Addiction in the Modeling Field – Part 2
J – Now, when you were in the thick of the modeling industry and at these events with all of these substances available to you, did you see, among other models, a personality style that was more vulnerable to falling pretty to being exploited or addicted?
N – Everyone is different but, as I shared my own experiences, I came to the realization that I was very vulnerable. I came from a world where I was abused as a child, and I was looking to get away from that environment where I didn’t have a lot of nurturing and caring from my parents.
I wanted people to see me. I wanted my face to be out there. I wanted people to know who I was.
The modeling industry was this vessel for me to be seen and heard but it wasn’t a healthy environment, either, so I just went from one unhealthy environment to another.
The drugs and the alcohol were just “add-ons” for me to exploit myself.
There are many vulnerable young people in the modeling industry who are specifically chosen because they are easily manipulated. Often they come from Eastern Europe of the South or the middle of the United States where their parents are okay with them being taken away and nurtured by strangers and agents.
In my personal opinion, I think any strong-minded and healthy family should not let their child do that. It is not my place to judge families but having their children looked after by strangers in the business puts them in risky situations.
It is much less conventional than growing up living with your parents and going to college, having a much more streamlined and healthy life planned out that is also saner.
Comparing and contrasting these two environments, the young person getting involved in modeling is much more vulnerable than one who has a stable and supportive family that will think for themselves.
They would ask themselves, “is this really what I want or who I want to be?” “Do I trust these photographers, do I trust these agents, do I want to be in this situation?”
They are probably going to be much more self-aware versus someone who doesn’t have that strong family support.
There are a lot of kids out there without that support, a lot of broken homes, a lot of addiction in homes, abuse in homes.
I do think agents target those areas of low-income where kids are growing up fast and will just sign a contract.
This is not to say that all agents do that or are bad people but just that this is the way the business has always been.
Added to this is the fact that some parents are fame-hungry, as well. They’ll do whatever it takes to have their kid on the face of a billboard without understanding what comes along with that or understanding that their child will be at these parties where people are smoking and drinking.
They don’t understand that their child will be exposed to that. For every billboard or magazine their kid is in, they are going to a dozen parties with photographers and networking opportunities, being exposed to all that comes along with that.
There is a particular type of person that I was around that was similar to me, didn’t have a good family life and was desperate for fame, love, and attention.
I wasn’t getting that at home, so I thought that having it in my career was the key to happiness. Instead, it was the key to disaster because I eventually filled those voids with drugs, alcohol, and sex.
Parents really need to listen to the message that “there is no peace in the entertainment business” and pay attention.
There are a lot of people speaking out now about the realities of fame, but it seems people will still stick their kids into this business and there is no good in that.
I like to tell parents to pay attention to what their inner talents are and to nurture and encourage their kids to do the same, to look inside themselves and love themselves for who they are and to teach their children that there is nothing on the inside that the outside world can replace.
People need to raise their children with this internalized sense of self-worth and, hopefully, a spiritual basis of worth.
Please be sure to read Nikki’s conclusion about “Addiction in the Modeling Field – Part 3.”
Virtual Presentation by Nikki DuBose in the January 24, 2018 Addiction Hope Inaugural Online Conference & link to the press release at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/eating-disorder-hope-offers-inaugural-online-conference-300550890.html
About the Presenter: Nikki DuBose is a model, author, and advocate. She is the Co-Founder of The Artists League for Change, a national nonprofit dedicated to preventing mental health issues and abuse through the creative arts, and is an Ambassador for the Shaw Mind Foundation. Her debut memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light was released September 30, 2016, in the U.S. and will be released in French in 2018 with Editions du Rocher.
Nikki has been featured on television shows and networks such as The Doctors, TD Jakes, CBS Los Angeles, and the Oprah Winfrey Network, and profiled in publications such as People, LA Times, and Vogue UK. She worked alongside Assemblymember Marc Levine on California Assembly Bill 2539, which addressed the need for workplace protections and health standards in the modeling industry. She gives talks regularly on her recovery at universities and treatment centers and writes extensively on mental health, political issues, and the modeling industry on the NY Daily News, The Huffington Post, PsychCentral, and more.
About the Transcript Editor: Margot Rittenhouse is a therapist who is passionate about providing mental health support to all in need and has worked with clients with substance abuse issues, eating disorders, domestic violence victims, and offenders, and severely mentally ill youth.
As a freelance writer for Eating Disorder and Addiction Hope and a mentor with MentorConnect, Margot is a passionate eating disorder advocate, committed to de-stigmatizing these illnesses while showing support for those struggling through mentoring, writing, and volunteering. Margot has a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Johns Hopkins University.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Published on June 27, 2018
Published on AddictionHope.com