Born with Neonatal Progeriod Syndrome, an unusual medical disease that just two other people in the world have, Lizzie Velasquez is blind in one eye, and cannot gain weight or store body fat. Therefore, despite eating every 15 to 20 minutes, Lizzie has never been able to tip the scales at more than 60 pounds.
When she was in high school she discovered a YouTube video that a classmate had uploaded labelling her as The World’s Ugliest Woman. The video, which was eight seconds long contained only her picture, and had numerous comments calling her names like “Monster” and telling her to commit suicide.
Immediately, Lizzie decided not to let the bullies define her. She decided to use the negativity to climb the ladder to her success and to inspire others. That’s the thing about Lizzie. She sees the positive in everything, and doesn’t let her syndrome, or other people define her. The only thing she lets define her, is herself.
Lizzie is a strong young woman who decided to ignore the bullies and set goals for herself. She wanted to become a motivational speaker, an author, earn a college degree, and have a family. There was no way she would let the bullies take those things away from her.
Following through on those goals, Lizzie has been inspiring teens and women as a motivational speaker for seven years. She has also published two books and has completed the manuscript for a third. Additionally, she has graduated college and is finishing her degree at Texas State University. Lizzie’s story is truly an inspiration for young girls and women alike.
This video of Lizzie’s inspirational speech at the TEDx Austin Women’s Conference will leave you feeling inspired by her determination, and by the way she is able to turn every negative into a positive. She’ll leave you asking, “What defines you?”