The 29-year-old weighs 64 pounds, due to has an extremely rare condition called Marfan lipodystrophy syndrome. It’s so rare that only one other person in the world has it. She’s been bullied her whole life but she’s unfazed.
“I know what it’s like to feel like you’re not pretty enough,” she says. “I also know what it’s like to completely not listen to that. And to become the biggest influence in your own life.”
Faith, family and food
Velasquez finds strength in her Catholic faith.
“Knowing that I always have God with me is something very special to me,” she says.
The oldest of three kids, Velasquez is very close to her large Mexican-American family, including her parents and her sister and brother.
“A big part of who I am today is because of my culture,” she says, explaining the family makes big decisions together.
They’re protective of her, especially when people stare or make comments. They don’t see her as different. “They just see me as Lizzie,” she says.
The proud Texan loves to entertain and last year bought her first house, in Austin near her parents’ home. She enjoys hosting family parties and is learning to bake and cook, especially Mexican food. Her favorite dish to cook is cheese enchiladas.
Power of positivity
Velasquez has been sharing her story for over a decade. After an interview she did as teen was posted online under the title “World’s Ugliest Woman,” she was hurt, but not for long.
She’s now an author, motivational speaker and popular YouTuber, who travels the country talking about having a positive attitude. Her TED Talk has over 13 million views.
“I want people to know you are enough just being who you are,” she says. “It is possible to get to a place in your life where you fully accept yourself from the inside out.”
Kristen Castillo, [email protected]