(Austin, Texas) - I find it absolutely disgusting that people can label someone and dismiss them with no thought for how it makes that person feel. It's a sad reality of our world, but while scrolling through YouTube one night, I came across the story of a Texas woman who's demonstrated true beauty and grace despite childhood bullying and vicious attacks from cowardly people online.

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Canva /YouTube/Did You Know?
Canva /YouTube/Did You Know?

Imagine being 17-year-old Lizzie Velasquez, and coming across a video on YouTube, posted by a total stranger and racking up millions of views, referring to you as the 'The World's Ugliest Woman'. That would probably be devastating to so many of us, and while Lizzie was hurt, she's since come to see it as a blessing.

Lizzie, now 33, has lived her entire life with a genetic disorder that doctors have struggled to accurately diagnose. According to CBS News, they believe she has what's called neonatal progeroid syndrome, which, among other symptoms, makes it extremely difficult for her to put on weight no matter how much she eats, and has caused accelerated aging.


In an interview with Christian publication Charisma, Lizzie credited her faith in God for the strength to not only endure the bullying, but to turn it into an opportunity to educate, enlighten, and fight against it for the sake of other people in her situation.

Lizzie graduated from Texas State University with a degree in communications, and has authored several books meant to inspire and educate. In 2013, she also gave a Ted Talk in Austin. I can't recommend it enough.

She also has a YouTube channel on which she frequently posts more upbeat and inspirational material and perspectives.

There was even a movie made about her life, which aired on Lifetime back in 2016.


Listening to Lizzie speak, it's clear that she's an extremely bright, upbeat, and lovely person. It makes you wonder if the people who've said such awful things about her online would be able to say those same things to her face.

Lizzie has turned what many of us would consider heartbreaking experiences into beautiful tools for demonstrating that everyone in this world has value, and that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

In today's world, bullying is discussed much more than it was in the past, and people are waking up to the devastating effects it can have on children as they grow into adulthood. With people like Lizzie out there sharing their stories and inspiring more of us to be kind and recognize true beauty, I hope she'll motivate us all to have conversations with our kids about how to treat each other with respect.

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