Turning Haters into Motivators
Lizzie Velasquez is a writer and global motivational speaker. Since leaving university she has put all her energy into travelling many miles to share her story and inspire others not to let bullying negatively impact their lives. Lizzie has given two Ted Talks, written a book and was the executive producer for a documentary telling her life’s story, and how she went from “world’s ugliest woman” to an internationally renowned campaigner against cyber bullying.
Lizzie has an extremely rare genetic disorder that prevents her from gaining body fat. Though at first glance to many this will sound wonderful, it leaves her with a skeletal body that is constantly battling various health risks associated with this. Despite consuming over 6000 calories a day, she has never weighed more than 64 pounds. Her resulting appearance has often meant that she has been the victim of bullying. This started young for Lizzie. She recalls that on her first day of school she walked up to another little girl to introduce herself and the girl reacted as though Lizzie was the “most frightening thing she had ever seen.” The bullying culminated when, at 17, Lizzie found a video of herself on YouTube entitled “The Ugliest Woman in the World”. Despite being only 8 seconds long the video had over 4.5 million views. As if this wasn’t hurtful enough the comments under it were worse. Filled with hateful words some of them even told her to kill herself. Spurred on by the insults and the hate, Lizzie decided to dedicate her life to campaigning against, and raising awareness about, cyber bullying and her very rare genetic disorder.
Born by emergency C Section the doctors told Lizzie’s parents to expect nothing of her. They estimated that she would never even learn to walk, talk or feed herself. Despite growing up without a diagnosis Lizzie most certainly proved them wrong. It wasn’t until she turned 25 that she was finally diagnosed with Marfanoid-Progeriod-Lipodystrophy. As well as preventing her from gaining body fat, the condition leaves her with a weakened immune system, advanced visual impairment and heart problems.
Lizzie states that she has her family and friends to thank for shaping who she has become. Other than having to buy doll clothes for her as a baby because she was so small, her parents raised her completely normally. They treated her like all of her cousins. She credits her “huge” Mexican family with giving her the foundation to rise above all the hate and begin her career raising awareness. She has been involved with Kylie Jenner’s #IAmMoreThan campaign and supports anti-bullying legislation across the USA. She states that she has turned her haters into motivators, and that they pushed her to gain her university degree and start her career in public speaking, and that they still push her to keep spreading her message. This is something that every person who has ever been bullied can learn from. She shows that it is possible to rise above the bullying and turn their hurtful comments into something positive.