January 9, 2014

“Ugliest Woman in the World” is Actually the Most Beautiful. {Profoundly Inspiring Video.}

Sometimes people are such heroes, it’s hard to wrap your mind around their existence.

There are the big names: the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Thich Naht Hanh—and then there are the regular folks whose refusal to let their physical or mental challenges define them makes us take serious pause.

I’ve written about some of these people; my favorite yoga student, Jill, who suffers from cognitive and anxiety disorders but whose passion for yoga is unparalleled, a severely disabled woman, Raquel, who walks at least 20 miles every single day in the woods near my home, and David Maina, an African yoga teacher severely burned as a boy who overcame rejection and self hatred and embraced love.

Lizzie Velasquez deserves a spot on this list.

She was born with a rare disease which prevents her from gaining a normal amount of weight—she has never been heavier than 62 lbs in her adult life—causing her to look unlike any other person on earth, and costing her the vision in her right eye.

Velasquez’s soul has nevertheless blossomed into a thing of extraordinary beauty.

Mocked and tormented for her appearance, labeled the “ugliest woman in the world” on a blog which accumulated over 4 million hits with thousands of comments urging Lizzie to kill herself, she stands before us, 25 years old, one of the most self actualized women I have ever seen.

Most striking is how comfortable she obviously feels in her own skin. In a culture which values appearance above all other qualities, she manages to radiate confidence and self love despite the fact that she in no way fits what is considered our beauty mold, and despite a lifetime of ridicule, harassment and cruelty.

When I heard Lizzie Velasquez speak, I was brought to my knees by her courage, but also by her normalcy and good nature. Watch this video and see for yourself. In just over 13 minutes she managed to suffuse my mind with positivity and inspiration—I bet she does the same for you.


Relephant Reads:

Top 13 Funniest Videos & the Single Most Inspiring Video of 2013.

Confession Letter From Dad to His Daughter With Down Syndrome. {Inspiring Video}

These 10 Videos Will Change Your Life.


Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!

Editor: Catherine Monkman

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Ann Nov 30, 2015 10:04am

Dear Lizzy, It was so good to see you on TV today. You are an amazing person ! I wish I had half your inner strength. Keep on smiling and keep up the great work. The world needs a lot more people like you. LOTS OF LOVE … Ann

sammy Aug 21, 2014 8:09am

If beauty is not about looking like superficial and supposedly glamorous plastic dolls , if it is only about feeling proud of our skins, it’s about elegance and spontaneity and innocence…. Trust me lizzy you are the finest beauty I have ever seen. People are too ignorant and don’t have eyes to cherish beauty . lizzy you make me feel jealous and proud at the same time. Kudos to girl community and kudos to women like you for sharing a new meaning of real beauty with the world.

annah Apr 7, 2014 3:07pm

so cool

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Erica Leibrandt

Erica Leibrandt is a licensed psychotherapist, registered yoga teacher, published author, and imperfect mom. Visit her at PsycheFinder, her new website—the only site that finds your mental health professional for you. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.