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.”
“I’m going on a cabbage soup diet before school starts. My mom was on it after she had my sister and she lost like 15 pounds.”
“I don’t think you need to lose any weight.”
“Oh my god. Can’t you see this fat right here?” she pointed to her thighs.
Lana ripped open the bag of chips and began throwing it over the boat for the seagulls.
The pressure to be thin, to be that strikingly beautiful image of perfection that was represented in between every page of the glossy magazines our mom’s brought home and even in the ones that were supposedly geared to my age bracket started for me and my friends at the young age of 12.
Dieting and exercising and pinching our non-existent fat in the mirror at twelve.
What I didn’t know then though, was that the women gracing the covers and the pages were not 100% perfect. No one is. They were made up with lots of make-up and the right lighting and then there’s the Photoshop to make these already stunningly gorgeous women look even more so…
So unattainable – untouchable.
And sometimes there’s horrendous demons, traumas, and secrets, that some of these woman hide behind their smiles in those pictures.
Nikki DuBose is one of those beautiful former models who unabashedly and bravely shares her story in Washed Away: From Darkness To Light
From escaping a very tumultuous childhood that was filled with emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, witnessing her mother’s decline in mental health, to clawing her own way into the fashion industry that was rattled with dark secrets of its own, overcoming an eating disorder, substance abuse, and battling her own mental illness – Nikki DuBose’s memoir was extremely hard to put down.
She writes with such poise and passion. Her recollection of events are so detailed that it makes the reader feel as if you were in the moment with her. You’re immediately connected with Nikki and you desperately want to help her through her journey but you just have to sit back and let it unfold.
But at every downturn in her struggle, she rose above which makes her an inspiration to any woman or man who picks up this book.
I applaud her for the window in which she gives us into the real world of eating disorders. I couldn’t imagine that it was easy. It was tremendously heartbreaking to read the thoughts, rather a voice, that tells her how fat she is and how terrible she is. It is unrelenting. It’s almost like a record player that spins in her mind all day and never lets up. I had no idea how tormenting this was for an individual with an eating disorder or body dismorphic disorder. Then to add the fashion industry into the mix – someone saying to you that your thighs are a smidgen too big. I can’t even imagine.
Here is a video of Nikki talking a bit about her modeling experience:
I don’t want to write what all happened in this book because you’re going to have to read it. Really. It’s not all about fashion. It’s about Nikki DuBose’s life. She does not hold back. It is real. Raw. Honest. It’s an inspirational read and a good one.
I highly recommend it.
You can purchase Washed Away: From Darkness To Light on Amazon
You can also follow Nikki herself on her own website: http://nikkidubose.com/
Prompt: Book Review
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own