Leading the Way: NEDA Artist Initiative Team
Hello, gorgeous people, my name is Nikki. I am a model, host, commercial actress, writer, believer and dreamer. I am an advocate for NEDA, and sponsor those in eating disorder recovery because I am a survivor of a 17 year battle with bulimia and anorexia. At the height of my modeling career, I was known for my beautiful curves; however in Europe as my battle with anorexia overcame me, I became known for my bones. Recovery for me has been filled with years of ups and downs but I decided from day one to never give up. I was fighting for my life and striving to be a role model for everyone suffering silently in the modeling industry and beyond. I am forever grateful to be free of addiction and pain, however I know that it is only because of my God, and by helping others every day with my story. Now, when I get back into the modeling business, I am calling the shots! I don’t care how much I weigh, and I refuse to surround myself with a team who would ever try to make me lose weight. I believe that our value comes from who we are on the inside and this is the message I want to leave behind for generations to come!
Having worked for most of my adult life as a model and entertainer, I have to admit that there is an overwhelming pressure to achieve an unattainable size. I am 28 years old and I am expected to fit into the same sizes as girls who are almost half my age! Why does the industry glorify the same look when everyone is unique to begin with? We should be promoting entertainers that exude intelligence, energy, and confidence, and who teach a balanced lifestyle rich in nutrition, exercise, education and values. The advertising business has a tendency to go to extremes in order to “make statements”, however I believe from an eating disorder standpoint this only makes things more confusing. For example, have you noticed how almost half of commercials are about diets, and the other half promote “being free” and “eating whatever you want”? This is not only false advertising but completely dangerous to the lives of people everywhere, and instead the advertising industry should be glorifying nutrition and a healthy mind, body and spirit. Let’s communicate the building blocks of a healthful diet and stop pushing unrealistic body shapes in the media. Everyone is born with a set body type and weight, and if we could reflect that in our celebrities and entertainers people would feel as though they had more they could relate to and less to feel ashamed of. The world is not perfect and we may never be free of these glossy magazines that showcase the image of “beauty.” But what we can work on, is knowing deep down that no matter what, we are the most beautiful, irreplaceable human beings, and that beauty radiates from the inside out!
When NEDA asked me to be the Artist Initiative Team Captain for the 2014 Los Angeles Walk, I was grateful and honored to be heading a worthy cause that is dear to my heart, and right in the middle of the entertainment center! The Artist Initiative is a new project that strives to shine light on a much needed topic: eating disorder awareness and education in the entertainment industry and all things artistic. I feel this Initiative by NEDA is groundbreaking because there is a huge pressure in the arts community to maintain a certain weight and shape, but I want to help spread the message that we were born to stand out! I believe this walk will give all entertainers a platform to go forth with their own message: that they are not going to stand for societal and work pressures anymore of being made to feel like they need to be stick-thin in order to be accepted and cast for jobs. Our worth and value is not determined by a number on a scale; our inner self is the show of our lives. Let’s get walking, then get out into the world and shine bright!