As a model pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology, Nikki DuBose is a multifaceted personality who defies conventional norms and is a trailblazer fearlessly paving the way for others to embrace their authentic selves. With her unique resume of creative and professional roles, Nikki has gone through a transformative evolution from the world of fashion to her pursuit of higher academia.
Nikki’s path to being a successful actress, model and host was not easy, and by sharing her personal journey of self-discovery and unwavering determination, she is a strong advocate for intuitive wellness and self-acceptance. Amidst the complexities of life, Nikki’s spiritual grounding serves as her guiding light, empowering her to navigate challenging moments with grace and strength. She hopes to use her knowledge and experience to help uplift other young women struggling with distorted body image standards and highlight the significance of resilience and perseverance in personal and professional endeavors.
1) You have defied stereotypes as a model with a doctorate degree. How did you make that decision, feel confident about it, and what did it teach you about yourself and your goals and aspirations?
The decision to pursue my doctorate in clinical psychology felt like a natural progression after getting my undergrad in psychology and after working in the mental health and fashion space for many years. After I first started modeling as a teenager, I knew there were some things about myself that needed reflection and getting my psychology degree seemed like a great time for me to reflect on what was important to me, how I could help serve the modeling industry and make important strides towards changes that were needed. I am the first person in my family to finish college, and so it was a personal goal that I had set for myself as well as a much larger goal of wanting to serve the fashion industry as well. I didn’t have a lot of natural confidence, I never really have been a super confident person. I am always a believer in “fake it till you make it,” and think that sometimes you have to put yourself out there, fail a lot, and see your failures and lack of confidence as a success. However, I have been fortunate to have a lot of cheerleaders around me, my family, my partner, my friends, my mentors, my faith, and looked to all of that to realize that I have everything it takes to achieve all my goals and so much more. As I am progressing in my doctorate and modeling, it is truly a transformative process and is teaching me a lot about myself and my behavior as it relates to the world around me, why I think the way I do, etc. But more than that, it is teaching me to slow down, be compassionate towards myself and others, and to listen more, talk less. That we are all walking this road together and regardless of how someone looks, they are going through some challenge. Higher academia has also taught me to be more organized, to be a great steward of my time, and to constantly look for ways to think outside of the box. There’s a million perspectives, and probably the one I have is not the best.
2) What is the message you aim to send to young women having trouble embracing mental health and wellness because of so many skewed body image standards?
On the surface, it may seem kind of ironic because I am a fit, curvaceous model who is also a psychologist-in-training and who has a practice where I coach young women in their food and body image journey. However, I am an honest representation of a young woman who understands the media from both sides – from behind the lens and from a psychological perspective. In my practice, one of the biggest messages that we embrace is one of the intuitive. That in order to be truly happy from the inside – not what is projected on social media – but living a life that is truly healthy, happy, and functional in all aspects, one must reconnect to their intuitive selves, and that involves getting away from diet culture, any toxic media standards that tell someone to “be” a certain way or to do certain things to be accepted. Because that’s simply not true, and the truth is that we are all born perfect, and at some point, we begin to believe the messages of dieting culture which can lead to other toxic and even more serious beliefs and behaviors. I want young people to be in the culture we are, have fun, live their life, but also understand that true happiness comes from making decisions from their intuitive self.
3) When you may be experiencing more challenging moments both in your personal and professional life, what empowers you to stay motivated?
I am a very spiritual person, my spirituality is the basis for everything in my life. I definitely have my challenging times, but I meditate multiple times throughout the day. I manifest what I want for my life, every morning, afternoon, and evening. And if something in my life gets bumpy, I go back to that spiritual center, and ground myself. I clear my energy, I pray, I write out my goals, I do my “I am” statements, I go to therapy, I make sure that I am deeply rooted in my spiritual home, which extends to my emotional and mental lifelines. And I always reach out to someone if I believe I need extra support.
Presented by Tom White