Nikki DuBose, 31, has worked as a model, commercial actress and television host before recently beginning a career as an author and mental health advocate. In her time in the public spotlight, she has been known for her looks — but now she's using her platform to speak out against sexual assault.
In a video for Real Women, Real Stories — "a unique project curated by men with the goal of embracing women who are silent in their pain, but want to speak out" — DuBose tells us of her experience being raped, struggling with an eating disorder, and the toxic nature of the modeling industry.
"Unfortunately, I saw the darker side of the industry," DuBose says in the video. "When I was drugged and raped at a lunch with a photographer, I felt completely inhuman and traumatized."
DuBose's courage is an important part of combating rape culture all over the world. Pandora's Project, a support and resource center for survivors of rape, emphasizes that speaking out helps create progress.
"Survivors of sexual assault who publicly speak out create change in the silence that surrounds this crime," their website reads. "Your act of speaking out can end the false sense of shame that survivors often carry."
But DuBose didn't just talk about her sexual assault; she also spoke openly about her eating disorders that she developed while modeling and how the people around her reinforced that behavior by telling her she looked great. It was just one of many pressures she felt while in the industry.
Talking about these issues is no doubt difficult, but hopefully this video will help encourage other survivors to come forward, too.