- The ‘World’s Ugliest Woman,’ Who Can’t Gain Weight At 58 Pounds
- Rare: Miss Velasquez was born without any adipose tissue, meaning she has no body fat and, despite eating up to 60 small meals a day, remains at a delicate 4.4stone (58lbs)
- Battle: Lizzie Velasquez says she has had to face being stared at and bullied because of her unusual looks
- ‘People should stop staring and start learning’: World’s ‘ugliest woman’ gives courageous interview
- Lizzie Velasquez was born without any adipose tissue, meaning she does not have body fat and cannot gain weight
- The 23-year-old reveals she has been bullied by strangers online
- Despite this she says she would not want to look like a beautiful celebrity
Lizzie Velasquez is just getting used to the endless stares. “The World’s Ugliest Woman,” as she was dubbed in school, is 23 years old and reportedly weighs only 58 pounds while standing 5 feet 2 inches tall.
She has been ridiculed, stared at in the street and called ‘the world’s ugliest woman’ by insensitive cyber bullies.
But, after years of misery and self doubt, Lizzie Velasquez says she can finally shrug off the hurtful comments about her looks as ‘just words’.
Miss Velasquez, from Austin, Texas, was born without adipose tissue – meaning she has no body fat and, despite eating up to 60 small meals a day, remains at a delicate 4.4stone (58lbs).
Back in 2010, The Telegraph reported that Velasquez consumes 5,000 to 8,000 calories a day — eating food every 15 minutes. But because of the condition, the Texas State University in San Marcos student has never weighed much more than 60 pounds, she wrote in the description of her book that came out earlier this year, titled “Be Beautiful, Be You.”
The rare condition still baffles doctors and is thought to affect just three other people worldwide.
Miss Velazquez has now written a second book about her struggle to be accepted and hopes it will help others in a similar position.
In Be Beautiful, Be You the 23-year-old college senior shares advice on being unique, how to make and keep good friends and how to deal with bullying and negativity.
Speaking to Dr Drew Pinsky on Tuesday night about her experiences, Miss Velasquez said when cyber bullies first started attacking her online it was hard.
She told Dr Drew: ‘I’m human… of course these things are going to hurt… (but) I’m not going to let those things define me.’
Eventually Miss Velasquez realised the people issuing the hurtful comments online were just cowards hiding behind a computer screen.
‘At the end of the day, these are just words,’ Miss Velasquez told Dr Drew. ‘If they are so proud, then they should show their face.’
When asked how she deals with being constantly stared at in the street Miss Velasquez said: ‘I’m starting to want to go up to these people and introduce myself or give them my card and say, “Hi, I’m Lizzie – maybe you should stop staring and start learning”.’
Miss Velasquez also revealed she does not have any desire to look like a beautiful celebrity.
She said: ‘I feel I’m really glad I don’t look like the celebrities out there who are beautiful, because there are a lot of stereotypes attached to that.
‘People think “she’s so pretty, she must be really dumb”. Since I don’t look like that it’s better because people can get to know the real me.’
Miss Velasquez was born four weeks prematurely weighing just 2lb 10oz. Doctors found there was minimal amniotic fluid protecting her in the womb.
‘They told us they had no idea how she could have survived,’ Miss Velasquez’s mother Rita, 45, a church secretary, said.
‘We had to buy dolls’ clothes from the toy store because baby clothes were too big.’ Doctors could not make a diagnosis so they prepared Miss Velasquez’s parents for the worst.
‘They told us she would never be able to walk, talk or have a normal life,’ said her mother, who has other children with Miss Velasquez’s father Lupe – both children are of average height and weight.
Despite the grim prognosis Miss Velasquez’s brain, bones and internal organs developed normally but she was always very small.
At the age of two she was still only 15lbs – the same as the average five-month-old baby.
Born with two brown eyes, when Miss Velasquez was four the right began to cloud and change hue. Doctors then discovered she had gone blind in that eye.
‘They still don’t know why it happened but now I have one blue and one brown eye.’
Miss Velasquez’s case has fascinated doctors all over the world and she is part of a genetic study run by Professor Abhimanyu Garg at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
Professor Garg and his team now believe Miss Velasquez may have a form of Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome (NPS), which causes accelerated ageing, fat loss from the face and body, and tissue degeneration. People with PRS often have triangular and prematurely aged faces with a pointy nose.
He said: ‘I am aware of a small number of people that have similar conditions to Lizzie but each case is slightly different.
‘We cannot predict what will happen to Lizzie in the future, as the medical community are yet to document older people with NPS.
‘However Lizzie is lucky to have healthy teeth, organs and bones so the outlook is good. We will continue to study her case and learn from her.’
Miss Velasquez doesn’t take medication but she relies on vitamin supplements and iron to stay healthy. It is thought she should be able to conceive naturally without passing the condition to her children.
Her new book is out on September 13.
The Texas State University senior said, “I can’t gain weight,” in an interview with ABC News.
Velasquez was explaining how she has a rare syndrome that blocks her body from storing fat. Even though Velasquez tries to eat as much as possible, she’s just skin and bones.
“My stomach is so small that I can’t eat that much,” she said. “So about 30 minutes after eating, I’m ready to eat again. I snack a lot just to keep my energy up.”
The cause of her condition is unknown, and only two other people in the world are known to have it, ABC News reported.
“She’s missing all of her adipose tissue,” said Dr. Atul Chopra, a resident in medical genetics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “We just don’t know why.”
“Once I got to about age 13, I kind of got tired of it,” said Velasquez.
“I realized I don’t really want a cure for this syndrome. If a doctor found a magic pill or some surgery that would help me gain weight, I wouldn’t want it. All the struggles I’ve had made me who I am today.”
Velasquez was heavily bullied in school, and revealed that her elementary-school years were the worse.
“I felt like some sort of monster,” she said, recalling her first day of kindergarten. “I never told anyone how bad I was being picked on because I was embarrassed. When I would take a bath at night, that’s when I would cry.”
But she didn’t let the bullying get her down. Instead Velasquez wrote two books: “Be Beautiful, Be You” and “Lizzie Beautiful.” Now the young woman delivers motivational speeches to young students across Texas. She even created a YouTube video titled “It Gets Better,” which has had nearly 2.5 million views since she posted it in 2010.
“I tell everyone, ‘Even though you don’t have my syndrome, you might be able to relate to the struggles I’ve had,'” she said, explaining how talking about bullying is therapeutic for her, too. “It’s kind of the grown-up version of my dad coming to class.”
The motivational speaker says in the video, “Any form of bullying really does hurt.”
She then explains that some websites even suggest that she should kill herself because of the way that she looks, but Velasquez is willing to take the bullying from strangers if she is able to stop bullying overall.
Learn more of her: http://www.aboutlizzie.com/
Her video: www.youtube.com/lizzitachickita
Her website: Lizzie Beautiful