Being called the “ugliest woman in the world” is a soul-crushing sentiment that would make any woman crumble to the nearest corner in a downward spiral of self-pity and embarrassment, right? Not in Elizabeth “Lizzie” Velasquez’s case. Born with a rare congenital disease called Lipodystrophy (of which there are only three known cases in the world), Lizzie is unable to gain any weight. At 26-years-old, she’s only 58 pounds.
Lizzie was first a victim of bullying as a child in school for looking different than her peers. In 2007, the bullying took on a new form. As a teenager, she discovered a YouTube video marking her as the “The World’s Ugliest Woman”. Thousands of horrific comments went far enough as, “Do the world a favor and put a gun to your head”, “why didn’t her parents abort her” and “kill it with fire”.
Instead of backing away and disappearing into the shadows, Lizzie took a stand against the haters herself and became a largely successful motivational speaker. Known for her inspiring TED Talk in 2013, Lizzie has used these hurtful comments to push her to work harder towards her goals.
“I chose to be happy and realize this syndrome is not a problem but a blessing that allows me to improve myself and inspire other people,” Velasquez told Huffington Post.
Her most recent endeavor is a documentary film that premiered over the weekend at South by Southwest. “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story” gives her audience an inside look into her daily life struggling with this rare condition. She chronicles her early life and how she fights for anti-bullying efforts.
The documentary was produced by the Women Rising organization and funded by a Kickstarter campaign which rose $214,930, well beyond the goal of $180,000. Kudos to Lizzie and her unbelievable positivity.
Check out the trailer below:
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