Born with a rare medical syndrome, young woman shows how to overcome obstacles
Cyberbullies called Lizzie Velasquez “The World’s Ugliest Woman” with a video that received more than four million views and sparked thousands of comments, many of them hate-filled.
After years of enduring insensitive remarks and bullying because of her appearance, Lizzie Velasquez came to a turning point during high school and decided to fight back on her own terms. Her new book, Be Beautiful, Be You (Liguori Publications, August 2012) shares the wisdom she discovered – and what every young person needs to find out – about accepting and making the most of one’s life.
Velasquez has a rare genetic disorder, thought to be a form of neonatal progeroid syndrome, which prevents her body from gaining weight. She has never weighed more than 60 pounds and deals daily with rude stares, the whispers of strangers, and outright bullying. Although Lizzie felt overwhelmed with anger from being bullied, she realized that holding on to these negative feelings wouldn’t allow her to move on with her life. She knew she had to forgive those who had hurt her. “I decided that, rather than sink to their level, I’d fight the video with my accomplishments,” she wrote.
In Be Beautiful, Be You, Velasquez tells her story and offers advice for young teens about finding their purpose in life and building self-esteem. With anecdotes and thoughtful exercises, she shows readers how to honestly take stock of their unique abilities, make and keep good friends, deal with disappointments and negativity, talk to God in their own words, and set realistic goals. The book’s core themes, to love yourself and focus on your passions, will resonate with anyone who has ever felt singled out, misunderstood, or afraid.
More than 20 photos of Lizzie Velasquez are included in Be Beautiful, Be You. The book is available from bookstores and online at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and Liguori.org
About Lizzie Velasquez Lizzie Velasquez is a communications major at Texas State University in San Marcos. She is one of only three known people in the world with a medical syndrome that doesn’t allow her to gain weight. Lizzie has appeared as a motivational speaker at more than 200 workshops. To encourage others who have been bullied, she created a video for the It Gets Better Project. Her story has been featured in both national and international media, including The Today Show, Inside Edition, Australia’s Sunday Night, Germany’s Explosiv, and Dr. Drew.