If you want to watch something that will blow your mind, you’ve got to see Lizzy Velasquez. At 24, she’s endured being labeled the World’s Ugliest Woman on YouTube, even as she struggles with one of the rarest syndromes in the world, which doctors think may be similar to neonatal progeroid syndrome. This syndrome prevents her from gaining any weight… at all. It also means she has no adipose tissue, and struggles with a variety of physical problems including blindness in one eye. However, what will blow your mind about Velasquez has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with her appearance and everything to do with the fact that she has gotten the best revenge possible on her internet abusers: success.
In addition to success, they say living well is the best revenge, and Velasquez has a spirit befitting of Grace Kelly, who was once called the world’s most beautiful woman; she lives very well, and refuses to be in any way undone by internet bullies or anyone else. When Velasquez was born, doctors told her parents that she would never be able to walk, talk or even think. Her parents refused to accept that and took their new child home, providing a totally normal and stable family environment. They sent her to school and as a little girl, she had no idea she was different.
The syndrome she has is similar to progeria, which causes premature aging, but unlike those who suffer from that disease, Velasquez is expected to enjoy a normal life span. Many people mistakenly think she has anorexia. She does not. In fact, Velasquez jokes that being able to eat whatever she wants, whenever she wants, is just one of the many blessings this syndrome has brought her, and she takes in over 3,000 calories per day, eating about four times an hour.
In kindergarten, Velasquez noticed that the other kids were treating her differently, but she had no idea why. She asked her parents about it, and they explained that she had a syndrome but that it would not prevent her from doing anything she wanted to do. Velasquez proceeded to live life to the fullest, graduating from high school, then college, but not before finding out that she had been labeled the “World’s Ugliest Woman” on YouTube.
When she found out, she says, she thought about fighting back, but she stopped short of doing so. Instead, she chose to ignore the bullies and focus on setting goals, living her life and generally showing everyone who had put her down that she was going to win despite their abuse. She decided she would become a motivational speaker. She sat down at a computer and typed “how to become a motivational speaker” into the search box.
As evidenced by her recent TED appearance and countless others, Velasquez has met, and continues to exceed, her goals. Those who have called her the “World’s Ugliest Woman” might want to rethink their classification. She’s a popular and successful motivational speaker with over 50,000 followers between her personal Facebook page and her Facebook fan page. She also decided she wanted to write a book. As of today, she’s written three.
She lives her own truth: that she will not let her physical appearance, nor other people, define her. Velasquez has defined herself, on her own terms. Never once have the hateful words of bullies defeated her; in fact, she says, she’s used their negativity to strengthen her resolve to continually improve herself and reach new heights of success.
The very moment she starts speaking, any surprise over her appearance, which is similar to those who suffer from progeria, dissolves, and her words cut right to the heart of what defines her and her incredibly strong, almost warrior-like spirit. The label of “World’s Ugliest Woman” is completely forgotten as Velasquez inspires with her strength and inner beauty. “Am I gonna let the people who called me a monster define me?” she asks, “No. I’m gonna let my goals and my success and my accomplishments be the things that define me…The best way that I could get back at all those people who made fun of me…was to make myself better.”
Watch the full, mind blowing video of the marvelous Velasquez below.
By: Rebecca Savastio