27-year-old Lizzie Velasquez has come a long way from simply being known as “The World’s Ugliest Woman.”
Velasquez was born neonatal progeroid syndrome, a medical condition that makes infants look aged, even at birth. For Velasquez, her disease has settled into her eyes, heart, and bones. The condition inhibits her from adding any extra weight to her 63-pound frame, giving her a frail appearance.
Ten years ago, when Velasquez was 17, someone even made her the subject of a YouTube video, calling her the “world’s ugliest woman.”
Velasquez, however, only used the attention this video gave her as a platform to become a YouTube star and a motivational speaker, promoting healthy body image and positivity.
In 2015, Velasquez was even the subject of her own documentary, A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, in which she spoke about her mission to promote kindness among others.
Now, more recently, Velasquez found herself once again targeted online for her appearance. Someone had taken a photo of her and made her into a terrible meme.
Rather than respond to the fire with her own ammunition, Velasquez took apart the meme with grace and kindness.
“I’m writing this post not as someone who is a victim but as someone who is using their voice…the innocent people that are being put in these memes are probably up just as late scrolling through Facebook and feeling something that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy,” she wrote very simply in the caption of the re-posted meme.
Her message has since received 32.3k likes – but Velasquez isn’t basking in the attention.
“I knew this is my purpose, this is what I’m meant to do for the rest of my life, because I like to think that I’m not only telling my story — I’m telling everyone’s story,” she explained.
You can view her original response here: