Lizzie Velasquez

Lizzie Velasquez is known for having a rare medical condition and fighting against the bullying she received from being featured in a viral video that named her as the “World’s Ugliest Woman”


Background

Lizzie Velasquez was born on March 13, 1989 in in Austin, a city located in the heart of Texas. Velasquez grew up in Texas along with her two younger siblings. She graduated from Texas State University where she majored in Communication Studies in 2012.

She was brought into this world by her loving father Guadalupe Velasquez and her mother Rita Velasquez/ Elizabeth Ann “Lizzie”. Velasquez’s birth delivery was a premature one with her being born four weeks before the actual due date. She weighed only 2 pounds and eleven ounces at the time of her birth. Initially, her parents were concerned about her health but the doctor assured them that she would be fine.

They were stressed about and didn’t know what to expect because she was their first born. The doctor informed them that premature births can often happen and they usually end up fine as long as the parents took good care of the baby and made sure that they followed up with the doctor in case there was any problem. Once the doctor started checking in with them during the first few weeks of Lizze’s life, her parents started feeling comfortable with Lizzie’s progress. All they saw was a happy baby that would smile at them anytime they took her in their arms. She may have arrived into the world early but her parents were hopeful that there wasn’t going to be anything wrong with her path in life.

Rare Medical Condition

According to her doctors, Velasquez doesn’t possess any adipose tissue because she is unable to gain any fat. The doctors aren’t fully confident that her condition came from her premature birth. She has never been able to gain more than 64 pounds. Even after having a meal every 15 minutes and about 60 times a day, she is wasn’t able to gain any weight. According to an entry in one of her books, her condition is very rare with her being only the third person suffering from it in the entire world.

Her condition is reported to have some similarities with progeria and is said to be a rare non-terminal genetic disorder. According to some researchers at the University of Texas, she suffers from neonatal progeroid syndrome and this condition doesn’t affect her organs, teeth or bones. Her condition is associated with a large head, not much fat and an ageing and wrinkled face and skin. Velasquez is visually-impaired in her left eye and is completely blind in the right one.

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Victim of Bullying

Velasquez’s condition came to public knowledge when she was subjected to cyber bullying. Sadly, a YouTube video declaring her as the ugliest woman in the world surfaced and started becoming viral on the internet. Due to the cyberbullying and the physical bullying she endured as a kid, she decided to pursue motivational speaking. She wanted to fight back against her oppressors instead of becoming a defenseless victim. It wasn’t her fault that she got her medical condition. She didn’t decide that she would come into this world with a condition that only a few people have had in the history of civilization. Even though the condition leaves her with some physical deformities that most people would find undesirable, she wanted to make the most of her situation. Her bravery has been praised by many people because she showed that as long as you try, you can find positives in anything. Instead of becoming a champion for people with medical conditions, she could have quit and drowned herself in misery but she chose a different path. She was a very rare case and that made her special.

She appeared on the famous lecture show, TED Talks which helps in sharing speeches that spread new ideas to intellectuals and the general public. The program is very famous for having seats that are very expensive and only the very highest levels of scholars and influencers get invited. They are well respected because they are not afraid to cover any topic. They will feature many topics that mainstream academia tries to distance itself from. They have had on speakers that present information about things like psychedelics, mediation, and why capitalism is holding us back in modern society. Ted Talks also features very interesting and unique people that are able to share stories with their audience that can’t be found anywhere else. They were very honored to have Lizzie share her story on their stage and platform.

On December 5, 2013, Lizzie began her speech by saying that was just seventeen when the YouTube video declaring her as “The World’s Ugliest Woman” surfaced on the internet. On the Ted Talks series, she went on explaining how that one video changed her life. Velasquez along with the support from her parents has been brave enough to fight back and inspire those who have been bullied in their lives.

A Champion for Change

Lizzie went on to host a social media challenge for National Bullying Prevention Month in 2015. She became an author when her autobiography was published in 2010 and was titled Lizzie Beautiful: The Lizzie Velasquez Story. It was co-authored by her mother and also contains some stories by her mother which told some personal tales of raising Lizzie. She then went on to publish another book called Be Beautiful, Be You in 2012 which was written to inspire the youth to discover what makes them beautiful. She wrote about how the media tries to dictate what is beautiful to the youth. Instead of actually trying to see the true value of people and what makes them great people, the media wants to push pre-selected images so that they can sell their products and services. Lizzie was a great person to give this message to the youth.

Her book, Choosing Happiness was published in 2014 and talks about the problems she had to face throughout her life. On March 14, 2015, a documentary showing her life premiered and was titled A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story.

Last Modified: Mar 13, 2020


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