How do you define beautiful? Lizzie Velasquez is brave, strong, brilliant, beautiful and funny. But a person who ever gets to be an “in the world” anything always travels a journey and accumulates experiences along the way that help them earn a title like that.
Lizzie was born with an undiagnosed syndrome that did not allow her to gain weight. She knew that but accepted it for what it was, not having a second thought about being different from others in that way. That calm acceptance changed in an instant on the day Lizzie decided to log in online to search for some music. She found a lot more than music that day, and it set her on a course that would forever change both her and the lives of others.
Posted on YouTube, she saw the title “The Ugliest Woman In The World.” She doesn’t recall why she chose to click on it, but she did. She could not believe what she was reading about herself. The thread of comments went on and on, calling her a monster, suggesting she pick up a gun and kill herself, asking why her parents didn’t abort her, and “Kill it with fire!” There were plenty more comments listed as well, not to mention the number of “likes” that accompanied the horrifying comments. The video had gone viral.
Lizzie was devastated. Those comments directed at her were some of the most hurtful things a person can say about another, and a perfect example of what we now call cyber-bullying. But what she did next was nothing short of heroic. She decided to fight back “in a different way.” Lizzie launched a campaign to combat bullying and educate people, through her personal story, what the potential fall-out is from any type of bullying behavior.
She did a TED Talk that struck a chord in the hearts of millions. Whoopie Goldberg said, “She did a TED talk that knocked me out.” That was just the beginning. Because of that talk, she had grasped the eyes and ears of the world and appeared on television shows, in front of politicians, and countless engagements at schools and seminars everywhere. The icing on the cake, at this point, was a feature documentary film about her and her anti-bullying message. A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story helped to seal the definition of exactly who Lizzie Velasquez was and still is – the most beautiful woman in the world.