A 23-year-old branded by cyber bullies as the "world's ugliest woman" due to her medical condition has dismissed the hurtful comments about her looks as "just words".
Lizzie Velasquez suffers an extremely unusual medical condition where she was born with no fat on her body. In fact, her condition is so rare that only there are only three known cases in the world.
Velasquez, from Austin, Texas, who is also blind in one eye, was born without any adipose tissue, meaning that she has no body fat, and despite eating every 15 minutes, she remains at a frail 58 pounds.
Doctors are still baffled by her condition, and still to this day she remains undiagnosed. The main symptom of Velasquez's condition is that she cannot gain weight. She is also blind in one eye and has limited vision in her other eye.
While doctors are unable to pin point her syndrome, she shows some signs of the accelerated aging disease progeria. While the Texas State University senior student has a pointed nose, small mouth and aging skin of someone with progeria but her syndrome is not believed to be terminal.
Speaking on HLN's Dr. Drew, she revealed that when cyber bullies first started attacking her online it was hard.
"It's not easy, I will be the first to tell you it's not easy," Velasquez said. "I may have this outer exterior of people saying, 'She can handle everything, she's dealt with this for so long,' and to be honest, I'm human and of course these things are going to hurt."
She said it was extremely hard to have to deal with people constantly staring at her as soon as she walked into a room.
"I'm human... of course these things are going to hurt... (but) I'm not going to let those things define me," she said.
She said that eventually she realized that the people making those hurtful comments online were just cowards hiding behind a computer screen.
"At the end of the day, these are just words," she told Dr. Drew. "If they are so proud, then they should show their face."
"Recently, it's been a lot of adults I've been having to deal with who will slowly walk in front of me and turn their heads, and look me up and down. So the stares are what I'm really dealing with in public right now," she said.
She said that instead of sitting by and watching people judge her she would go up to them and introduce herself or give them her card and say, "Hi, I'm Lizzie - maybe you should stop staring and start learning."
Velasquez, who wears triple zero clothing, said that she weighs herself regularly and that she gets excited when she gains even one pound. She was born four week prematurely and weight only 2lb 10oz, and has never weighed more than 60 pounds in her life.
Velasquez hopes to become a motivational speaker and is the author of a new book - Be Beautiful, Be You.
Published by Medicaldaily.com