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Trauma survivors come from all walks of life, all over the world, and while each of us are unique individuals in our own right, our survivor stories is often very similar. It’s that similarity that helps us all connect, relate, and unite in a common goal of healing and awareness.
Those similarities were evident once again, when I recently had the opportunity to speak with Abuse Survivor, Author, Advocate, and Ambassador, Nikki DuBose. It was such a privilege to spend some time talking with Nikki about not only her past; the abuse and trauma that she endured, but also about her advocacy work now and her amazing story of survival.
As a former model, Nikki has spent time in the public spotlight, living and working all over the world, but at the same time, also hiding a secret of a traumatic past that she could not escape.
More on Nikki’s story here.
After reading Nikki’s memoir I was lost for words. What a remarkable woman, I thought, and oh so courageous! To openly speak out about darker times in your past is draining, difficult and so daunting (I know because I’ve also opened up about my mental health issues through the form of poetry in book form). Putting it out there, for the world to see, is absolutely terrifying. And Nikki shares so much with us. You can’t fault a word in Nikki’s memoir: It is her whole life in your hands. You can feel it. You can feel her pain, her thought process, and more importantly – her desire to be loved. Nikki desperately wanted to be loved throughout her whole life and it breaks your heart reading about her life knowing that there is nothing you can do. I wanted to reach out to this young girl and tell her she is deeply loved – if only someone had.
Read the full review at Charlene McElhinney.
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/
“As a former model, commercial actress and host, I enjoyed my share of success within the fashion and entertainment industries. I also suffered from binge eating disorder, bulimia and anorexia nervosa for the length of my career—although the behaviors didn’t begin in the industry, they were exacerbated by things I heard, saw and experienced: things like sexual harassment, trauma, bullying, exposure to wild parties, drinking, drugs and the daily pressure to lose weight. At the beginning of my career I was curvy and healthy—but by the time I left the business, I was unrecognizable even to my agents. Eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder had ravaged my mind, body and spirit, and thus, in 2012 I decided to leave; it was the greatest decision of my life. I’ve been sober for over four years, free from my eating disorders for almost three, written a book about my recovery and the modeling business,* currently speak about mental health and am a supporter of Assemblymember Marc Levine’s AB 2539.** Here’s why I’m so passionate about the bill.”
Read more on The National Eating Disorders Association.
“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.
“’I did become very successful but I paid a very high price,’ said Nikki DuBose, who has graced the covers of magazines. ‘I didn’t want to be involved in an industry that was making me sick.’
Sick from eating disorders, her mental and physical health suffering, DuBose left the business four years ago.
She’s now a Los Angeles-based author, advocate, and a support of AB2539, a bill proposed by a Northern California assemblyman.”
Read more and watch Nikki’s exclusive interview on CBS LA.
“Nikki Dubose, una ex modelo que ha manifestado su apoyo a este proyecto de ley, ha comentado en un comunicado oficial lo siguiente: ‘como ex modelo y superviviente de un grave desorden alimenticio, sé que este tipo de legislación se necesita de forma crítica.'”
Read more on Vogue Spain.
“The evidence of eating disorders in the modelling industry is alarming,” Levine said, while former model-turned-advocate Nikki DuBose supported the legislation with a statement, asserting: ‘As a former fashion model and an eating-disorder survivor, I know that this legislation is critically needed.'”
Read more on Vogue UK.
The Duchess of Windsor once said, ‘you can never be too rich or too thin.’ But a Bay Area lawmaker believes she is wrong–at least on one account–and has proposed a ban on models who look ‘too thin’ on the runway.
In fact, San Rafael Assemblyman Marc Levine wants to ban anorexic models on the catwalk altogether. He has introduced AB2539, which takes its cue from a similar laws already on the books in France, Italy and Spain. The hope is that models will stop starving themselves to get work, and women and girls will stop starving themselves to look like models.
Read more on CBS San Fransisco.
“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. Legislation proposed by California state Assembly member, Marc Levine, follows efforts in several countries to fight anorexia and other eating disorders among models, who are relentlessly pressured to lose weight or lose work. ‘The evidence of eating disorders in the modeling industry is alarming,’ Levine, a Democrat, who represents the Marin County suburbs of San Francisco, said in a statement on Monday.”
Read more on The Fashion Law.
“If former fashion model Nikki DuBose gets her wish, models in California would be legally prohibited from being too skinny.
A new bill, AB2539, introduced Monday by Assemblyman Marc Levine, would require any model working in California to be approved by a doctor certifying they don’t suffer from an eating disorder.”
Read more on Inquisitr.
“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.