PsychCentral.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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/

 

 

The Stitch – Model Nikki DuBose Had A Secret

“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.”

Read more on The Stitch.

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.

Find out the untold story of Nikki DuBose

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!




 

10414394_10156616073340422_5958713103005036082_n

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!

10154182_10156616074530422_8444040306722104713_n

Nikki DuBose speaks at Jenni Schaefer’s “Dream Big” Event

Business Insider

“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.

The bill proposed by California state Assembly member Marc Levine follows efforts in several countries to fight anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders among models, who are relentlessly pressured to lose weight or lose work.”

Read more on Business Insider.

Today Kicks Off NEDAwareness Week 2016!

nedaw_social_10

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s my schedule for #NEDAwareness 2016:

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

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

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

 

Christmas Poem for Momma

 

It’s not all the times

when I hear children laughing,

watch families embracing

across a wintry park

or see lovers holding hands

in a busy cafe

that makes me miss you most.

It’s not all the times

when I hear a sad song,

your song

any song

that makes me miss you most.

It’s every time

that I want to

reach out and tell you

how much I love you

or simply that

you’re my angel

that’s when I miss you most.

©2015 Nikki DuBose

In honor of our late mother, Sandy Cargile.

We love and miss you mom.

Love,

Nikki and Anthony.

 

UnModeled Podcast with Nikki DuBose

“Today’s guest is Nikki Dubose, a former fashion model, host, and commercial actress who recovered from a 17 year battle with anorexia and bulimia.
In this episode we discuss:
* Why the fashion industry needs to be better educated about eating disorders.
* What it’s like to recover while dealing with body dysmorphic disorder
* How 12 Step and faith can help you discover a new self in recovery.”

Listen to the podcast here.

 

 

Stories of Hope: An Interview with Nikki DuBose

“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.”

Read Nikki’s interview on davidsusman.com

 

 

 

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.

 

Finding Freedom through the Past

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

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

 

Eating Disorder Recovery — Seeing The Value Within

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

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

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

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

 

Paint Me A Soul-Part One

In honor of NEDAwareness 2015, I will be writing about some of my experiences in the modeling business. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, we are fooled into believing the mirages created by the media I cannot even begin to tell you how many times my images were manipulated to make me look thinner to the point that it was destructive for my mental health and the health of so many others.

Over the next week I will detail raw, personal accounts of my time in the modeling and entertainment industries. These stories serve to inform and educate the masses about eating disorders, mental health issues, drug and alcohol addictions, and what really lies behind the doors of the fashion world. 

     It was the beginning of the fall of 2008. The changing air in Los Angeles signaled a shift in the direction of my life yet again. I was tired of running, tired of moving but deep within I felt that something better was on the horizon. I could have dreamed at least. After a couple of weeks of waiting to hear whether or not I would be accepted into modeling agencies in South Florida, I received emails from a few. Some of the most prestigious ones had responded. Nearly besides myself, I spotted their names in my inbox.

This is it! I’ve made it now! I’m going to be somebody, I thought.

Dizzying scenes of parading down glamorous runways filled my mind. I was overwhelmed with the prospect of my new life. My new life that was at the tip of my fingertips.

My sweaty fingers slipped on the keyboard as I clicked on the first message. However, my eyes melted with the lines as I recognized the all-to familiar response. Rejection.

Dear Ms. DuBose,

Thank you for contacting us. After reviewing your images we are sorry to say that we do not think that you would be a good fit for us at this time.

Damnit.” After reading a few more of those I shut off my computer and rolled over onto my messy bed. Crumbs from weeks worth of binges stuck to my clothes and skin and the disgusting feeling brought me back to my harsh reality.

What is wrong with me?

I pondered that question over and over again, so much, that it kept me in the pits of my destructive behaviors. I was trapped in bulimia, without a way out. Rejections from agencies fed my insecurities and mental instabilities. In turn, I cycled through binge eating and bulimia multiple times a day.

About a week later, I heard from an agency and management in South Florida. The feedback was different…sort of.

Dear Ms. DuBose

We would like to meet you. When are you coming?

Also, there are some areas that need attention on your body. The thighs and hips in particular need to be reduced. Competition here is intense!

My mind raced. Ok! I was accepted. But…I needed to change. Again. Change my body, but how much? I could handle it. I was determined to be who they wanted me to be. God knows I didn’t like who I saw when I looked in the mirror constantly throughout the day.

You stupid idiot. Look at yourself. Fat thighs. Big nose! No chest. Ugly, ugly, ugly! Worthless. Of course they won’t accept you. You’ll never be like them. Never. Get to work!

The voices I heard in my head dictated my life. Demeaning, yes, but familiar. The voices were what soothed me just as much as they belittled and controlled every single area. I was captive to them.

I succumbed to the voices that told me to starve myself in preparation for my new life as a model in South Florida that fall of 2008. I also prepared myself to listen to the voices of the people in the fashion industry. I never once thought about listening to my own voice, my heart, or my soul. I had no idea who that voice belonged to.

To be continued…

 

Eating Disorder Hope — “Eating Disorders and Holidays: Giving Back”

“I cherish the array of feelings I receive when I send family and loved ones cards or presents in the mail. Just imagining their bright, beaming faces puts warmth in my heart.

Nothing sets my soul afire and brings me peace quite like knowing that the holiday season has arrived. As a little girl this magical time brought my family together and allowed me to feel safe and secure.”

Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.

Secret Islands and Misty Heavens of the Pacific Northwest

My journey continued as I made my way through the Pacific Northwest, where the air transpired into a deep, icy chill but the overwhelming beauty of the nature warmed my soul. I was surrounded by trees of all flavors; cranberry, amber, and evergreens resembled the make-believe winter villages I had come to adore as a child. My family liked to collect bits and pieces of a running train set every year, and it was set in an imaginary place, similar to the picturesque countrysides of Oregon and Washington.

I ended my exploration at the magical islands just south of Victoria, and here I feel at peace. When I look around, and gaze at the glorious spendlor that envelopes me, I can’t ever question that God exists. How wonderful He is, and how Blessed I am to be in the midst of serenity, here in my special place.

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_Northest_Coast

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_NorthWest2

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_NorthWest3

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_NorthWest4

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_NorthWest5

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_NorthWest6

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_NorthWest7

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_Northwest8

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_Northwest9

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_Northwest12

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_Northwest14

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_Northwest15

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_Northwest17

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_Northwest19

Nikki_DuBose_Aroundtheworld_Northwest20

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_Northwest21

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_Northwest23

Nikki_DuBose_Aroundtheworld_Northwest24

Nikki_DuBose_Aroundtheworld_Northwest26

Nikki_DuBose_AroundtheWorld_Northwest29