Review of Washed Away by The Aspiring Wordsmith

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. 

A Beautiful Chaos Review of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

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.

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. 

Gemma Callaway’s Review of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

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. 

LWVLAC: Mental Health Position 2016-2018

League of Women Voters of Los Angeles County

Co-Chairs: Linda Paquette & Nikki DuBose

League of Women Voters of California Mental Health Care

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: 

  1. An adequately funded county mental health care system which:
    1. Provides comprehensive services to the acutely, chronically and seriously mentally ill of all ages;
    2. Place emphasis on meeting the needs of children;
    3. Seeks additional funds to provide preventative services;
    4. Offers mental health services for the homeless;
    5. Maintains optimal mental health services for all clients.
  2. Implementation of a master plan which:
    1. Ensures that there will be a network of integrated community based services clearly defined and consistent;
    2. Advocates an awareness of and concern about the critical unmet needs within the county;
    3. Emphasizes case management which includes assistance with housing, financial, entitlements, rehabilitative and vocational programs.
  3. Centers for the seriously and chronically mentally ill apart from the county system.
  4. Regulations which provide an adequate length of time for evaluation and treatment of involuntary holds.
  5. 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

FoodieRN – Episode 11: Interview with Nikki DuBose

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. 

Listen here. 

United As One Voice – Washed Away: From Darkness to Light Book Review

“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.

Psych Central – I Needed Color to Heal from Depression

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.

PsychCentral – Seeing Life Differently: Using Art to Heal with Bipolar Disorder

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.

Eating Disorder Hope: Portraits of An Eating Disorder

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 [1].”

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 [1].

Read the full blog at Eating Disorder Hope.

Above Anxiety: Mental Health Meets Modeling

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.

Bookspin: Self-Image by Nikki DuBose

Self-Image

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.

The Good Men Project: Interview with Nikki DuBose – An Inspiring Story of Survival and Advocacy

“Trauma survivors come from all walks of life, all over the world, and while each of us is a unique individual in our own right, our survivor stories are 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.”

Read the full interview with Matt and Nikki on The Good Men Project.

#Don’tMiss Loving Yourself in Recovery

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

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

With love and gratitude,

Nikki DuBose

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

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

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

Read the full blog at PsychCentral.

Slay Girl Society Review of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

If you are looking for a story about a remarkable human being, with perseverance and resilience, who describes her horrifying and haunting life story with candor and courage, than I highly recommend Washed Away: From Darkness To Light, a memoir by Nikki DuBose with James Johanson. It is definitely not a light read – so be forewarned now. Washed Away is emotionally wrenching, compelling and brutally honest, truly providing insight into the mind of someone with mental illness and allowing the reader to understand her deepest and darkest thoughts.

Read the full review at Slay Girl Society.

NEDA: From Suffering to Triumph: How I Overcame PTSD

It is a widely-known, yet little-talked-about fact that trauma in childhood can lead to the development of unhealthy and potentially-fatal coping behaviors such as eating disorders. Until a few years ago, I never spoke a word about the abuse that I had endured in my household, as well as the disordered behaviors I lived with for most of my life as a result.

That all changed when I left my high-profile modeling career, got a mentor, went through recovery, and began writing. Once I started writing, it was as if I had blown the cap off a lid of a tightly-sealed bottle of explosives; all of my memories shattered onto the keyboard, and I couldn’t stop writing about them.

Read the full post at National Eating Disorders Association.

This road called adoption

There is a road I’m walking on that I never thought I would. The road is simultaneously full of potholes and patches of silky, green grass. At times, just when I feel as though I’ve reached the end of this road, the wind whispers, and I realize I’ve been fooled. The illusion fades, melting the road into a thousand miles again.

Read the full post at PsychCentral.

Eating Disorder Hope: How Eating Disorders Affect Work and School

Being broke, frustrated, and uncertain about the future wasn’t such a bad thing. The ball was in my corner; I could start over clean on the West Coast. I left Charleston on a Saturday morning around nine and hightailed it through the states.

The next day, Sunday evening, I rolled up to my new place in Mission Valley. It was a little after eleven; I lugged all of my trash bags into the shared apartment and fell asleep on the couch.

On Monday, I took my remaining money, and on a whim, enrolled in another school. Southern California Esthetics Institute was a four-month-long, intensive esthetician program, and it started the next day.

On the way back to the apartment, I called Dad from the car and told him about my new plan. He was impressed by my persistence to obtain a degree and wired me money to help with the expenses. I felt ridden with guilt; I knew he couldn’t afford to pay my way through school, so I looked for a job right away.

Read the full post on Eating Disorder Hope.

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.

PsychCentral: Whole Foods CEO, Gafni & Senator among those trying to silence victims of child sexual abuse

On February 28th, from 11am to 1pm, myself, along with many other prominent leaders, will be speaking at the Omni Hotel in San Fransisco. Our message to Whole Foods CEO John Mackey will be very clear: reject your relationship with former rabbi, spiritual leader Marc Gafni.

The reasoning for our demand is credible: The New York Times cited Mackey’s and Gafni’s relationship, as well as Gafni’s alleged sexual abuse of a 14-year-old. Ever since I found out last year, I have been protesting for Mackey to step up as a business leader, and speak for the millions of consumers who have been sexually abused. Refusing to do so and remaining silent on the issue, Mackey is enabling the culture of sexual abuse, something that I am all too familiar with. His silence and failure to advocate for consumers demonstrates his inability to be socially and ethically responsible. For more than a year I have stopped shopping at Whole Foods as a direct result of this issue. The Washington Post covered a national protest that I helped organize and participated in along with Peaceful Hearts Foundation, NAASCA, and author Nancy Levine (The Tao of Pug).

The way I see it, Mackey has had significant time to respond to this situation and address the growing culture of child sex abuse and violence. Instead, Mackey has remained friends with Gafni, and Whole Food’s organization, Conscious Capitalism, which was founded by Mackey, has blocked my Twitter account.

Read the full article on PsychCentral.

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

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

Read the full interview on Jenni Schaefer.

PsychCentral: Women, do not be afraid to stand on your own two feminine damn feet

Yesterday, while at a meeting for the League of Women’s Voters Los Angeles, I sat and took it all in. There I was, amongst women who, held varying political preferences, but who were all in the same room for the same reason: to make democracy work. I felt elated and strong. To my right were two teenage girls, who, just a couple of weeks ago, had travelled all the way to Washington DC to attend the Women’s March. They didn’t appear older than sixteen, but they cared enough about standing up for women’s rights that they got on a plane, put on pink, knitted hats, braved the harsh cold and made their voices heard along with over a million men and women at the US Capitol on January 21, 2017.

To my left, were some of the veteran board members, well in their years. And I thought, “Damn. This is amazing. This is how I inspire to be. Continuing to fight for the rights of women and marginalized groups for the rest of my life. Never give up, Nikki. Never, ever give up. These women are so inspiring. What’s their secret?”

Read more on PsychCentral.

Interview with Nikki DuBose on Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Eating Disorders and Recovery

Kimberley Quinlan, LMFT interviews Nikki DuBose on her recovery from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Binge-Eating Disorder and Bulimia Nervosa. Nikki DuBose is a former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate. Her debut memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, speaks about her experience with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Binge-Eating Disorder, Bulimia Nervosa, Schizophrenia and child abuse.

 

Psych Central: Depression doesn’t mean I’m broken, it means I deserve compassion

I could feel the sadness creeping up again, like an unwelcome relative looking over my shoulder and breathing down my neck. I didn’t want it to come, but it did, and I knew that I was helpless to stop it. And then it washed over me; it poured down like a river of madness, and bathed me in uncertainty. As the tears poured down my face and I crawled into bed, I wanted nothing other than to end my own life. Again. But I couldn’t move. I was drowning and stuck staring into nothingness, and the nothingness was ripping my heart apart. As much as I wanted to end my life, I had no energy to get up and do it.

Some time went by, and the energy slowly came back into my body. I muddled around and managed to answer work emails, walk my dog, feed myself and finish some schoolwork. As I drifted around the house and tried to connect with life again, my phone rang. It was a friend, calling to check up on me. My brain told me not to answer it, and I listened. Tomorrow, or maybe the next day, I told myself. Right now, right now I need rest.

Read more on Psych Central.

PsychCentral: To my mother on this day

Nearly seven years ago, I was living in New York City, modeling, and battling several mental illnesses. My mother and I were trying to work through our complicated relationship, one that stemmed from years’ worth of domestic violence, abuse, and alcoholism. In my heart, I wanted so badly to try and understand my mother and have a genuine connection with her, but it was like trying to climb a giant hill wearing cement shoes. Not only did my mental health conditions keep me from moving forward and connecting with her, but so did hers. Bipolar, dissociative identity disorder, and her battle with the bottle were demons that kept her permanently trapped until her death in 2012.

Today would be Mom’s fiftieth birthday, and here I am, in New York City on a business trip, thinking about her.

Read more on PsychCentral.

PsychCentral: Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse is Society’s Responsibility

We have a huge problem in this country when it comes to protecting children from sexual abuse, and that’s denial. As an Executive Board member of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, a child sexual abuse nonprofit, one of the most common issues I come across when a survivor discloses their abuse is denial – from family members, teachers, friends – the list goes on. Myself, a survivor of incest from my late mother from the ages of 9 to 13, and a male figure at the age of 8, I know what it’s like to finally come to terms with the abuse and entrust others with the information, only to have them deny that it ever could have happened. The psychological effects were beyond damaging; I questioned my own sanity, the trauma, and attempted suicide. After all, if no one believed that such heinous acts had occurred, what reasons did I have to go on living? Child sexual abuse left me scarred with depression, psychosis, suicidal ideation and many other mental illnesses, and without proper support, it was only a matter of time before I permanently checked out.

Read more on PsychCentral.

Win A Free Copy of Washed Away with Eating Disorder Hope!

During the month of December, enter to win a FREE copy of my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, with Eating Disorder Hope. Enter to win now!  4200x2800bb

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, psychosis, 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.

Washed Away serves 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.

Sharing My Message of Recovery and God’s Love at Multnomah University

God’s Love is so awesome. It has the power to heal and restore even the most damaged, bitter heart. His Love can literally resurrect someone on the brink of dying. I know because it happened to me. I was a broken, washed up person who had given most of my life to addiction, sex, abuse, and the quest for fame in the modeling and entertainment industries, and God still picked me up and loved me back to wholeness even when I wanted nothing to do with Him.

After all, He had let my mother die from her addiction. He had watched, as my mother was beaten over and over again, listened to her cries for years, and did nothing to heal her pain. He certainly had did nothing to heal mine. Why did he make my mother with mental illnesses? Why did he create me the way He did? Why was I born into a family, raised by male figures who abused me repeatedly, and removed by the police in my teenage years? Did I ever ask for any of that? No, I didn’t.

I definitely don’t have the answers for that, but I do know that He was with me the whole time. He gave me the strength to go through it all, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without those experiences. There is light in the darkness, goodness in the sadness, strength in the pain. We don’t grow by living in comfort, and that is not to excuse the people from my past or what happened to me, but what I’m saying is that I choose to focus on the good, and to use my experiences to help others. There are so many hurting people in this world, and we can all use our pain to help them.

Nikki DuBose

On November 3rd, I participated in an informal Skype talk with the inspiring graduate counseling students at Multnomah University. (This was the first time I’ve done a speaking event via Skype, and it was really cool!) I shared about my debut memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, and told my story of recovery from mental health issues as well as what I’m doing to ensure that there is some sort of mental health education system in place for models and professionals in the fashion industry. It was an incredible talk and the students were highly responsive; to me, it was a testament of the power of God’s love and recovery. A few years ago even, if you would have told me that I would be an author and speaker, sharing my story with people, especially treatment professionals and students, I would have said you are crazy! I used to be terrified of counselors and anyone in the medical field because I didn’t want to release my secrets. But as they say, “We are as sick as our deepest secrets,” and I was dying because of them.

 

I still have secrets, and I am only human. And that’s why I need my relationship with God, treatment professionals, mentors and trusted friends because I am fully capable of failure every singleNikki DuBose Multnomah University Speaker modeling industry washed away book  moment of every single day. But I’m gonna tell you what. Writing, speaking, and doing advocacy to help others is what really lets my soul on fire, it gives me that purpose and that passion to keep on keeping on! And I know that God has a purpose for my life, and that is to help people, and I know He’s got a wonderful plan for you.

See Jeremiah 29:11.

God Bless,

Nikki

Yahoo! Finance – New Memoir ‘Washed Away: From Darkness to Light’ Reveals the Dark Side of the Modeling Industry

“Nikki DuBose, a former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate, announced today the release of her memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light. In Washed Away, Nikki recounts her experiences navigating the dark side of the modeling industry, while battling abuse, addiction, and various mental health issues. In the book trailer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Fop6kvFZI8), she mentions the sexual abuse she encountered, including having been raped by a photographer, and the pressure she felt to lose weight.”

Read more on Yahoo! Finance.

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light Book Trailer

Buy Washed Away: From Darkness to Light now on Outskirts Press!

Outskirts Press Announces Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

“Outskirts Press announces Washed Awunnameday: From Darkness To Light, the latest highly-anticipated biography & autobiography / personal memoirs book from Santa Monica, CA author Nikki DuBose With James Johanson.
September 30, 2016. Denver, CO and Santa Monica, CA – Outskirts Press, Inc. has published Washed Away: From Darkness To Light by Nikki DuBose with James Johanson, which is the author’s most recent book to date. The 6 x 9 black & white paperback in the biography & autobiography / personal memoirs category is available worldwide on book retailer websites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble for a suggested retail price of $27.95. The webpage at www.outskirtspress.com/washedawayfromdarknesstolight was launched simultaneously with the book’s publication.”

Read more on Outskirts Press.

We Choose to Thrive Interview with Nikki DuBose

“Nikki Dubose is an amazing young woman who is actively involved in helping others to live the life they are meant to live. Listen to share her story of her past and her journey to healing and thriving in life.”

Read more about Nikki with author Becky Norwood.

Stories of Hope: An Interview with Nikki DuBose

“This is part of a series featuring individuals who share their life experiences with mental health issues. Recently, I asked writer and mental health advocate Nikki DuBose about her history of mental health issues and her current advocacy work.”

Read Nikki’s interview on davidsusman.com

 

 

 

What I Learned About Love, I Learned From My Dad

“All right now, hold my hand real tight, don’t let go until you know when.” Dad peered down from his dusty baseball cap marked 88 and gripped my hands in his big bear palm. From my tiny viewpoint, the world was blanketed by the nighttime sky and littered in stars. Dad’s smile lit my heart, and at once, I release10422042_748861415164380_5452174188489951681_nd my faith and threw back my head, revealing a deep, belly laugh.

“Anda- one, anda-two, anda-three!” Dad swung me higher and higher, until the third count, when he released me and I soared, just for a few seconds, like a superhero amongst the crowds of blurry faces who were scattered amongst the bleachers. It was race night, and like every other Saturday, it was our time; we didn’t get to see each other often, but when we did, time stopped and life became precious.

I hit the rocky ground on both legs safely with a resounding “thud,” and, although shocked, I quickly dusted myself off and turned to face the one person who I knew would be right behind me. “That’s my girl! Didn’t think I’d let you down, did ya?” Dad swept me up in his arms and carried me back to the bleachers, as all fear of the unknown faded away.

My dad has always been my hero, whether or not he truly knows it. In my eyes, I couldn’t tell him enough. And when it comes to my relationships I’ve learned a lot through my biggest one: the one with my father. He’s taught me so much about what it means to love people for who they are on the inside, to see beyond the exterior package. The obvious is not what we see, it is what we choose to get to know about someone that makes them beautiful. Growing up in a small, country, two-bedroom home that raised over twenty children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Dad learned early the value of staying close and loving through it all. As I went through my struggles, he not only taught those to me, he showed them, too.

I’ve learned what it means to let go and allow love in. What it means to heal. For most of my life I shut myself off to love and used relationships as a way to abuse myself and others, long after my abusers left. Dad has always been there, in the background, offering advice and encouragement in his own kind way. The faith that he instilled in me as a child has slowly grown over time, and without his care, I don’t know where I’d be. At thirty and through two marriages, I can’t deny the huge role that his stability has played.

I finally know what it means to love myself. Although this one, like every relationship, is one that is a constant work in progress, the love I have for myself is mirrored by the love Dad has for himself. As we’ve grown and constructed healthier lives, our self-images have been strengthened. My dad has a much better image of himself than he used to, especially when I was living in the depths of my eating disorders. A perfectionist at my core, Dad’s voice was always in the back of my mind whispering, “You don’t have to be perfect for someone to love you.” When I was at one of the lowest points in my life at eighteen and attempted suicide, I never imagined that I could flourish and get to the place of contentment that I am in now.

Because of our relationship, I’ve learned what I want in a partner, and what I don’t want, the latter through my own trials and errors. I learned that I want someone faithful, loving, and kind. A person who looks past the obvious; someone who sees my soul. And just like Dad, someone who is always there to catch me when I fall.

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

Speaking Event — Los Angeles County Psychological Association ED SIG

A recap in photos of the March 4th, 2016 speaking event at the LACPA Eating Disorder Special Interest Group. A big thank you to Dr. Muhlheim and the Los Angeles County Psychological Association!

 

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Paint Me A Soul — Part Two

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

My remaining weeks in Los Angeles had been spent in sheer agony. In order to conform myself to the size that the esteemed modeling agency had asked, I had dropped to even more desperate measures than normal. Day after grueling day, I lived in hell. A blistering inferno that I couldn’t get out of.

Inside my mental blazes, I ran around in circles, unable to escape my insanities.

Every day I exercised for hours, binged, purged and locked myself in the bathroom to scrutinize my face and body. The only times I left my house were to get more supplies to fuel my obsessions. I took photograph after photograph of myself to see how much weight I had lost. In my mind, the more weight I lost, the more I achieved, and the more I achieved, the more valuable I was, to myself and to the modeling agency. My self worth was determined by people who only cared about my appearance and how much money I could rake in, but I didn’t care, I had no real love for myself.

October, 2008.

Christmas was only a couple of months away but the Miami weather raged on as if the summer had no end. As soon as I stepped off the plane in the sweltering Florida sun I sensed adventure, mixed with a feeling I couldn’t quite place. This undertaking would turn out to be one that I wouldn’t necessarily want to take.

I was instructed by the agents to come in the following day and sign my paperwork. I was overwhelmed by the move, the excitement of being in a new city and the fact that I was going to be a bona fide model! No longer would I just fantasize about being a model, I was actually going to be one. Pride washed over me and all at once I wanted to soar through the clouds and gaze at all the commoners in Florida. They would soon be seeing me on the billboards…I was a star!

The scenery the next afternoon on the way to the agency was quite a change from my safe house in Los Angeles. Girls and guys buzzed about on the white sanded beaches in barely-there bathing suits, rollerblading and confidently participating in a variety of sports. It was not going to be so easy to hide here. I pulled down my form-fitting skirt and withdrew my face as I passed through a dozen restaurants. The agents had informed me that I should wear something body-hugging, but now I was regretting it. I could feel a thousand unwanted eyes ripping off my clothes. I walked faster. As I entered into the sleek, two-story agency that faced the crystal ocean, I quietly took a seat and soaked in the moment.

I was the only person in the waiting area. All around me were large framed photographs of supermodels I recognized from the eighties and nineties. I was in awe. Did that mean I would be a supermodel, too? In my heart, I hoped so. I held my portfolio tightly and noticed a tall wall of composite cards. Rows of models that belonged to the agency were on display. I observed each and every one.

Wow, I thought. I wish I could look like her. I wonder what it’s like to be her, to be like that.

I became lost in the sea of faces and felt myself drowning.

Had I lost enough weight? Would they accept me?

I nervously tapped my foot but tried to appear calm and collected. My jittery eyes led to a second level that wrapped around to a glass enclosure. Inside a few agents stayed glued to their computers and telephones. They didn’t acknowledge my presence. I checked my phone; 2:49. The appointment was at 2:30. I bit my breath and quietly sat. In my stillness I was sorely reminded of one thing: how much I missed mom. In that moment I contemplated about what it would be like for her to be there with me, sitting beside me and cheering me on. I wanted her to be proud of me. I couldn’t wait to tell her about this opportunity, but most of all, I was tired of being…alone.

 

It All Starts With Love

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Sapan Karecha is an artist, photographer and musician living in New York City. He has personally seen the harmful effects that eating disorders can have, as a couple of people in his family have been affected. Sapan is a proud supporter of our Artist Initiative Team for the Los Angeles NEDA Walk, and has even created a special art piece to be printed on T-shirts for the walk! We are honored to share his story and find out what his artwork represents.

The art piece I created for (The LA Artist Initiative Team) features four words written on the iris and pupil of an eye: hope, healing, happiness, and central to it all, love. Finding harmony in our personal lives and contributing to harmony as members of a greater community comes from non-judgmental love and compassion. We must always look at ourselves and others with loving, compassionate eyes, because this is how the seeds of hope, healing, and happiness are sown. It all begins with love.

I decided to become involved with (The National Eating Disorders Association) because the two women whom I love most are survivors of eating disorders. Having seen first-hand what eating disorders can do—the physical and emotional ravages they wreak—this is an issue close to my heart. NEDA provides valuable resources and education to those who seek help, and is a beacon of positivity, awareness, and prevention. I support NEDA, and I thank NEDA.”

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

 

 

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cup Ice Cream

This recipe is a bit time consuming but SO worth it!

(Note: Please make the Almond butter cups ahead of time and refrigerate them until they harden. Then break them apart organically into crumbles to add into the ice cream just before the ice cream is done mixing in the machine.)

 Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cup Ice Cream

 

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Almond Butter Cups

You will need: 

7 oz. 100% dark chocolate (70% or above is ok, depending on your preference)

1/2 cup natural almond butter

2 TBS. Torani sugar-free vanilla syrup

1 TBS. Stevia/monk fruit

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

To make: 

First, separate the dark chocolate into smaller pieces and then melt on a double boiler, stirring continuously until perfectly smooth. Line the muffin pan with paper cups and pour a teaspoon of the chocolate into each cup. Blend the almond butter and remaining ingredients, then roll into teaspoon-sized balls before pressing into each chocolate filling.

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Cover every cup with the remaining dark chocolate and refrigerate them until completely hard. After they have hardened, break them into chunks and use them for later in the recipe.

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Next, for the ice cream!

 Dark Chocolate Ice Cream 

You will need: 

13.5 oz Coconut Almond Milk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup equivalent Stevia

Chocolate Sauce (Recipe is below)

Half the batch of the Almond Butter cups, hardened and crumbled

To make: 

Add the coconut almond milk to a saucepan over medium heat, and stir for about seven minutes. During that time add the vanilla extract and sweetener, stirring to combine well.  Cover in a container with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours until the mixture is cool.

While the mixture is cooling down, make the chocolate sauce:

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Dark Chocolate Sauce

You will need: 

3 TBS. coconut almond milk

1 TBS. cacao powder

1/2 oz. unsweetened dark chocolate (100%)

2 TBS. Stevia/monk fruit extract

1 TBS. melted coconut oil

1/4 tsp. vanilla

To make: 

Combine all of the ingredients while waiting for the ice cream to set.

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Once the coconut milk mixture is ready, add it to your ice cream maker and make it according to your machine’s directions. My ice cream maker takes around 30 minutes to produce one batch, however different styles call for different times. Just before the ice cream is done churning, add the almond butter cups and drizzle in the chocolate sauce.

You can serve this immediatley or freeze it for another couple of hours, whatever you prefer!

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God Bless,

Nikki DuBose