Lizzie Velasquez was once labeled the “World’s Ugliest Woman” by cyber bullies, but the Texas native has turned the negativity around and become one of the nation’s most powerful motivational speakers. The 25-year-old suffers from a rare syndrome that blocks her body from storing fat. She stands at 5-foot 2-inches tall and weighs just 58 pounds.
Velasquez has been in the media spotlight since September 2012, when she talked about her syndrome during an interview with naysayers. She’s since written two books about being positive and embracing individuality.
But one of the biggest things on her plate right now is her first as-yet-untitled documentary, called the Lizzie Project, and she’s using Kickstarter to raise funds for it. Her rep told International Business Times in an email interview she’s been able to raise over $45,000 over the weekend, but still has a long way to go. Donations can be contributed by clicking here. The goal is to raise $180,000 to fund the crew, lighting, sound, transportation and other aspects of the production. She hopes to help bring an end to cyberbullying with her documentary and create a more positive online community.
The inspiration has graced headlines again after two recent television appearances, one on ABC’s “The View” and other with E!. Velasquez had some powerful insights on everyday challenges that almost everyone faces. Listed below are some of the best quotes extracted from her interview with E!:
On facing adversity:
"It's a process that I had to figure out, of how to handle negative comments. When I was younger, I would just sit there and read every single one and obviously, it was awful. There were times when I felt like people were physically putting their hands through the computer and really hurting me on purpose."
But not letting it affect you:
“People are going to have these opinions of me, but I’m not going to let it affect me.”
On body image:
“You don’t have to look like a supermodel or a movie star to be happy or successful or whatever you want to be!”
The best advice she’s gotten:
"No matter where you're at, no matter who you're around, always stay true to who you are. Don't ever change who you are to try to be popular or make friends. Stay true to who you are, be proud of who you are. Walk into a room and be confident and own your personality, your values, and everything about yourself. And everything will kind of just fall into place."
Best advice she’s ever given:
"I think the best advice I've ever given is to not ever give up. I feel like it's kind of a cliché thing to say like, ‘Oh, don't give up, it will get better.' But honestly, getting that message across, to not give up, to keep that hope alive, is something I'm very passionate about. Because I've been in that place."
On how to handle haters:
"There's days where I'm like, in my mind, ‘I wish I could tell this person something!' But it's not going to accomplish anything. It's just going to be me sinking down to their level and a never-ending battle of hiding behind a computer screen."
On staying positive:
"If someone compliments me on my eye makeup, I get really excited, because I can only see out of one eye, so I'm literally putting makeup on blind.”
When all else fails she asks herself: What would Julia Roberts do?
"I love her because she's just such a down-to-earth person, from what I see, clearly I don't go to her house for coffee every day ... Her smile seems so genuine. She's all about her family and friends."
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