A few years ago, Lizzie Velasquez was goofing off on YouTube when she noticed a face in a static photo that looked familiar.
Lizzie’s eyesight isn’t so good, so she clicked on the thumbnail. The face that met her was her own. Above it, in bold type, were the words, “The World’s Ugliest Woman.”
Her gaze fell to the numbers. As of that moment, more than four million viewers had watched the 8-second video, which is Lizzie at age 11, just staring back at the camera. She says, “I literally felt like someone was putting their hand through the computer and punching me over, and over, and over.”
So now, when when we listen to Lizzie—she was born with two diseases that stretch her bones and prevent fat from building up almost anywhere—we’re reminded of what’s it’s like out there for everyone who’s being told they don’t measure up. Told that they’ve got the wrong face, the wrong figure, the wrong clothes …
And we really, really wish they could hear Lizzie instead. It would be better if we could end cyberbullying (and yes, the people on our YouthLine are working on that), but hearing Lizzie talk about coping with loneliness and judgment is good inspiration. Especially for kids, who are far more vulnerable than adults.
Lizzie’s answer to the person who posted the school photo of her, calling her ugly? She founded a YouTube channel of her own. She’s now a motivational speaker. And she’s GOOD at it. This particular video, which is partly titled “inspiration”, has a little over 3 million hits as of today. And every one of them her beautiful doing. Asking you to look, listen, and understand.