How would you react if one day you went on YouTube, clicked on a video titled "The World's Ugliest Woman," and saw your own face staring back at you?
If you're Lizzie Velásquez, you take those negative comments to fuel your own ambition and become one of the most inspiring individuals online. Velásquez suffers from a rare condition which impacts her vision, immune system, and body. She cannot gain any weight — meaning at 26, she only weighs 58 pounds.
"When I was born, the doctors said we just want to warn you, expect your daughter to never be able to talk, walk crawl, think, or anything by herself," Velásquez said in a TED talk early last year. Today, she is an author, motivational speaker, and inspiration to victims of bullying everywhere. So much so that she's started her own YouTube channel, with over 350,000 subscribers, all who consider themselves her friends and allies.
"Am I going to let the people who called me a monster define me? Am I going to let the people who said 'Kill it with fire' define me?" she said. "No. I'm going to let my goals and my success and my accomplishments be the things that define me. Not my outer appearance."
Her defiance of those comments — paired with her positivity — fuelled her into becoming the inspirational leader she is today. Now, Velásquez is the star of the documentary, A Brave Heart, which tells her story of bullying, her emotional journey towards self-acceptance, her rise as a motivational speaker, and her efforts lobbying for a federal anti-bullying bill. "All I know is being knocked down and getting back up," she says in the trailer. "I'm not going to go away until they listen."