Modeling, Abuse, and Mental Health. Watch Nikki’s interview on Investigation Discovery on how she survived it all and went on to write a memoir entitled, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light (in French, Dans L’Enfer Du Mannequinat).
I have been receiving so many comments from people in Europe (as well as the United States) regarding why I chose to sleep with the director of my modeling agency.
It is so clear to me why I put that part of my life in my memoirs: because I was sexually abused as a little girl by my mother and a male family member, which I also describe in my book.
I felt it was very important for people to understand why we make certain choices. For me, I felt pressured to follow a career where my face would be in the public because I had such low self esteem due to the remnants of sexual abuse in my childhood.
Sexual abuse is so damaging, that it can lead you to make terrible decisions as an adult and affect you in every single area of your life. So for everyone who says, “It was your choice to be a model and to go through the things you went through,” I say to you: it was never my choice to be abused. To be prostituted by my mom as a kid. To be exposed to the things I was in my childhood and I know that in my modeling career the mental health issues I had greatly affected my choices – we always have to look at why people are the way they are.
I hope my memoir will shed a greater light on sexual abuse, mental illness and of course yes, what can happen in the modeling industry but the book is about so much more than that.
J’ai reçu tellement de commentaires de personnes en Europe (ainsi qu’aux États-Unis) concernant les raisons pour lesquelles j’ai choisi de dormir avec le directeur de mon agence de mannequinat.
Il est si clair pour moi pourquoi j’ai mis cette partie de ma vie dans mes mémoires: parce que j’ai été abusée sexuellement comme une petite fille par ma mère et un membre de la famille masculine, que je décris également dans mon livre.
J’ai senti qu’il était très important que les gens comprennent pourquoi nous faisons certains choix. Pour moi, je me suis senti obligé de suivre une carrière où mon visage serait dans le public parce que j’avais une si faible estime de soi en raison des restes d’abus sexuels dans mon enfance.
La violence sexuelle est si préjudiciable qu’elle peut vous mener à des décisions terribles en tant qu’adulte et vous affecter dans tous les domaines de votre vie. Donc, pour tous ceux qui disent: «C’était votre choix d’être un modèle et de passer à travers les choses que vous avez traversées», je vous dis: ce n’était jamais mon choix d’être abusé. Être prostituée par ma mère enfant. Pour être exposé aux choses que j’étais dans mon enfance et je sais que dans ma carrière de mannequinat les problèmes de santé mentale que j’avais ont grandement affecté mes choix – nous devons toujours regarder pourquoi les gens sont comme ils sont.
J’espère que mon mémoire éclaircira davantage les abus sexuels, la maladie mentale et, bien sûr, oui, ce qui peut arriver dans l’industrie du mannequinat, mais le livre parle de beaucoup plus que cela.
Watch the interview here
Regardez la vidéo ici
Nikki Dubose, une ancienne mannequin de 32 ans. Top model dans une grande agence parisienne, cette Américaine a connu l’enfer. Dans un livre, elle raconte la tyrannie de la minceur, les remarques méprisantes et le dégout qu’elle a fini par avoir de son propre corps. Aujourd’hui, elle se bat pour rendre obligatoire le suivi médical des mannequins.
Watch the video here
Regardez la vidéo ici
La Fashion Week vient de s’ouvrir à Paris. Mais ne lui en parlez pas. “Quand j’étais mannequin ici, c’était horrible. J’ai des amies qui y participent mais pour moi, ce n’est rien. Je préfère aller manger un burger, je m’en moque”, lâche-t-elle dans un éclat de rire. Nikki DuBose a pris ses distances avec un univers dans lequel elle s’est totalement perdue. L’ancienne mannequin était de passage dans la capitale française cette semaine pour promouvoir ses mémoires, L’Enfer du mannequinat (Editions du Rocher)…
“Espèce de monstre, tu crois que tu es mannequin? Tu n’es même pas belle! Tu es une sous-merde inutile, voilà tout! Tu t’es ridiculisée tout à l’heure. Ils se moquaient tous de toi, tout le monde se moque toujours de toi. Je me revois enfant, essuyant les remarques acerbes de mon beau-père. Je me demande si j’ai jamais eu la moindre valeur aux yeux de quelqu’un. Le désespoir fouaille mes entrailles.
Read the full blog on Huffington Post France.
Nikki Dubose will present “Addiction in the Modeling Field.” Nikki is a model, author, and advocate. She is the Co-Founder of The Artists League for Change, a national nonprofit dedicated to preventing mental health issues and abuse through the creative arts, and is an Ambassador for the Shaw Mind Foundation. Her debut memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light will be released in French in 2018 with Editions du Rocher.
Read the full press release.
Une Top Model rompt le silence
Nikki DuBose est une vraie américaine « moyenne », pas une star, pas une rebelle, pas une pauvre, non une Américaine comme il y en a des millions. Une femme qui aurait du être aussi anonyme que ses semblables, mais…
Mais elle connut son heure de gloire comme mannequin et surtout, vu son calvaire, elle s’investit dans des associations luttant contre les violences aux enfants et contre les ravages des dérèglements alimentaires. Son autobiographie est aussi un élément sûrement essentiel dans sa thérapie. Car si elle est une américaine « moyenne », Nikki DuBose est aussi et avant tout une victime, une victime de sa famille, une victime d’un système : le mannequinat.
Read the full article on Wukali
Do you love your feet? Do something for me, please. I want you to remove your shoes, your socks, and wiggle your toes. Now really feel your feet. Feel the magic of your toes. Feel how amazing it is to have ten toes, ten toenails. Now I want
you to look at your feet and study your toenails. Do you like your toenails? Do you think that they are beautiful? Maybe, maybe not.
When I was a kid, I hated my feet. I hated my big, country feet. I wanted to have any other size feet but mine. All of the girls in my class seemed to have tiny, petite feet that made them gracious and therefore, more worthy of love. To me, having big feet meant that I wasn’t pretty, and it was one more thing on my ever-growing list that made me determined to change myself.
I started despising myself at a very young age, around the age of eight. And a lot of that had to do with trauma in my own family. There was a lot of turmoil, abuse, and things that were not my fault, things that were out of my control. And so to regain some sort of sense of control, I developed what we know as binge eating disorder at eight years old, then bulimia nervosa at ten. The bulimia nervosa took hold of my life and took away every chance that I had to function at school, to make friends, to finish college, and to have a truly successful modeling career.
And although I was a “top model” for about ten years, my career was a lie. I was engaging in my behaviors multiple times a day because I didn’t know any other way to live. I didn’t know how to eat without my eating disorder, I didn’t know what it meant to live without depression, without PTSD, without suicidal thoughts, and so on. So I had the career that I had always wanted, but the price that I paid was very high. I couldn’t separate the fame, the money, the job from living in a mental health nightmare. And that’s not really living.
I was in all of the magazines that you see today – Glamour, Vogue, Maxim – my agency was priming me for the top of the top. I travelled all over the world and lived in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Germany, Italy, Paris, Israel; I mean you name it, and I probably experienced it. And although I had all of these industry professionals telling me that I was beautiful, I couldn’t see any beauty in myself. My eating disorder and other mental health issues clouded my ability to see my real beauty, which is my heart, my soul, my talents, not my face, not my body, not a number on a scale, not the image that was being sold for a profit for other people’s happiness which changed on any particular day.
One day people in the modeling business loved me and they thought that I was the perfect model, and the next day they hated me and told me that I needed to drastically alter my appearance. So eventually what I realized which coincided with my mother’s addictions and mental health issues was that I was never going to make other people happy, which made me extremely unhappy, and it was making extremely sick, to the point of nearly dying. Towards the end of my modeling career in 2012, I had developed anorexia nervosa. And as we know, anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. So I had to get to the point where I had to make a very important decision and that was to love myself for the first time ever. Because as a child who had parents who were addicts, who were abusive, who were emotionally unavailable, I was always looking out for them, and never myself. I was always trying to control, and never letting go, and unable to let a Higher Power come into my life and take over. The idea of “letting go and letting God” was terrifying; I had no idea what boundaries were and what self-love meant.
My mother passed in 2012 from her addictions and when that happened I believed that that was the sign from God (that I resisted at first) that I had to take that step and love myself. And I did. I left my career, I put myself in home care, I got a mentor, a therapist, my husband at the time and his family were wonderful and did whatever it took to help me get better. But, I did the leg work. It’s very easy to say we are going to get recovered. I did that dance for many years. But let me tell you that when I was going through home care it was about two to three years that I didn’t have anyone around me from the modeling business to tell me, “You’re going to be ok.”
I didn’t have hardly anyone from my family around to care for me, my mother had just died, and I was taking a completely new path. So my recovery was pretty much a blind one. I had to to trust a power Greater than myself and that required being humble, it required letting go of my ego, it required having faith, and that was a day by day process. My mentor worked through the twelve steps with me and out of the Life Recovery Bible and Workbook. But in those moments when my husband was at work and I was alone, it was me and God. It was me being tempted to go back to the behaviors, and me literally crying out to Jesus and saying, “God please help me. I cannot do this without you. I need you!” And you know what? God met me every single time. In my lowest, nastiest states.
I would put on worship music, things to uplift my spirit, put on positive sticky notes on the mirror, little love notes that stated, “My worth and value is not determined by my weight.” “I am a child of God.” “I am beautiful.” “I am worthy.” “I am blessed.” And I would force myself to stare at my face and repeat those words, because I was so used to avoiding my face and engaging in the destructive behaviors. I had to retrain my brain. I would get up in the morning and the first thing I would do was listen to positive teaching tapes from people like: Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, and TD Jakes, people who really poured into my spirit, which had been seriously damaged from not just my eating disorder, but all of the depression, the trauma, and other mental health issues.
So my testimony is that I am sober from drugs and alcohol for six years, and free from my eating disorder for five years. I know exactly where you may be at. Yes, our stories are all different, and it feels very, very hard. It feels like there’s no hope. But I believe that when we don’t have hope in our own strength, we have hope in our Higher Power, and for me, that is Jesus Christ. When we are weak, He is strong.
So I do love my big feet. I wrote a blurb on Facebook yesterday, expressing how much I love self-care and getting pedicures, manicures, all that good stuff. Whenever I give talks, I like to do something nice for myself beforehand. It’s kind of like a self-care ritual. And the reason why that’s such a big deal for me is because when I was modeling and I would have a photo shoot, stylists would do my hair and makeup, and the process would take a few hours. But my eating disorder would always get in the way somehow of my being able to appreciate what was being done to my hair, or my nails, or my makeup. So for example, I would be in hair and makeup, then sneak off to the bathroom and purge. Now I am very thankful for the little things, which are really big things. Our bodies are temples that should be nourished and treated with love. When I got my pedicure earlier yesterday, I was reflecting on how much I appreciated my feet (which I used to hate), their size, the color of my skin, and how much I’ve progressed in loving my body and taking care of myself; of how thankful I am to simply be alive.
Now, I want you to think about ways that you can show yourself self-love during this time period. The holidays can sometimes be emotional, but it doesn’t have to be because we always have the choice to replace potentially negative situations with positive ones. I want you to think about yourself as a temple, and how you can nourish your temple. So I’ll give you SIX examples to start off, and these are some of my favorites.
- I’m a writer, so I love to write love letters to myself and name all of the things about not only my body that I appreciate, but also my soul and my heart that make me special. The holidays is a perfect time to do that because I have time off from work.
- I like to take myself out on a date. What better gift can you give yourself than dating YOU? And here at Rebecca’s House, you can set aside time to “date” yourself and find out more about who you really are. When we have eating disorders and mental health issues, we completely lose ourselves and our identities.
- I like to unplug from social media and television, so that I can spend time with me and have little pep talks with myself. I think that in our society, we are way too connected with technology, and not connected enough with ourselves and healthy people.
- Express myself, whether that’s through art, writing, singing, composing a song, keeping a gratitude journal, and getting my feelings out about my body, what’s bugging me, but not letting it sit inside. When we hold things in, they have a tendency to control us.
- The most important thing for me is spiritual time. In the morning as I mentioned, I need to spend time with my Higher Power, and meditate on what God says about my appearance, that I’m beautiful, that I’m worthy, that I’m perfectly made.
- I continue to spend time with my therapist, my dietician, my mentor, and people who have a positive influence on my life. During stressful times like the holidays, if I need to spend more time than usual with these people, then I do so. I am not afraid to say “no” to people who may be unhealthy for my ongoing recovery, and I continue to allow healthy people into my life. And remember, the eating disorder can also be seen as an unhealthy person and I have to continuously say “NO” to that person.
Now I’d love to hear ways that you plan to give yourself some self-love during the holidays and as we go into the New Year. If you’d like to read about how I overcame 17 years of mental health issues, please pick up a copy of my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, out now on Amazon.com, and you can now pre-order it in the French language when it is released in France, February 2018 with Editions du Rocher (Title: Dans l’enfer du mannequinat: Une industrie qui détruit).
Anxiety is just as much caused by our President and his inability to control his Twitter as it is by other environmental and genetic factors. You just can’t escape politics, the almighty ego club. Social media raised the throne of policy makers to tweet golden promises, but it was clear after this last legislative session in New York that the children were left out in the cold, groveling on their knees once again. The most pitiful aspect about The Child Victims Act never passing the GOP-controlled NY State Senate was that it was never a political issue; boiled down, it was about protecting children from sexual abuse. Sexual abuse that leads to expensive and damaging, potentially life-long mental health conditions.
Financially, a child who endures sexual abuse will spend an average of $210,000 over the course of their lifetime in recovery-related expenses, according to a recent study published in the journal Child Abuse and Neglect. It’s sad to think that we even have to count these costs, but the truth is that, if our families are stable and healthy, are children will be, too. A child protected from sexual abuse and mental illness equals a robust economy and thriving nation.
Read the full article on Hudson Valley 360
I just loved recording my story of hope and inspiration with Not Broken Radio, Brett Francis. Listen in, and share your story of overcoming trauma and mental illness. Let me know how my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light has helped you. Shoot me an email at email@example.com
A special announcement…
Nikki DuBose is seeking interns for a new, dynamic Coalition (national) dedicated to PREVENTING sexual abuse, assault, harassment and mental health issues for people of all ages. Started by an artist (model and author) for artists. (You don’t have to be an artist to join, just appreciate the creative arts). As the co-founder, Nikki is searching for interns for:
Please send interests to: firstname.lastname@example.org, CC Jan Lewis.
Big thanks to Grazia France magazine for mentioning my story as a successful model who experienced sexual assault and harassment alongside Cameron Russell’s story.
En février 2018, l’ancien top américain, Nikki Dubose publiera un livre dans lequel elle racontera son calvaire vécu pendant sa carrière de mannequin. Notamment les viols à répétition dont elle a été victime de la part de son ancien agent. Un récit puissant qui encourage à faire bouger les lignes dans l’industrie de la mode.
There is strength in numbers and if you are interested in understanding what happened to me, please pick up my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, out now on Amazon.
You, the people, responded to the action call to let Governor Jerry Brown know how important it was to sign AB 1312 into law. Because of your support, he listened, and signed AB 1312 into law yesterday, extending rights to 11 million sexual assault survivors in California! THANK YOU.
I want to thank Jerry Brown for signing bills this week to help empower women, children, and families. As a survivor of 17 years of mental health issues and a director of League of Women Voters of Los Angeles and Mental Health Co-Chair, I am so grateful for EVERY piece of legislation that is signed into law to prevent, protect, and empower others. I always say this, but we must step up and help one another as a society – government plays a tremendous role in ensuring that the rest of the nation has a reduction in shame with mental health issues and an improved access to care.
For the full list of bills, visit here.
Ashamed that Jerry Brown hasn’t yet signed #AB1312, assigning rights to victims of sexual assault. The bill is just sitting on his desk, and we only have FOUR days to get him to sign it! I am one of the 11 million sexual assault survivors in California, and in the recent news of #Weinstein, we need to come together and not only support other victims, but provide free and low cost services. PLEASE call him at (916) 445-2841, tweet @JerryBrownGov, Facebook Governor Jerry Brown’s Office. and email the governor and demand that he SIGN AB 1312, the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights into law now! Thank you so much. Please see below:
I stand with sexual assault survivors and urge @JerryBrownGov to sign AB1312 Sexual Assaults Survivor Bill of Rights into law.
I urge @JerryBrownGov to sign the CA Sexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights AB1312 to grant basic rights to survivors @RiseNowUS
Join me and @RiseNowUS in urging @JerryBrownGov to sign AB1312 CA Sexual Assault Bill of Rights to provide basic protections to survivors.
Sample language for calls/emails:
I am calling (writing) to voice my support for AB1312, the Sexual Assault Survivor’s’ Bill of Rights that just passed CA. I urge Governor Brown to sign.There are 11 million sexual assault survivors in California alone and I am calling to voice that this is a serious relevant issue. Brave survivors and hard working law enforcement officers deserve commonsense legal protections and clear procedures that ensure access to justice.
Thank you to everyone who called, emailed, travelled to the California State Capitol, and played any part at all pushing for the passing of the DISCLOSE Act (AB 249). Because of you, and after seven long years, Governor Jerry Brown has officially signed the bill into law. I especially want to thank the President of the California Clean Money Campaign, Trent Lange, PhD., (President and Executive Director) and D’Marie Mulattieri (Field Organizer and Accounting Administrator), Logan Smith (Field Organizer), Nancy Neff (Northern California Regional Coordinator), David Schmidt (Northern California Regional Coordinator), Teresa Priem (Delegate to the Democratic State Party), and all of the lawmakers who signed on and supported the bill, including my representatives, Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi and Senator Ben Allen. I was proud to endorse this bill, and also with the League of Women Voters of California and on the local level, with the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles. Thank you to Georgia Quinn, a LWVLA student member, who interned with the CA Clean Money Campaign in Cluver City this summer.
No other law in the country:
* Requires the top three funders of political ads to be shown clearly and prominently on a solid black background on TV ads.
* Requires true funders to be disclosed on ads even if they try to hide behind layers of front groups.
*Makes it illegal to purposefully deceive voters about who pays for political ads.
I often receive emails from people I have never met, but who have stumbled upon my articles or news about my books or work. It is very encouraging to my heart and mission when I open my inbox and read words of kindness. In today’s world, kindness is needed more than ever. Take the following email I recently received, for example. It comes from Mr. Roderick Nu Darby, the owner of Soulful Eats in Abbeville, Louisiana.
I just wanted to email you and encourage you to keep doing what GOD puts on your heart. So many people are living in this world without the direction and leadership of GOD. I’m offshore in the gulf of mexico on a oil rig, and I was doing some research on the illuminati and modeling industry was linked. I also have a family member in the modeling industry so I wanted to research more and I seen your videos. I have friends all over the world, and I encourage them daily with scripture. I have people I minister to with similar childhood stories as yours that made me very emotional. I tell people all the time the devil wants to destroy our kids at early ages, if we don’t put them in position to understand and feel the power of GOD they will yeild to the temptations the devil brings into their lives. I recall one lady I met with a similar childhood story. She said, “I forgave all the men that raped me, abused me in marriages, but the hardest thing to do was to forgive my mom who physically abused me as a baby and young child.” She also said, “I forgave my mom on her dying bed and felt a peace after doing it.”
The more positive people we have in our lives,the better we become at defeating the devil daily. If you respond or not to this email it doesn’t matter, I just had to encourage you by saying GOD is well pleased. Some of your days may be rough, but keep praying and trusting GOD to lead and order your footsteps daily. My name is Roderick from Louisiana. Have a Blessed Day my sister and Keep fighting for the truth. GOD word must prevail in this last hour.
Much Love and Peace
I am very sad today. A dear friend and brilliant psychologist who I learned alot from, Art Janov, passed away. The funeral was today and it is with a heavy heart that I relay this news. When Olivier and I were married, we would spend nights at his house, watching plays that Art, Olivier, and David Foster had worked on.
Art taught me alot about psychology and psychiatry. We would send long emails pertaining to epigenetics and other studies and theories. As someone who is studying to become a psychologist, I looked up to Art tremendously. He pioneered Primal Therapy, if you aren’t familiar, you can find out about it here.
Today at the funeral, they played Céline Dion’s song, The Colour of My Love. Most of you may not know, but Art wrote the lyrics to the song, while David Foster composed the music. My ex husband and I are very good friends, like brother and sister, and I am extremely proud of the work that he has done with David over the years. Art and Olivier were close.
Most of all, the world has lost a tremendous human being. I think of France, Art’s wife, a magnificent artist. I loved spending time in her art studio and relaxing amongst the flowers. They were a splendid, loving couple. God be with you, Art. Love to you in Heaven.
Last week I had a book signing for my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light in Montgomery, Alabama and it was received with much love. Thank you to each and every person who came and shared about what God has done in their lives; I walked away with life long friends!
It was also an honor to speak and share my testimony with Saints Movement Worship Center International Church, and with Shemika Thomas of Diamonds Mentoring Program. I believe that my personal relationship with Jesus has been an integral part of my healing from addiction, child trauma, eating disorders, and other maladaptive coping behaviors, and even as someone who is studying to be a psychologist, I understand the importance of taking care of our mental and emotional health. But I cannot deny the power of the Holy Spirit when we let him into our hearts and souls – He and only He has the power to heal and restore any affliction and through His love we can become Whole and go out into the world and help others go on to lead healthy and productive lives as well!
We will have a fully edited video of my testimony on the website next week!
Signing copies of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light at Saints Movement Worship Center International Church in Montgomery, Alabama, September 23, 2017.
Taking photos with a sweet fan.
Mrs. Shemika Thomas of Diamonds Mentoring & Empowerment Program, Mrs. Lucille Allen, and Mrs. Gwen Lewis of Saints Movement Worship Center International Church, who hosted me and my book signing.
Pastor Theodore Lewis, husband of Gwen Lewis and head of Saints Movement Worship Center International Church. They are some of the most caring and kindest people she has ever met. True story: Pastor Lewis and Mrs. Gwen never intended to start a church and definitley not what it is now; they started the church in their living room and people kept coming. But where God guides, He provides!
Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is a touching and unforgettable book written by Nikki DuBose and co-written by James Johanson. It is a moving and shocking memoir of a former supermodel as she recounts her dark and painful childhood which deeply affected her self-perception and thrust her to a life of alcohol and substance abuse, eating disorder, psychosis, body dysmorphic disorder and suicide.
Read the full review on The Aspiring Wordsmith.
Here’s a summary of bills I was proud to support this year, and their status:
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.
You know when you read a book, and once you’ve put it down, you’re still thinking about it, yeah? Well, that was with me with this book. Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. A heartwarming but equally heartbreaking tale of one girl’s struggle through child abuse, addiction, a chaotic family life, rape, grief and complex mental health problems.
A good book has to trigger emotions, whether that be happiness, sadness, anger or something else. I cried while reading this book, so I think it’s safe to say what emotion it provoked. I was deeply touched by Nikki’s struggles. I couldn’t fathom how someone could go through so much yet still be fighting on. And for that, I only have admiration for Nikki. The courage it must have taken to keep going is unthinkable.
Read the full review on A Beautiful Chaos.
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.
A childhood poisoned by abuse led her into the dystopian world of high-fashion. Imagine a woman in the grips of anorexia, being rewarded with fame and riches for her failing, frail body and even more fragile mind. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around, but Nikki’s words gave me a glimpse of that world.
Nikki has since recovered from her seventeen year battle with bulimia and anorexia. She’s written a captivating memoir.
The real beauty in this book is the ability to relate. Self-help books are brilliant, don’t get me wrong, but there’s only so many you can read before you start thinking you’re reading ‘an idiot’s guide to…’ by someone who read a textbook 15 years ago. (Although there are some brilliant ones out there, Chloe Brotheridge I’m looking at you!) Sometimes it’s great to be able to hear someone’s story, and to know that you are not alone.
“Whenever I look at my reflection today, I just see me. Sure it changes, but that’s because I’m changing and I’m okay with that. There’s no monster, and if one does appear, I fight back with positive, loving thoughts and words. Monsters don’t like it when you fight back because then they don’t have the power anymore” – DuBose
This book left a dull ache in my heart and strong respect for DuBose, both in battling these unbearable hardships and for having the courage to share them with the world. I know that this book will strike chords with many and offer hope that you can come out stronger, wiser and more beautiful.
Read the full review at Gemma Callaway.
Co-Chairs: Linda Paquette & Nikki DuBose
MENTAL HEALTH CARE (Adopted 1989)
Support for an adequately funded mental health care system which provides comprehensive services to the acutely, chronically and seriously mentally ill of all ages, maintains optimal mental health services for all clients, places emphasis on meeting the needs of children, offers mental health services for the homeless, seeks additional funds for preventative services, implements a master plan to integrate services, raises awareness of critical unmet needs, and emphasizes case management.
Support for the following:
- An adequately funded county mental health care system which:
- Provides comprehensive services to the acutely, chronically and seriously mentally ill of all ages;
- Place emphasis on meeting the needs of children;
- Seeks additional funds to provide preventative services;
- Offers mental health services for the homeless;
- Maintains optimal mental health services for all clients.
- Implementation of a master plan which:
- Ensures that there will be a network of integrated community based services clearly defined and consistent;
- Advocates an awareness of and concern about the critical unmet needs within the county;
- Emphasizes case management which includes assistance with housing, financial, entitlements, rehabilitative and vocational programs.
- Centers for the seriously and chronically mentally ill apart from the county system.
- Regulations which provide an adequate length of time for evaluation and treatment of involuntary holds.
- A model mandatory outpatient care program with adequate supervisory staff.
*Taken from the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles County – Adopted Program 2016-2018
I partnered with Rise Together to bring awareness to the millions who are affected by suicide, bullying, addiction, and more during #NationalRecoveryMonth.
I’m #SpeakingOutLouder because I am a survivor of suicide. In fact, my entire life I’ve dealt with suicidal ideation. My mother was in and out of mental care facilities when I was a teen because she attempted against her life. Some of my friends and family members did not survive suicide, and I believe that if we, as a society, put an end to the shaming, hatred, and blaming, we can help prevent suicide. I think that we have to work together to look for better suicide prevention strategies and invest more in mental health. Every life is precious, and everybody has something valuable to contribute to the world.
Model, Author, Advocate, Survivor
How are YOU SpeakingOutLouder during #NationalRecoveryMonth? Take a pic with the #SpeakingOutLouder and post on social!
Use a paper, your phone notes, your computer, the back of a receipt, your arm, a napkin; anything that you can write on. Jot this down & think about it. ✨
Journaling truly changed my life. I stopped allowing myself to hide from quiet moments where I was too afraid to be alone with my thoughts and, instead, wrote them down. It’s not something that anyone “wants” to do necessarily, especially when they’ve been accumulating so much negative self talk & hate for themselves over years of suffering. But that’s one of those “choosing recovery” moments. You have to know yourself to save yourself. ✨
This question is one that really put me off when I was early in my recovery. I didn’t want to admit that I had a weakness, even if I would tell myself my weaknesses in my head all the time. Writing it down on paper was too vulnerable & too close to letting anyone know (even if no one read my journal) that I wasn’t perfect. ✨
My greatest weakness is my empathy & care for others. It has been the driving force of destruction in a lot of my relationships. I care so much that the other person becomes so important to me that I am constantly wanting to take care of them. I forget to take care of me. I lose touch with myself, and then I lose the person when I try to step down from 100% there to 50% there. It’s been a pattern that has repeated itself for my entire life.
My empathy and care for others is also my greatest strength. I found that the best way to stay true to myself and my love for service & making others happy is to reserve those acts for strangers or people who I do not have long relationships with. Every day, I make at least one random person that I interact with happy, and it’s not to feel good about myself. It’s because I feel drawn to them, and connected with their feelings. I feel empathy.
Sometimes it turns out to be extremely detrimental for my own wellbeing & relationships, but a lot of the time it is something that makes me happy to be who I am. A true empathetic heart is hard to come across. & it’s taken me a LONG time to admit it, but I was born with that heart. And that’s pretty freakin awesome. ✨
I am so proud that the League of Women Voters of California is supporting the DISCLOSEAct (AB 249). As a Board Member for the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles County, I am grateful for the State’s support on this critical issue. Without financial transparency, dark money will continue to run every sector of our political system, thus affecting the people of our nation, instead of the other way around. Financial transparency is staple to a just and fair democracy.
Read the League of Women Voters of California’s statement on the Disclose Act.
Take action and support the DISCLOSE Act.
#Repost @cosmiccolette (@get_repost)
WHAT YOU COULDN’T TELL 😔💔 One of the major misconceptions about mental illnesses is that you have to LOOK sad/sick to have one. Even after having a mental illness for 5 years I still believed this myself and it prevented me from seeking help. Instead of getting the treatment I deserved, I tried to numb the pain myself. At my worst, I would go on multiple nights out a week and get as drunk as possible and get with as many guys as I could too! 😣 On the outside it looked like I was a normal teenager just having fun partying (see left photo). What you couldn’t see was that my life was falling apart. Before every party I would starve all day and at the end of every night I would lock myself in my room and binge until I made myself sick. I would end every night in floods of tears and even scream into my pillow and self harm because I was so hysterical. I tried to get with as many guys as I could because it boosted my self esteem for that short moment. I placed all of my self worth on what other people thought of me. On my outer appearance. I was lost and couldn’t see anything good about myself, and was battling with suicidal thoughts every day. Of course on the outside you couldn’t tell this, and I even stopped visiting my family so they wouldn’t question my behaviours. I became friends with people who were also mentally ill so I could hide and stay sick. Nothing got better until I accepted that I couldn’t survive like this anymore. I was leading a double life and I was at rock bottom. I did so many things to turn my life around. I cut out toxic friendships, I went to the doctor and got professional help, I did CBT, I finally opened up to my family, I stopped using sex/dating as a coping mechanism… and more!! Now I am finally free of mental illness and all I want is to help others. This is why I wrote a book all about the 23 stages I took to get myself back. 70+ pages of my story with advice for you included. Details about my disorder, my friendships, my past relationships and how I came through the other side. If you want to get your copy the link is in my Instagram bio 💖😊 Their is little difference between the two photos..
Nikki DuBose sat down with Kristi Cheek, Registered Nurse, yoga instructor, holistic health counselor and coach to talk about why recovery from mental illness is not perfect and her experience overcoming abuse, eating disorders, and more as covered in her memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light.
“Nikki DuBose, author, speaker and mental health advocate was a former model for Maxim, Glamour, Vogue, FHM, and Vanity Fair. Listen to Nikki open up about trying to fit in at a young age, being sexually assaulted, dealing with anxiety, suicidal ideation, sex, drug, and alcohol addiction, learning to cope with trauma, and now living happily in recovery today.”
Listen here on Rise Together.
“I am not much of a book reader. I can never seem to get into them because I am forever distracted, forever busy. However when I got offered to read ‘Washed Away’ I could not say no.
Nikki Dubose is no doubt a very brave and inspiring woman who has been through more than most but I love how she has used her negative past to inspire others. It was a book that made me a feel a mix of emotions. Surprised, shocked and sad but also inspired by her bravery.”
Read the full review at United As One Voice.
Continuing from the last post about my mother’s Bipolar diagnosis and artistic abilities, I thought I’d also touch on how painting can help those who suffer from depression. My mother had serious bouts of depression, where she would sleep for days, sometimes weeks on end. In 2015 I was also diagnosed with clinical depression. In honor of my mother and to help with my depression, I began teaching art therapy techniques to help other…
Read the full post on PsychCentral.
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.
Five years ago: For the love of Sandy
Five years ago, my mother Sandy passed away in a car accident. Although the initial investigation from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office stated that the cause of her accident was due to “some sort of a tire issue, causing the vehicle to veer off the road,” what my family and I know many years and one book later, is that her death was due to alcoholism, and potentially being attacked while driving.
Read the full post on PsychCentral
One day I know
When the twighlight last glows
She will return to me.
Ever so sweetly
Ever so softly,
My beautiful mother.
-2017 Nikki DuBose
Nikki Dubose, author, speaker and mental health advocate states: “I watched a little of “To The Bone.” As a former entertainer, I know that losing weight for your craft is seen as an art, but I also know that the environment can push you to engage in maladaptive behaviors.
I nearly lost my life trying to fit into what the entertainment and modeling industry wanted, and I don’t think it’s wise for an actress with a prior history of an eating disorder to lose that much weight, neither is it wise for the studios to cast someone who had an ED. It can be very triggering to the brain, emotions, and body. “
Read the full article on Eating Disorder Hope.
Shifting the Focus From Weight to Feelings
Australian-based photographer Jennifer Blau decided to take the focus off of appearance with eating disorder sufferers. She purposefully shot those who were at a societally acceptable “normal weight .”
Because eating disorders affect people at all shapes and sizes, Blau had a desire to tilt more on the message that it’s what’s on the inside that matters, as well as our feelings; society needs to be aware, educated, and sensitive to this message. Her exhibition is appropriately entitled “Just Ask Me How I Feel,” on display at Manly-Library .
Read the full blog at Eating Disorder Hope.
Earlier this year, I was very kindly gifted a copy of ‘Washed Away: From Darkness To Light’, a memoir written by former model and turned author and advocate, Nikki DuBose. Within the book, Nikki documents some of her most personal life events, from childhood sexual abuse to revealing how the model industry fuelled her all-encompassing battle with various eating disorders.
I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant to read and review it at first as I didn’t think it would be my cup of tea. I don’t have much interest in fashion or modelling and so was quick to dismiss the book in it’s entirety. The second I heard the words ‘mental health’ and ‘modelling’ in the same sentence, I couldn’t help but fear that this book might glamorise mental illness and in particular, eating disorders.
However, you know what they say: ‘never judge a book by it’s cover’ and in this circumstance, that saying proved truer than ever.
Read the full review at Above Anxiety.
Inner beauty: you can’t sell it, but it’s your most important feature. Every month on magazine covers, we buy into the promise of “ten steps to…” a better body, bank account, romance, and more, but we hardly focus on the one thing that really matters, which is our souls.
Real happiness is found on the inside. However, we rush off to the stores in an effort to buy our way to true bliss, and this is what keeps us perpetually trapped in the advertising illusion. Things are not bad, neither is wanting to be beautiful, but our minds, souls, and emotions are precious, and they make up the foundation to which all other forms of joy grow. If our minds are out of balance, then how can we expect to ever be truly happy? If we fail to nourish our souls first, then we will never see ourselves as truly beautiful, and we may constantly look to others to validate us.
Read the full post on Book Spin.