Many have called Lizzie Velasquez “the ugliest person in the world.” However, after reading this article, you may want to call her “the most beautiful person in the world.” Due to a rare condition, Velasquez has some unusual physical characteristics. Despite dealing with cruel cyberbullies, she took her situation and turned herself into a hero on a mission to help others who are bullied.
Elizabeth Ann “Lizzie” Velásquez was born on March, 13, 1989. Velasquez was born four weeks prematurely (some sources say eight weeks), weighing just 2 pounds, 10 ounces. At the time of her birth, doctors had no idea what was wrong with her. Luckily for Velasquez, she was very fortunate to have parents that loved her enough to do whatever was possible to help give her a better life.
As a small child, Velasquez thought everyone looked like her. She was not aware that due to her rare condition, she looked much different than others her age. Since she was so small, she had no choice but to wear baby clothing. Throughout her childhood, she was bullied by her classmates. Some students were scared of Velasquez. They were so frightened, they wouldn’t even sit with her.
Lizzie’s Extremely Rare Syndrome
Lizzie Velasquez suffers from a mysterious and extremely rare condition. It is so rare, there are only three documented cases in the world. According to medical researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Velasquez’s condition may be a form of neonatal progeroid syndrome (a group of rare genetic disorders characterized by an aged appearance at birth).
Of course, most people wouldn’t mind being able to eat anything they want without the worry of gaining weight. Velasquez’s rare condition prevents her from accumulating body fat. She is required to eat up to 60 small meals a day. Many of these small meals will include junk food. Velasquez is 5ft 2in and has zero percent body fat. She has never weighed more than 64 pounds.
Other Symptoms And Characteristics
Weak immune system
Blind in right eye
Limited vision in left eye
Lack of energy at times
Velasquez has also been in and out of the hospital for various tests and surgeries (such as eye surgery and foot reconstruction). However, the good news is that despite having a number of health problems, her condition is not terminal. Velasquez has healthy bones, teeth, and organs.
Above is an image of a young girl (to the left) with Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS), which is an extremely rare developmental autosomal dominant condition. It is characterized by premature and accelerated aging. This rare condition is a specific type of progeroid syndrome.
The Struggle To Gain Weight
The Horrible Discovery Found On YouTube
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2013, 19.6% of high school students in the United States reported being bullied on school property. Of course, ever since the invention of the Internet, bullies have found a simple and convenient way to degrade others. The CDC also reported that in 2013, 14.8%. of U.S. high school students say they were bullied online.
At the age of 17, Velasquez wanted to browse YouTube to find some music. Instead, she stumbled upon a viral video that was all about her. It was called “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” Velasquez was shocked to see millions of views, and cruel comments by cyberbullies. These people called her a “monster,” and many other names. Below is a list of just a few things these bullies said about her.
“What’s wrong with your face?”
“Why would her parents keep her?”
“Why didn’t her parents just abort her?”
“Kill it with fire.”
“Just put a gun to your head and shoot yourself.”
“Put a bag over your head when you go out.”
At this time, Velasquez had realized that she not only had to deal with being bullied by classmates, but also by millions of strangers on the Internet. However, instead of giving up on life, she stood strong and decided to speak her mind. The bullying ultimately inspired her to create YouTube videos of her own. The topics would range from how to speak in public, to how to define beauty. Velasquez also became an author, and wrote three books (Beautiful: The Lizzie Velásquez Story 2010, Be Beautiful, Be You 2012, and Choosing Happiness 2014). She eventually went on to become a motivational speaker. Velasquez speaks to large crowds of young children, teens, and adults.
Velasquez Becomes A Motivational Speaker And Author
Determined to become a great motivational speaker, Velasquez began studying famous speakers online. In 2013, she spoke at a TEDx talk (shown above). The YouTube video has over 10 million views (including over 100 thousand likes). However, unlike the terrible video she stumbled upon when she was just 17, this one has mostly good comments, with people commending Velasquez.
A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story
After being treated unfairly for many years simply because of her unusual physical appearance, Velasquez has spoken out against bullying. She is now an anti-bullying activist. Instead of feeling sorry for herself and giving up on life, this woman found a variety of ways to make herself better.
Besides being an author of 3 inspiring books, Velasquez has also became a motivational speaker that has helped many who have also been bullied. She even has a documentary film out called A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story. The documentary is about her inspiring journey from a cyber-bullying victim to a successful anti-bullying activist. It was released on September 25, 2015.
Does Velasquez Have A Boyfriend?
Velasquez does not have a boyfriend. She has chosen to stay single and and focus on her career.
Is Velasquez On Social Media?
Yes. Below are links to her YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook pages.
Sadly, many are forced to deal with the pain of being bullied online, as well as offline. Luckily there is a woman who may bring hope to those who feel hopeless. She was once called “the world’s ugliest woman.” However, for Lizzie Velasquez, her syndrome is not a problem, but instead, a blessing.