Friday, 14 July 2017

Mental Health Meets Modelling


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.


'Washed Away' explores a wide range of important topics far beyond what I had imagined it was going to and in a way that is real and honest. Nikki really does wear her heart on her sleeve throughout the book, so much so that you can't help but become emotionally invested in each and every word.

She is able to convey her thoughts and feelings in such a way that you as the reader feel as though you have a front-row seat in her mind. From eating disorders to psychosis,  her accounts of her own inner battle give a truthful insight into the harsh reality of what it's like to live with such conditions.

"...I believed that who I was as a human being was a mistake, and feelings of worthlessness replaced my natural joy." - Nikki Dubose

Suffering from an eating disorder and other mental health conditions myself, much of the book resonated with me. Many of the evil, manipulative and self-criticising thoughts that repeatedly tormented Nikki throughout her life I could relate to as if they were my own. She isn't afraid to delve into the reality of what it's like to struggle with mental illness, along with describing in explicit detail the often distressing thoughts and behaviours that accompany it.


In a word, I would describe 'Washed Away: From Darkness to Light' as hard-hitting. It deals with some sensitive subject matters that desperately need to be given more attention within society. Despite my initial concerns, the book does not glamorise mental illness in the slightest - quite the opposite in fact. Nikki's brutal honesty makes it a difficult read in places, yet at the same time it's refreshing to read such a raw account of her oftentimes unsettled life.

My favourite part of the book had to be the 'Key Concepts' described in the epilogue, in which Nikki outlines some essential lessons she has learnt throughout her recovery.  One concept that particularly stuck with me is when she explains how she 'had to get rid of the victim mentality' to progress with recovery:

"Although mental health issues are not the sufferer's fault, at some point the individual needs to take personal responsibility for his or her recovery." - Nikki Dubose

If you choose to read 'Washed Away' or have even already read it, I'd love to know your thoughts. I would advise, however, that if you have ever been affected by abuse and/or mental illness, you be mindful of your own wellbeing and any potential triggers throughout the book.

You can find out more about Nikki DuBose and her advocacy work here.

Thanks for reading,


I would like to thank Book Publicity Services for sending me a complimentary copy of the book to review on my blog. 
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