Born with an extremely rare and unknown syndrome, 25 year old Lizzie Velasquez has had a hard life. Her syndrome has only been seen in two other people, and it’s a syndrome that doesn’t allow her to gain any weight and she is blind in one eye. During Lizzie’s entire life no matter what she eats or drinks, she has never weighed above 65 lbs.
Even though the doctors never thought she’d walk, talk or do anything by herself, she was born into a life of positivity. Her parents were determined to take her home and raise her to the best of their ability like any other normal child. They offered her a great support system and never treated her any different. When she started Kindergarden she had no idea that she was any different. Her first day of school, after the reaction of the other children she asked her parents why they didn’t like her. Lizzie’s parents sat her down and made sure that she understood that the only difference between her and the other children was that she was smaller. That she just needed to be herself and others would see how great she was.
Still rough as a teenager, she let herself be defined by her looks. Lizzie hoped every day that she could change her appearance and faced bullies everywhere. One day she found a video clip of her on the web, labeling her as the “World’s Ugliest Woman.” Initially devastating her, she used the negativity and turned it around. Lizzie decided that her appearance would never define her. That she would be defined by who she was as a person, and her accomplishments and achievements in life. She promised herself to become a motivational speaker, finish college and write a book. She now works as a motivational speaker, has a degree in Communications, and is currently about to get her third book published. She used all the negativity in her life, the people who put her down and told her it wasn’t possible, to become a better person, to push through and to motivate and help others, proving that true beauty comes from the inside out.
She asked herself this question years ago and made a courageous decision to not let her looks be who she was… She used it as the fuel to turn things to a positive light and to really make a difference and now Lizzie asks you to ask yourself “What Defines You?”