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“As a father, I see the impact of social media and other influences on my kids’ lives, and it’s not always positive. Makaila Nichols shoots straight in Blatantly Honest about the pressures of growing up in such a highly social climate and offers much-needed advice for other teens.”
“It’s a daring undertaking to be honest about ourselves, especially in the time we live in now. Nothing out there is real anymore; every picture gets retouched. How can a young adult be inspired? In her book, Makaila genuinely shares her experiences. It is such a true gift to her peers for them to realize that we all deal with our insecurities. Teaching us that life is a journey with ups and downs and that we just need to be kind and humble to each other and to ourselves to be able to create a healthier and happier future.”
“Growing up in the spotlight, I have always been criticized for my body and held to impossible standards. Bullying comes in all shapes and sizes. You can either let it tear you down or you can use it to motivate yourself toward success. I know Mak personally and professionally, and she is a great example of being courageous enough to speak up. I think she will leave a lasting impact on the next generation.”
Being a teenager today is one of the hardest jobs in the world. You have grades to maintain, obligations to extra-curricular activities, and soul-crushing pressure to excel at everything so colleges take notice. On top of it all, you’re forced to act as your own public relations manager because, thanks to social media, every bit of your life is on display. No one knows that better than teen model, actress, and author Makaila Nichols.
Nichols’ book, Blatantly Honest: Normal Teen, Abnormal Life (Brown Books Publishing Group), is filled with peer-to- peer advice on navigating life as a teen in a world that begs young people to grow up before they are really ready. Unlike books for teens written from an adult perspective, Blatantly Honest offers real, relatable advice based on lessons learned in today’s world. After all, adults today have no experience being a teen in a social climate where peers have immediate, constant access to one another. Despite her rising fame, Nichols has struggled through body image issues, dating disasters, friendship failures and bullying. In this refreshing, open, and honest book, Nichols offers hard-earned advice on these tough topics and more.
EXCERPTED FROM CH. 1
ON BULLYING: What makes one person superior to another? Nothing. We’re all equal, yet we choose to tear each other apart. I’ve been bullied. I’m not asking for your sympathy, I’m just letting those of you who’ve also been picked on know that I understand. I know how it feels.
“I am glad Makaila doesn’t come to school anymore. Life is better with her gone.”
“Makaila Nichols is the biggest slut. I bet anyone could get it from her.”
“I hope you die alone.” “Who do you think you are?”
These are some of the insults I’ve recorded from social media. Some of them
were said by close friends, and others by people I’ve never spoken to. Yet, all of these words formed a false projection of who I am as a person.
Sometimes, the words will get to you. There was a point in time when I thought to do the worst. I thought that maybe the world would be better with me out of the way. Yet the more I thought about it, the more strength it gave me to push on. Cowards quit. Real courage is gained through withstanding difficulties. We all have families who love us whether we realize it or not. After all the abuse and cowardly attacks, I found myself becoming a more forgiving person because people deserve second chances. We’re all human and make mistakes.
EXCERPTED FROM CH. 2
ON FRIENDSHIPS: Maybe we don’t have enough people in our lives that can be considered “true friends.” Why do I say “true friends” instead of “best friends?” I don’t believe in the idea of a best friend anymore. The word “best” implies superiority to all others, and in friendships, one should never be above someone else. Thus, this is where the “true friend” can be defined. Location, time, distance, or any other variable you want to throw at a friendship is weak if there is a real bond between two people. When people say life gets in the way, sometimes it’s just because they’re not willing to make an effort. You can’t leave friendships up to fate. If people want to be in your life—or vice versa—then they’ll make the effort, and if they don’t, then they’re not worth having anyway.
A true friend can be hard to find, especially as a teenager when everyone is trying to figure out who they are. And even though you’re surrounded by peers all day, you don’t have much control over who you come into contact with. You could be friends with Suzi Q that lives down the road or maybe the kid who smiled at you in class when everyone else looked down at their phones. Even though your options are limited, creating and investing in a true friend shouldn’t be a random choice, and certainly not someone you’d deem to be your last option.
EXCERPTED FROM CH. 3
ON EATING DISORDERS: She pointed to a scale and asked me to step on it. I didn’t mind. I considered myself skinny. After all, I was an athlete who played volleyball and did track and field. She told me I weighed 137 pounds, which I already knew . . .
The director of the agency told me I needed to weigh in at no more than 125 pounds (regardless of my height or muscle mass). Because I was a fourteen-year-old with a dream, I told her I could lose the weight, no problem.
I thought it would be easy to lose twelve pounds. Man was I wrong. After a month of doing two brutal workouts a day, wearing sweat suits, drinking distilled water, and spitting into buckets to lose every ounce of water-weight possible, I was 126 pounds . . . My skin had also turned a yellowish color, signifying my body was facing malnutrition. My parents seemed disgusted, but I thought I looked like a million bucks.
After I lost the weight, the agency requested I come back to Miami for my first photoshoot . . . When we wrapped the shoot, the photographer waltzed over and rewarded me with Krispy Cream doughnuts, a whole box of them. Doughnuts? It seemed like a contradiction. So, I had two. Immediately, I regretted it and excused myself to the bathroom. I plunged my fingers down my throat. Tears welled in my eyes, and I felt the mascara trickle down my powder-stained cheeks. I found myself no other food.
I can honestly say I was so hungry for a shot at fame that I allowed one employer to get the best of me. Unfortunately, this goes on every single day. It may not be me that is bent over a toilet seat today, but someone else is. It does not matter what your job is, no one should make you feel like you need to change yourself so dramatically that you’ll actually inflict bodily harm.
Makaila Nichols is quite an amazing young woman. This was an easy read with helpful information from the teenage perspective. How I wish this type of book existed when my daughter was a teenager. It would have been a life changer on how to deal with being bullied by someone who was supposedly your best friend. Feeling comfortable in your own skin. Knowing you are good enough and what other people say or think about you does not matter in the grand scheme of life. Thank you Makaila for sharing intimate personal struggles you have battled in your young life. Striking cover photo...love it! Best of luck in your future endeavors!
What a wonderfully written book from a "genuine" teenage perspective. It acutely illustrates the vital importance of a solid, supportive family unit. "Things" have changed dramatically since I was a teenager in the 1960s in as much as the issues that confront the teenager of today were
substantially less.....and as such, a strong family unit is imperative in today's teenage world.
The grandchildren will get this book as a "must read". There HAS to be a sequel.
I thoroughly enjoyed this candid and thoughtful book. Ms Nichols's story is a painful reminder of true life. There's a lot more bullying in society than you think. I recommend this book to everyone, especially teens and parents of teens.
Very helpful for young students.
~ Sonya L Moore
My 16 year old daughter is currently reading this book and really enjoying it. Thanks Makaila for sharing your story. This book will inspire other teens to be as courageous as you are!
~ Jerrell Watson
Every parent should read this book and then give it to your child, grandchild, niece or nephew to read. I admire this young woman for her strength and resilience, her passion and focus, and her ability to stay kind and real and forgiving through it all.
Amazingly written. I can't wait to have my daughter read it. Such a good read for all women. Not just teens.
~ Sarah M Keating
Awesome read for parents and teenagers ! Very inspirational for teenagers to relate to! Buy it today!
Blantatnly Honest. Well-written book by such a young author. Job well done. As an older man I see how today's youth has to deal with many new personal influence that way in on a youths life. From social media to peer pressure to drinking and drugs , she handled it all very well and presented passionately. She did shoot straight. I love how she defines best friends and true friends. We look forward to her next boo. keep up the good work...a must read for today's kids and their parent's
five stars for this one.
~ Charlès Welch
Well written book. LOVED how honest and open she was....proud to be her cousin!!
I am incredibly impressed by the poise and maturity of this young author, who has taken on major issues facing teens across America today and framed them in a way that is relevant to young people and their parents alike. The courage, fire and passion required to bring this message as a well-crafted book would be daunting to anyone. Her accomplishments here, as a teenager, are as surprising as they are amazing.
This book opens a much needed dialogue for anyone (especially pre-teens, teens, and young adults) who have had to deal with all of the pressures affecting today's kids. Parents will also benefit in order to get a perspective of what their children are dealing with on a daily basis and can start honest communication. Written by one of their peers, it shows a real understanding and empathy that is needed in our world. Speaking from personal experience, Makaila lets anyone suffering from all forms of bullying know that they are not alone. A very important message.
An amazing story about a girl who went through such great odds but came out stronger than ever. I highly recommend this book to all, but mostly towards teenagers and their parents. The world has changed a whole lot from when our parents were teens and to now when we are teens. Illustrated by her own experiences and the difficulties that shaped Nichols provide an insight on how strong peers influence each other and what they can lead to. Definitely well written and with such in depth experiences that will leave the reader speechless, I'd highly send out the word to any reader to pick this book up when you can.
I was fortunate to meet Makaila on a flight from Orlando to NYC in mid-April of this year. We talked together for the entire trip, and I was so impressed with Makaila's poise, personality, and, most of all, her level of maturity. It made for a delightful flight! I purchased Makaila's books for two of my granddaughters. I think the book will be perfect for the 16-year-old, but I am going to save the copy for the 12-year-old because I think she may not be quite ready for it -- maybe it will be a gift for her 13th birthday! The book is well-written and with great insight from an 18-year-old's perspective. Makaila's life has not been that of most teen-agers, but she has experienced much of the angst that everyone goes through in those years. She learns from every single event in her life and passes that knowledge on to her readers. It is satisfying to read about her love for her parents and the way they raised her. I think if I could sum up the book's message in a few words, it would be to learn from your mistakes and to become your own person. I would recommend this book to all teen-agers and anyone living with or raising teen-agers!
I picked up a copy of this book at one of Makaila's book signings, then ended up ordering them for every teenage girl I know! Unfortunately, bullying is an epidemic among children, teenagers and even adults. Kudos to Makaila for having the guts to speak up, share her story and help other victims along the way. What an incredible way to turn a "test" into a testimony.
Makaila Nichols is an inspiration to the youth and adults alike. Her words relate to all of us, and make us feel like we are not alone. More people need to read this book because I have been motivated and can honestly say I have gone through experiences that Makaila references.
I bought this book for my niece, but brought it home and started reading it and couldn't put it down. It is so well written and appropriate for today's kids but it also helped me understand my own daughter and what she is experiencing. It truly is a great book for kids and parents alike.
~ Edward M Wilcox
I haven’t read this piece, but I plan on reading this soon. I want to clap the authors cheeks because she’s a true inspiration and a baddie at heart. I hope she leaks her number so I can get in contact w her!
Makaila bravely opens up and shares her story with the world. I do not know Makaila personally, but I feel a sense of connectedness with her. Her story touched my heart, and I know it will impact others as well.
Loved this book ! Incredible lady and so honest and inspiring!
This is a beautifully written book. Every parent should read it and give it to your child to read as well. Makaila gives profound insight to what your teen is going through. This would make a great gift for any teen. Its a must buy for sure!
~ Stephanie L
What a great read! Wish I had had this book in my teen years. It was difficult to navigate a world in which I was bullied. This is a must read for every young person on the planet!
~ Mary Malpas
Makaila is a passionate writer just the way she does everything else in her life. She is setting the rules for students, parents, teachers and everyone to learn from for being your most powerful selves. She went through some very tough circumstances and came out telling a story to help and support others. Brilliant!!
~ Wilene Dunn