She Was Called The World’s Ugliest Woman, Now She’s An Inspiration

Lizzie Velasquez, star of 'A Brave Heart,' gives her top tips for being confident.

Imagine you’re 17 years old. You’re surfing the web, procrastinating. You’re just passing the time on YouTube, watching inane videos and knowingly letting yourself rappel down into the rabbit hole of the internet. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, thousands of people are doing the exact same thing you are right at this exact second.

Except, in all likelihood, when you click a video plainly titled “THE WORLD’S UGLIEST WOMAN,” you won’t see your own face looking back at you.

This is what happened to Lizzie Velasquez, now 26 years old. Velasquez has a rare congenital condition, so rare that it doesn’t even have a name. It affects her vision and her immune system, among other things, but its most obvious impact is on her body. Velasquez has zero percent body fat, and is unable to gain weight.

While she’s been bullied by forces seen and unseen — cruel playground taunts, strangers sneering on the sidewalk, commenters on that YouTube video telling her to do unspeakable things and calling her unrepeatable names — instead of retreating into herself, Velasquez has taken full ownership of her own story and turned it into a force for good. She started a YouTube channel and began vlogging, delivered a TED Talk that went viral and even spoke before Congress in support of anti-bullying legislation.

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