Tags: lizzie velasquez | ugliest | woman | world

Lizzie Velasquez, 'Ugliest Woman in World,' Takes On Online Hate (Video)

By Alexandra Ward   |   Wednesday, 08 Jan 2014 11:24 AM

Lizzie Velasquez, once labeled the "Ugliest Woman in the World" by online bullies, is taking a stand against her haters and encouraging people all over to find out what defines them.

"What defines you? Who are you? Is it where you come from? Is it your background? Is it your friends? What defines who you are as a person?" the 24-year-old Texas native asked the audience at a recent TEDX Austin Women conference. "It's taken me a very long time to figure out what defines me. For so long, I thought what defined me was my outer appearance… [but] I can't let that define me."

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According to The Telegraph, Velasquez was born with a very rare form of Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome, which causes accelerated aging, fat loss from the face and body, and tissue degeneration. Because she has trouble gaining weight, she eats about 60 small meals a day but hasn't ever weighed more than 64 pounds. She's also blind in one eye.

Growing up was hard, she told the audience at the TEDX conference last month. In high school, she once stumbled across a video online that had her picture with the title "World's Ugliest Woman." The clip had more than 4 million views and comments from people telling her to just kill herself.

But Velasquez never let the negativity define her and that's the message she wants to share with others.

"You are the one who decides what defines you… Am I going to let the people who called me a monster define me?" she asked the audience. "I'm going to let my goals and my success and my accomplishments define me, not my outer appearance."

Velasquez's message touched everyone who took the time to watch it and many voiced their feelings on Twitter.

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