When Lizzie was 17 years old, she did an interview for a local tv station. And when the video clip was posted on YouTube, it was labeled “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” Once Lizzie found the clip, it had already received 4 million views and had an overwhelming amount of cruel comments. But instead of shrinking back, she used the painful memory to inspire and encourage others.
Who Is Lizzie Velasquez? And Why You Should Following Her Inspiring Journey
Born in 1989, Velasquez entered this world 4 weeks premature. She was diagnosed with an extremely rare condition that made it impossible for her to develop muscle or body fat. In fact, the condition itself is so rare that it doesn’t even have a name and it’s believed to only affect 2 other people in the world.
At first, doctors didn’t believe Lizzie would have a fulfilling life and were also very concerned she might not survive.
“When I was born, the doctors said we just want to warn you, expect your daughter to never be able to talk, walk crawl, think, or anything by herself,” Velasquez said in a TED talk early last year.
They also were shocked that she was born alive, and could not imagine her ever being able to walk or talk. But despite all odds, and being incredibly small, Lizzie’s brain, internal organs, and bones developed normally.
Velasquez describes her condition as “one big mystery.” At the young age of 4 years old, she went blind in her right eye, and to this day, doctors still don’t understand. That eye clouded over and changed color, so she now has one brown eye and one blue eye.
Lizzie also has facial features most commonly associated with progeria, including a small mouth, pointed nose, and aged skin – although her disorder differs from progeria in that doctors now don’t believe it will be terminal.
While they didn’t understand her condition, Velasquez and her family became very proficient at dealing with it. Fast forward to today, she is an author, motivational speaker, and inspiration to victims of bullying everywhere on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. So has even started her own YouTube channel, with over 350,000 subscribers, who all consider themselves her friends and allies.
I feel so weird sharing this ???? pic.twitter.com/c3CIQ7Iztt— Lizzie Velasquez (@littlelizziev) May 17, 2022
“Am I going to let the people who called me a monster define me? Am I going to let the people who said ‘Kill it with fire’ define me?” she said. “No. I’m going to let my goals and my success and my accomplishments be the things that define me. Not my outer appearance.”
And it is exactly that spirit, along with her positivity that has molded her into the inspirational leader she is today.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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