Self-love during the Holidays

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).

God Bless,

Nikki DuBose

Overcoming Trauma and Mental Illness with Not Broken Radio, Brett Francis

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 nikki@nikkidubose.com

With love,

Nikki

Grazia French: Cameron Russell dénonce des agressions sexuelles dans la mode

#metoo…

Merci de mentionner mon histoire d’abus sexuels pendant ma carrière de mannequin.   

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.

 

 

The Way-Out Podcast with Charlie LeVoir and Nikki DuBose

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.

Listen to part one of the podcast.

Listen to part two of the podcast. 

To The Bone: Controversy, Conversation, Eating Disorder Hope

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. 

Not Broken Radio Show – EP 58 – How to Love Yourself with Nikki DuBose

Listen as Nikki DuBose shares with Host Brett Francis why she made the decision to leave her modeling career behind in 2012 (hint: it has a lot to do with self-love)!

 

Podcast: Surviving My Past with Nikki DuBose

Listen to the inspiring podcast!

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.

 

God’s Word Has the Power to Defeat #MentalIllness

NY Daily News: Child sex abuse survivors fear Cuomo walking back promise to push Child Victims Act

Nikki DuBose, an abuse victim and former model, said she is “quite annoyed” that Cuomo doesn’t seem to be pushing harder for passage of a bill.

“The governor is failing his constituents — those who are abused, abandoned and who cannot advocate for themselves,” DuBose said in an email.

Read the full article on The New York Daily News.

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.

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!

Another Great Review of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

I squeezed in between Vanessa and Sarah on the bow of the sea doo boat and leaned my head back into my shoulders to let the sun bake away at the freakishly boy short tan lines on the tops of my thighs. As the boat bobbled further away from the campground on the small lake waves, Sarah pulled out a bag of chips. Vanessa tapped her stomach and shook her head no and then she patted mine.

“I envy your tummy you know. Always have.”

“I do too. It’s so flat. You must do something at home,” Lana said from behind.

I felt the blood rush to my cheeks and I quickly draped a Minnie Mouse beach towel over myself.

“No, I don’t do anything.”

“Well I’ve been doing these crunches that I saw in my mom’s magazine. I do like 100 of them. I brought it with me. We should all do them when we get back.”

Read the full review at All Work And No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Something

She’s Fit to Lead: Book Review – Washed Away by Nikki DuBose

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.

PsychCentral: Paranoia my old friend

The other day, while sitting and rehashing all of my thoughts over to my psychiatrist through the computer screen, I began to feel annoyed. There he was, blissfully writing away on his notepad, while I regurgitated the same, unhappy words. “What does he really think? And why does he find my pain so funny?” I thought. But then I stopped and started to listen to my words. And I realized something. As much as I had tried to fool myself into thinking that I was no longer a paranoid person, or unaffected by the thoughts and behaviors of others, I was completely and utterly wrong.

So I snapped out of my tunnel, looked him square in the eyes (which can be hard for me to do with him), and said, “Stop writing on your little notepad.” He stopped. I noticed that he was maintaining that smirk on his face. I continued. “No matter how much I talk to you, my paranoia still exists, and in fact, it seems to get worse. And…all you can do is smile. I feel crazy!”

Read more on PsychCentral.

Miss Millennia Mag – Advocate for Yourself #LikeaGirl: An Interview with Nikki DuBose

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.

a plus: Model-Turned-Activist Nikki Dubose Is Speaking Out Against Ineffective Sexual Abuse Laws In New York

Nikki Dubose says she won’t give up on her fight make kids safer.

The 31-year-old model-turned-activist has already made a name for herself by speaking up about sexual assault. Now, though, she’s taking the platform she’s built and using it to try and change laws to protect children from sexual violence.

Her first stop? New York, where she’s hoping to help push through The Omnibus Child Victims Act.

“In New York, they have the worst laws in the entire nation as far as protecting children from sexual abuse,” DuBose told A Plus. “There is only a five-year window after you’re 18 years old that someone can report what has happened to them.”

Read more on a plus.

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.

Addiction Hope: The Mother-Daughter Addiction

“…She flipped the truck into a ditch and just left the scene. Nikki…we can’t find her.”
I hung up. My momma: the adult, the child, my everything.
I slid to the floor and smacked my head with my fist.

“God, help me!” I thought. I desperately wanted the pain to end, and for our lives to be normal, but life had been chaotic for so long, perhaps this was our normal.

…I let the cold water wash over my blistered knuckles and stared into the mirror. The only face I recognized was Momma’s; she was all I wanted. Her reflection blended into mine and brought me face-to-face with some disturbing truths. Why was I incapable of taking care of myself? Why couldn’t I take care of her? “God, where are you? Don’t you love us?” I thought.

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

For most of my life, I never wanted to come to terms with the fact that I was an addict to pretty much everything. Addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, money, fame, success, love, food, on and on. Basically, I just wanted anything to simultaneously temper the sting of loneliness and boost my low self-esteem.

Read more on Addiction Hope.

Times Union: Sour, sweet opening addresses for session

Model, and actress turned author Nikki DuBose urges passage of the Child Victims Act outside the Senate Parlor as the 2017 session of the NYS Legislature begins Wednesday Jan. 4, 2017 in Albany, NY. Read more at Times Union.

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.

The Mental Illness Happy Hour

Glamorously Dying: Ex-Model Nikki DuBose

The 31 year-old ex-model (Vogue, Vanity Fair) discusses surviving incest by her mother (who was also an alcoholic with BiPolar and DID aka Multiple Personality Disorder) and a lifetime of battling eating disorders (binging, bulimia, anorexia), depression, anxiety, psychosis, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, alcoholism and drug and sex addiction. She reflects on the physical and emotional bottom that finally made her walk away from modeling and seek help, ironically as her emaciated body was more desirable than ever in the industry.

Listen to the podcast here.

Get An Autographed Copy of Washed Away for the Holidays!

There’s still time to get your autographed copy of Washed Away for your loved one this holiday season! Just click the Buy Now button below and your copy will be on the way.

Personalization inside book



Reader’s Favorite Review for Washed Away

“Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, a memoir written by Nikki Dubose with James Johanson, is a series of dark memories of her dysfunctional family life, and the misery caused by addictions and abuse. Nikki Dubose recounts the tragic story of her life, dealing with severe eating disorders and mental challenges. Her sad story reveals a less-than-glamorous look at the world of modelling. While she is not casting aspersions on the high class world of models, she does reveal how physical and mental issues can greatly affect the choices one makes. As family and friendships come and go, and people accept then reject her, she finally grasps an opportunity to turn from her ugly duckling persona in order to become a beautiful cleansed swan – metaphorically speaking.”

Read more on Reader’s Favorite.

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

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

I’m hosting a weekly mental health chat and YOU get to decide the topics!

Hi everyone! Starting next week, I’ll pick a mental health topic that you decide on – anything from psychosis to dissociative identity disorder to addictions to what it was like to have mental illness in the modeling industry – things that I cover in my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, and I’ll discuss them with you. These videos are meant to be both educational and from the perspective of my own experiences. I’ll be answering any questions you may have, so please leave them in the comments on YouTube and be kind.

 

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

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

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

Read more on The Mighty.

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

“Nikki DuBose’s eating disorder that began in childhood was exacerbated by her high-profile modeling career, but the tragic death of her mother sparked a life transformation. She quit the modeling industry and has since served as a driving force behind proposed legislation to ban underweight models and regulate the industry in California. DuBose is telling this powerful story in her new memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, which was released on Aug. 25.”

Read the full interview on Recovery.org.

Feminine Collective – Sex, BDD & Self-Destruction

‘”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.

The Exclusive Book Launch Event Has Been Postponed!

Book Launch _Nikki DuBose Shannon Kopp

 

Hang Tight! The Book Launch of the Year is coming soon! Date: TBA

We can’t wait to have you as we celebrate the launch of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light (by Nikki DuBose), and the paperback release of Pound for Pound: A Story of One Woman’s Recovery and the Shelter Dogs Who Loved Her Back to Life (by Shannon Kopp).

When: TBA

What: Appetizers, Refreshments, Book Launch!

Where: Montecatini Outpatient Office – 6183 Paseo Del Norte, Suite 110 – Carlsbad, CA 92011

RSVP: shannon.gusy@gmail.com

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is a memoir that recounts the experiences of model Nikki DuBose as she overcomes a more than seventeen-year battle with abuse, child sexual victimization, eating disorders, alcoholism, drugs, depression, suicide attempts, body dysmorphic disorder, and various other mental health issues, all while trying to navigate through the dark side of the fashion industry.

Her journey began as a young, introverted child with a florid imagination growing up in Charleston, South Carolina. By the age of eight she had been sexually, physically, and emotionally abused and had developed an eating disorder. The abuse warped Nikki’s self-perception and sparked patterns of depression and destructive behavior that stayed with her into adulthood. In her early twenties she began working as a television host and started a career in modeling. Eventually Nikki attained success, appearing on the covers of magazines such as Maxim, shooting for editorials like Vanity Fair, Glamour, and FHM, and appearing in campaigns for Perry Ellis.

Cast into a world of excess, superficiality, and vanity, Nikki traveled the globe and experienced the finest that the material world had to offer, all while feeling empty inside. Her disorders, addictions and mental health issues took her to the brink of mortality and only though a deeply painful inner-battle and her mother’s death was she able to reconnect the lost pieces of her soul and see the person she had so long rejected.

Her recovery from a nearly lifelong struggle with PTSD, psychosis, addictions and eating disorders has left Nikki with a passionate longing to help others who are also suffering by advocating for mental health and self-acceptance. In America, more than sixty-one million individuals are affected by mental illness. Child sexual abuse affects more than forty-five million people in the United States alone, yet it is still regarded as one of the most shameful issues to date. Eating disorders affect millions and are one of the most destructive and life-threatening mental afflictions today – anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychological illness. Despite the extent of the suffering, eating disorders and mental health issues are poorly understood in popular culture and are often stigmatized, mocked, or even glorified because of misconceptions and ignorance over the seriousness of the manner. Although the modeling industry has made strides towards body diversity in the past couple of years, there is a lack of education and awareness surrounding eating disorders and other mental health issues. We believe that through the recent societal trends and improved sharing of information, we are beginning to break this paradigm, therefore another aim of this book will be to educate the public. Washed Away: From Darkness to Light will serve as a testimony to others to let them know that they are not alone in their fears, doubts, and frustrations, and that through recovery all things are possible. (nikkidubose.com)

Pound for Pound is an inspirational tale about one woman’s journey back to herself, and a heartfelt homage to the four-legged heroes who unexpectedly saved her life.

For seven years, Shannon Kopp battled the silent, horrific, and all-too-common disease of bulimia. Then, at twenty-four, she got a job working at the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, where in caring for shelter dogs, she found the inspiration to heal and the courage to forgive herself. With the help of some extraordinary, homeless animals, Shannon realized that her suffering was the birthplace of something beautiful. Compassion.

Shannon’s poignant memoir is a story of hope, resilience, and the spiritual healing animals bring to our lives. Pound for Pound vividly reminds us that animals are more than just friends and companions-they can teach us how to savor the present moment and reclaim our joy. Rich with emotion and inspiration, Pound for Pound is essential reading for animal lovers and anyone who has struggled to change. (www.shannonkopp.com)

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

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

Read my latest blog post on The Huffington Post.

Sober = Fun. Really! Find Out Why…

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

Read more on Clinical Addiction Recovery Institute.

CNN Money – Runway Injustice: How the modeling industry exploits young and vulnerable workers

“Stolen pay. Sexual harassment. Months without a paycheck. Outrageous fees and expenses that eat away at earnings. And no one to turn to for help.

Models allege that labor abuses like these run rampant in the modeling industry — leaving many workers feeling more like indentured servants than the glamorous high fashion icons young girls around the world dream of becoming.”

Read more on CNN Money.

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

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

Read more on The Huffington Post.

NAASCA Podcast – Stop Child Abuse Now with Bill Murray

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

“Tonight’s special guest is Nikki DuBose from Los Angeles, a child abuse survivor who was later abused as a young professional model. Among other things, Nikki advocates on her web site for better regulation of the modeling industry (she tells me about 40% of models have an eating disorder and that there’s a lot of sexual abuse/harassment). Nikki also works closely with Matt Sandusky at the “Peaceful Hearts Foundation,” where she serves on the Executive Board and is their Volunteer Director. Nikki says, “I wholeheartedly believe that full recovery is possible, but it starts with speaking out and reducing the shame and stigma that is so often attached to mental health issues.” In her upcoming memoir, “Washed Away: From Darkness to Light,” due out later this year, Nikki details how being sexually abused as a child led to a seventeen-year battle with serious mental health issues such as eating disorders, depression, self-harm, body dysmorphic disorder, substance abuse and sexual addictions. During her career as a professional model, she encountered a great deal of success, yet that prosperity came with a high price – one that often mirrored the sexual abuse from her childhood. Coming to a place of full healing has not been easy for Nikki, but she says, “Being an advocate is what allows me to wake up every day and feel truly alive. All of that pain that I lived with for so many years is now channeled into making a difference in society. Whatever issues you’re passionate about, use your voice and the resources you have; love yourself first and from there you can help to change the world.”

 

VLOG Episode 5: Male Models and Body Image Issues

VLOG: What Advice Would I Give to My Younger Self?

Thank you Jenni Schaefer, Eating Recovery Center, and Project Heal, for allowing me to be a part of this inspiring recovery series!

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

“Nikki DuBose’s time in the modeling industry was anything but positive.

‘I experienced everything negative that you could imagine in the modeling industry,’ the former model, 31, tells PEOPLE. ‘I was raped in the modeling industry. I was sexually harassed. I had eating disorders which were exacerbated by the modeling industry, and I was pressured by the director of my agency about sleeping with him, and all of these things really triggered my mental health condition.'”

Read more on People.

Find out the untold story of Nikki DuBose

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

Nikki DuBose CBS Los Angeles

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

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

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

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

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

The Fashion Law – Proposed California Law Aims to Reduce Eating Disorders Among Models

“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.

Speak2Heal Episode 7: Eating Disorders & Ambivalence

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:

  1. Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food by Jan Chozen Bays, MD
  2. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn