What is Beauty? Lizzie Velasquez Tells Her Story

Deemed the “ugliest woman in the world,” Lizzie Velasquez was born with a rare condition that prevents her from gaining weight (only two other people, including herself, have the disease), giving her a skeletal appearance, and she is also blind in one eye. When Ms. Velasquez was just a teenager, she was bullied in an online video that called her “the world’s ugliest woman in the world,” with netizens encouraging her to commit suicide. But through all the negativity and against all odds, Lizzie prevailed and is an inspiration for all.

At a TEDx speech in Austin, Lizzie gave a powerful and riveting talk about her life. She started off talking with a humor unique to her about her inability to gain weight, “Yes, it does sound as good as it is.” She goes on to talk about the benefits of her other “flaws,” like only having to buy half as many contacts and being a poster-child for Weight Watchers.

She also recounts when she found out an eight second Youtube video of her was put online calling her “the world’s ugliest women” (which got four million views). When she read the comments, people were telling her to “do the world a favor, put a gun to your head, and kill yourself.” After feeling depressed for a while, something clicked in her head and she decided to focus on what she does have, instead of what she doesn’t. Valasquez refused to let her condition define her.

In an emotionally compelling moment, Lizzie states, “Even though I have the syndrome. Even though things are hard. I can’t let that define me. My life was put into my hands, just like your lives are put into yours. You are the person in the front seat of your car. You are the one who decides whether your car goes down a bad path, or a good path. You are the one that decides what defines you.”

Lizzie let’s her goals, success, and accomplishments define her instead of bullies. She goes on to say, “So I told myself I was going to work my butt off, and do whatever I could to make myself better. Because in my mind, the best way that I could get back at all those people who made fun of me, who teased me, who called me ugly, who called me a ‘monster’ was to make myself better…,” adding, “Tell me those negative things, I’m gonna turn them around and I’m gonna use them as a ladder to climb up to my goals.” And that’s exactly what she did. Lizzie is publishing her third book, graduating college, and is a successful motivational speaker.

Lizzie’s story just shows anyone can use hardships, negativity, and hatred to fuel their goals and accomplish their dreams — and that is a truly beautiful thing.


 Who else is totally inspired?

Additional images: Lifehack



Zara Zhi
Zara Zhi
Zara is a freelance writer and filmmaker who has worked for numerous magazines and news sites. When not coming up with puns or writing screenplays, she enjoys having blind children read to her and donating plasma TVs. Follow her on Twitter: @zarazhi