This week I’m thrilled to bring you part one of my interview with Nikki Dubose; a former Super Model turned author, ambassador, and mental health & Addiction and Alcoholism recovery advocate. Nikki’s memoir “Washed Away: From Darkness to Light” is a stunningly honest and vulnerable account of her life. Nikki suffered unthinkable early childhood trauma; and soon after began a life and death battle with eating disorders, mental illness, alcoholism, and addiction.
My mother was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder when I was a teenager, and for most of my life, I didn’t understand many of the things she said or did. After she passed in 2012, I began my healing journey from trauma, anorexia, and related disorders, and after a couple years, began educating myself about Bipolar, a condition that once terrified me.
My mother was a tremendous artist, gifted; and although she touched many with her creative talents, she could never come to…
Read the rest of the post on PsychCentral.
Nature is God’s artwork. Sometimes when I’m having a stressful day, I take a walk outside, breathe in the fresh air, and take photos of the beautiful nature that I’m so blessed to be surrounded by.
Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, I was exposed to all kinds of plants and wildlife, from alligators to pelicans, Crepe myrtles to the hanging Spanish moss trees.
On the west coast, the nature is quite different, but absolutely lovely. Did you know that you can find art anywhere? Those exposed branches on the side of the road, the dying flower, and dried leaves are all beautiful, it just takes a bit
of mindfulness to appreciate their beauty.
It’s just like us, sometimes when we don’t feel at our best, we can’t see what’s beautiful about ourselves. But God sees us perfectly and complete. We are never washed up or too dull for Him. We are all part of a larger masterpiece, a divine art that spans for all eternity.
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!
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.
During my first day at James Island High, I wandered aimlessly through the halls. Hundreds of students buzzed by, but I couldn’t hear anything for the dark voices. “Nobody will ever be your friend. You’re a loser!” I kept my head down toward the gum-spattered floors. I wanted to spare everyone from my hideous appearance. When the teachers called out my name During roll call, I didn’t answer; instead, I sulked in the back of the class, afraid to utter a single word.
As the days passed on through March, I wanted to disappear. I was certain that if I stayed at James Island High much longer, everyone was going to find out about my past. Deep down, I longed for others to understand, but I knew that no one could, so I avoided conversations at all costs.
During lunch, I anxiously raced through the lines and grabbed a couple of brown paper bags and desserts. I thought it best to dodge the noisy chatter at the tables and skipped straight ahead to the bathroom stalls. There I at least had silence. The crinkle noises my sandwiches made as I unwrapped them was all the friendship I needed. I had my food, and I had my thoughts. Although, I questioned my thoughts most of the time. I could only sit with my thoughts for a few minutes before purging; it seemed like the rational method to rid myself of the pain.
Read the full blog post at Eating Disorder Hope.
What is the life of a high fashion model. Is it all glam and fame and perfection? Are those celebrity models we idolize like Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid really leading the amazing life that we perceive? Or is it a life of “fakes and… lies,” as top Australian Model Ajak Deng announced last year when she left the industry that she said she could no longer take? Or even one that is literally making its participants sick as writer turned model Madison Schill asserted in a Glamour Magazine article, detailing, among other things, how her agent literally asked her if she “drank butter for water.”
In her new, both disturbing and inspiring memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, former model, Nikki Dubose, who has appeared on the covers of and in editorials for all the biggies – Maxim, Glamour, Vogue, Vanity Fair and more lends her voice to this debate.
Read the full book review at She’s Fit to Lead.
There is a road I’m walking on that I never thought I would. The road is simultaneously full of potholes and patches of silky, green grass. At times, just when I feel as though I’ve reached the end of this road, the wind whispers, and I realize I’ve been fooled. The illusion fades, melting the road into a thousand miles again.
Read the full post at PsychCentral.
Nikki DuBose is a former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate. She recently released 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. She recently appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Network on the TD Jakes Show to speak about her recovery from Body Dysmorphic Disorder and eating disorders, and how the pressure to “fit into” the modeling industry nearly killed her.
Keep reading to learn more about this incredibly strong and inspiring woman, Nikki!
Read the full interview on Miss Millennia Mag.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 single 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.
‘”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.”
Read more on Feminine Collective.
“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.
“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.”
Read more about Nikki with author Becky Norwood.
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.
Ever feel like you are stuck in an unhealthy relationship with someone or something but you just can’t seem to get out of it for some reason or another? On today’s episode I talk to returning guest, Adrianna Robles, about this very topic. Adrianna is a graduate from Purdue University and currently works for an HR Software company in downtown Chicago. Her passions are writing, volunteering for organizations like the National Eating Disorders Association and speaking about eating disorders at places like Mental Health America in Lafayette, Indiana.
Connect with Adrianna on Facebook:
Visit here to find out how you can get involved with NEDAwareness Week.
I love these books on mindfulness:
- Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food by Jan Chozen Bays, MD
- Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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. 😉
“Charleston native Nikki Dubose, 30, grew up immersed in chaos. She had an alcoholic mother with dissociative identity disorder and bipolar disorder. She was physically abused at age 4 and sexually abused at age 8, which is the same year she started binge eating. Overeating turned into purging by age 10, which eventually morphed into anorexia nervosa.”
Read more on South Magazine.
“Today more than ever it’s easy to get caught up in the distractions that social media provides. With just the touch of a finger you can reach anyone in the world, scroll up-to-the minute news and search recipes for dinner while listening to songs from your favorite artists. While accessibility is alluring, however, it has its disadvantages. As people attempt to connect with the world, they are becoming more disconnected from themselves and each other, and living in a false reality that is laden with heavy, unnecessary pressures.
According to Cornell University’s Steven Strogatz, engaging in social media makes it hard to discern between our real relationships and those formed through the various outlets through social media(1). A false reality is created as a result of frequently interacting with “friends,” many of whom are obtained instantaneously. Focusing on the quantity of virtual friends directly affects our ego and psychological state; what we value simply becomes nothing more than a numbers game. Thus we focus less on our real relationships and the most important one, which is the relationship with ourselves.”
Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.
“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
“If it weren’t for the continuous support of my online mentor, Monica, I’d probably be dead. After seventeen years of binge eating, bulimia and anorexia, I’d blown through all the money I had made as a successful fashion model. For most of my adult life I didn’t have insurance, and receiving care at a treatment center appeared to be out of the question. When my anorexia and bulimia were at their worst, I was afraid to continue showing my face in twelve-step meetings, so I sought help online.
Online. I felt hopeless – could this possibly work? I prayed as I spilled out my soul in the message to a Christian group and hit the “send” button, and surprisingly, within a few hours, I had a response. Not only was Monica understanding, but her words were infused with love and confidence. She had faith in my recovery, no questions asked.”
Read more on Eating Disorder Hope.
“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.
“8 Ways Your Struggle Brings Gifts
- They make us stronger. That’s right — after recovering from a lifetime of abuse, eating disorders, drug addiction and alcoholism, one thing is for certain, I am a stronger person. I don’t see my former addictions and mental health issues as a downside, rather as things that have made me more powerful, able to tackle anything life brings my way.
- They help shape our character. Of course we are all born with character, but I believe that my struggles have sharpened mine. With every challenge we face, our character is being built, so we can choose to see troubles as a blessing.”
Read more on Recovery Warriors.
“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.
Over the next week for NEDAwareness I will detail raw, personal accounts of my time in the modeling and entertainment industries. These stories serve to inform and educate the masses about eating disorders, mental health issues, drug and alcohol addictions, and what really lies behind the doors of the fashion world.
My remaining weeks in Los Angeles had been spent in sheer agony. In order to conform myself to the size that the esteemed modeling agency had asked, I had dropped to even more desperate measures than normal. Day after grueling day, I lived in hell. A blistering inferno that I couldn’t get out of.
Inside my mental blazes, I ran around in circles, unable to escape my insanities.
Every day I exercised for hours, binged, purged and locked myself in the bathroom to scrutinize my face and body. The only times I left my house were to get more supplies to fuel my obsessions. I took photograph after photograph of myself to see how much weight I had lost. In my mind, the more weight I lost, the more I achieved, and the more I achieved, the more valuable I was, to myself and to the modeling agency. My self worth was determined by people who only cared about my appearance and how much money I could rake in, but I didn’t care, I had no real love for myself.
Christmas was only a couple of months away but the Miami weather raged on as if the summer had no end. As soon as I stepped off the plane in the sweltering Florida sun I sensed adventure, mixed with a feeling I couldn’t quite place. This undertaking would turn out to be one that I wouldn’t necessarily want to take.
I was instructed by the agents to come in the following day and sign my paperwork. I was overwhelmed by the move, the excitement of being in a new city and the fact that I was going to be a bona fide model! No longer would I just fantasize about being a model, I was actually going to be one. Pride washed over me and all at once I wanted to soar through the clouds and gaze at all the commoners in Florida. They would soon be seeing me on the billboards…I was a star!
The scenery the next afternoon on the way to the agency was quite a change from my safe house in Los Angeles. Girls and guys buzzed about on the white sanded beaches in barely-there bathing suits, rollerblading and confidently participating in a variety of sports. It was not going to be so easy to hide here. I pulled down my form-fitting skirt and withdrew my face as I passed through a dozen restaurants. The agents had informed me that I should wear something body-hugging, but now I was regretting it. I could feel a thousand unwanted eyes ripping off my clothes. I walked faster. As I entered into the sleek, two-story agency that faced the crystal ocean, I quietly took a seat and soaked in the moment.
I was the only person in the waiting area. All around me were large framed photographs of supermodels I recognized from the eighties and nineties. I was in awe. Did that mean I would be a supermodel, too? In my heart, I hoped so. I held my portfolio tightly and noticed a tall wall of composite cards. Rows of models that belonged to the agency were on display. I observed each and every one.
Wow, I thought. I wish I could look like her. I wonder what it’s like to be her, to be like that.
I became lost in the sea of faces and felt myself drowning.
Had I lost enough weight? Would they accept me?
I nervously tapped my foot but tried to appear calm and collected. My jittery eyes led to a second level that wrapped around to a glass enclosure. Inside a few agents stayed glued to their computers and telephones. They didn’t acknowledge my presence. I checked my phone; 2:49. The appointment was at 2:30. I bit my breath and quietly sat. In my stillness I was sorely reminded of one thing: how much I missed mom. In that moment I contemplated about what it would be like for her to be there with me, sitting beside me and cheering me on. I wanted her to be proud of me. I couldn’t wait to tell her about this opportunity, but most of all, I was tired of being…alone.
Late one winter’s eve
as the wind mocked and moaned
I uncovered a golden letter
and here is what it read:
‘O, Frankly my mind
I am no respecter of your thoughts
No longer your slave
A prisoner of your delusions
I am not.
You wail in the night
singing for my soul,
and whisper quietly in the stills of the day
concealing your intentions
I am free
Frankly my mind
I am me.’
©2015 Nikki DuBose
Beneath their palms
Cries to heaven
Reveal our star.
©2014 Nikki DuBose
From high above this tree mom
I can do anything
I can soar with the birds
Sing their melodies
I am one with nature.
From high above this tree mom
I am able to conquer
my deepest fears.
From high above this tree mom
I am exactly where
I want to be
In your arms
©2014 Nikki DuBose
We love and miss you mom.
Nikki and Anthony.
These are the ultimate treat for me! Pancakes are something that terrified me for years because of my struggles. I am grateful for eating pancakes as it is a marker of overcoming and letting go.
This recipe uses two kinds of flour: almond and organic whole wheat. I like to combine the two because it gives the pancakes a more consistent feeling rather than a cakey turnout.
I hope you enjoy my pineapple pancakes!
You will need:
1 cup of almond meal/flour
1 cup of organic whole wheat flour
2 TBS stevia/monk fruit/agave/organic raw cane sugar
1 TBS baking powder
1/4 TSP baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
1 can of freshly crushed pineapple (I bought a package of fresh pineapple and crushed them myself)
3/4 cup of coconut almond milk
1/4 cup of canola oil
Light whip cream and sugar-free caramel syrup to top (or top with apple butter)
In a large mixing bowl combine the almond and whole wheat flour together. Next, add the stevia, baking powder, and baking soda. In a separate medium bowl mix well the eggs, freshly crushed pineapple, almond milk, and canola oil. Now pour the pineapple mixture in with the flour, and stir until everything is slightly lumpy, but smooth.
Place a pancake skillet or pan on the stove and raise the heat to about medium. Cook about 1/4 of a cup of batter at a time, and let it sit for about three minutes on each side, turning when the bubbles form and the edges start to dry. The pancake should be golden and crispy on each side…but if you “mess up”…don’t worry, it’s all about progress, not perfection right?
Serve immediately and place a dollop of light whip cream on top. Pour caramel syrup over the top (I got mine from Starbucks!), or get more creative and make your own delicious sauce 🙂