Back in December, a TEDx Talk video made rounds around the Internet becoming viral. Lizzie Velasquez’s “How Do You Define Yourself?” talk was inspirational as she talked about her life, a rare disorder she was born with, and when she found out a video of herself on YouTube that called her the “world’s ugliest woman.” At 62 pounds, Velasquez is one of three known people in the world that suffer from a rare condition that experts believe is a form of Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome. Due to the rare syndrome, which manifests itself with accelerated aging and fat loss from the face and body, Velasquez is left blind in her right eye and cannot gain weight.
“I could either choose to make this really good or I can choose to make this really bad. I could be grateful and open my eyes and realize the things I do have, and make those the things that define me. I can’t see out of one eye but I can see out of the other. I might get sick a lot, but I have really nice hair,” she said in the video. After the success her TEDx talk was, Lizzie’s mission didn’t stop there. She just launched a Kickstarter campaign until June 1 to raise money for a documentary based on the 25-year-old Texas native.
Currently titled "The Lizzie Project," the film sets to reveal Lizzie's extraordinary life -- thriving with the rarest of syndromes, surviving being named "the world's ugliest woman" in a widely viewed video, and utilizing her inspirational spirit for a mission to make the online environment a more positive place. "Lizzie's survival of being bullied so publicly and her incredible torch of self-worth and positivity is inspirational in a time when too many children and teens are struggling with the same issues," said first time director Sara Bordo.
"The movie will show how Lizzie is dedicating her life to making a true difference and inspiring others to support each other, online and off." She continued, "Kickstarter is the best example of what is possible when a community comes together. This was a perfect place to fundraise for our film, providing us with authentic, intimate ways for Lizzie's network of supporters, new and existing, to be participants in this movement to address online bullying."
"I know first hand how cruel the Internet can be, but having come out on the other side, I now feel a tremendous amount of love and support from the online community. I want to give people who are struggling with their own adversity -- whatever theirs may be -- hope that you can survive being bullied," said Lizzie Velasquez. The film is set to begin shooting in Austin in June.