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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.”

“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:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt: Book Review

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own


  1. It sounds like moms should get ahold of that book and learn–My two oldest are in the tween years. One is a good eater, one hates food. I don’t really know what to do for either. And that third one is growing up more quickly than I prefer too.

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      Kids are such picky eaters aren’t they. Mine thinks that anything with a green speck in it is considered tainted goods – a.k.a health food so he won’t eat it. Except he eats broccoli which is odd.
      I think this book is a phenomenal read for anyone – women and men, moms and dads. She writes without reserve and I applaud her for that because I learned so much about eating disorders and how an individual is absolutely tormented by thoughts and fears. It’s horrendous. I think for Nikki, hers stemmed more from childhood trauma than from striving to be absolutely perfect in the fashion industry although while in modeling, it only spiraled further. Her story – life, it’s just wow…heartbreaking but inspiring and it’s just a fantastic read.

  2. Oh, my god. This sounds so much like the Bill Cosby victims. It doesn’t surprise me that many young models are exploited and in this case drugged and raped (shudder!!). It sounds like an important read, Kim. Thanks for sharing this. It’s incredible Nikki found her voice. That is a powerful thing to do and the road to healing for her. I will add this to my to be read shelf on Goodreads.

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      It is such a phenomenal memoir. I had a hard time putting it down. So well written too – There are many layers to her story right from childhood that I am in complete awe of her inner strength to keep pushing through. And to become an advocate for women. It’s really great Lisa.

  3. Going to order this right now.
    …as I just Loooove women who RISE UP and Take POWER!!! xxx

    • Kimberly Kimberly


  4. Adding this to my to-read list. At 50 I’m still battling my own demons, and I love reading about women who have fought back against others’ unreasonable expectations and multiple types of abuse. It’s inspiring!

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      I have been following Nikki after I finished this book and she is a fierce advocate for mental health. She’s unbelievable. This book is so well written – it’s raw, real, and heartbreaking but at the same time, so inspirational. I have bipolar disorder and so I was able to connect at different aspects in her struggle. This is a phenomenal read.

  5. Sadly, I’m not really surprised. I bet it’s a riveting book.
    Ads with supermodels – another form of “fake news”?

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      It is a really good memoir. She is such a strong advocate for mental health. I’ve been following her ever since I read her book.

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      It is such a fantastic read. You’ll love it.

  6. Kat Kat

    Adding to my list! What a heart breaking hand she’s been dealt from so early on. She’s very articulate in the video! And that book cover is amazing.

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      It is such a fantastic memoir Kat. It really is. And she’s a wonderful advocate for mental health too. And yes, that cover! BAM. That’s actually her – well obviously art added.

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