Turn your weakness into your most powerful weapon.
This has become the maxim of a now 27-year-old Lizzie Velasquez. Velasquez has a neonatal progeroid syndrome, a rare genetic disease which affected her eyes, heart, and bones. This is also the reason why she never gained weight. Ten years ago, Velasquez became the talk of the town as one YouTube video goes viral, ridiculing her as the world’s ugliest woman. Those times mortified her, leaving her with as little confidence as she has. The bullying got into her like knives slicing her heart and soul down into pieces. She was convinced that the world was nothing but a miserable and spiteful place to live in.
A year after the viral of the hateful video, she managed to pick up herself from all the mess and bullying. The assistant principal at Austin, Texas high school asked her to address a motivational speech for 400 grade nine students. It became her first motivational speech. Little did she expected that it would just be the start of her many more motivational speeches. At first, she hesitated. She thought that nobody would understand her. Nobody would relate to her. It turned out that she was wrong. People easily connected with her because almost everybody had experienced being bullied and they know that it’s never easy to be a laughing matter.
Ten years after, she became an anti-bullying warrior and a sought-after motivational speaker. In fact, she’s already on her way to publishing her fourth book. You can also check out her YouTube channel. She was also featured on the Lifetime channel in a documentary titled “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story”.
She has inspired millions of people around the world through her words. She said that when she started speaking, she realized that she could connect with every person because she knew what it’s like to be bullied and to feel insecure. She also added that she has never felt so confident in her own skin and that she felt like walking on cloud nine every day, feeling confident to stand up. It made her felt like she’s living her purpose.
Amidst the fame and opportunities, she became aware of her responsibilities; responsibility to live up to the criterion she’s setting as an anti-bullying activist.
Recently, she has teamed up with Secret, a deodorant brand, to invite women all over the world to share an anti-bullying campaign on social media using the hashtag #StandUpWithSecret for the National Bully Prevention Month this October.
Lastly, she said that if she was able to get back at the bullies and get on the other side of bullying, then everybody can get there as well.