Redefining importance of appearances

Valerie Teegardin

Once dubbed “the ugliest woman in the world,” Lizzie Velasquez has been turning heads ever since her TED talk this past December when she addressed her rare disease that makes it impossible to gain any weight.

Retelling some of the harassment she’s had to face — like strangers telling her to do the world a favor and commit suicide — Velasquez could have easily held a pity party for herself and wallow in negativity.

Instead, through her display of self-love and achievements, Velasquez has proven that she refuses to let her disease define her.

In a culture that puts an absurd amount of importance on how one looks, this 25 year old’s message on finding happiness from within has hit me with a fierce sense of inspiration to not dull my true colors simply because others tell me to.

After hearing her story of how she’s overcome countless hardships, I have huge respect for Velasquez.

She’s doing what most of us can’t do, staying true to ourselves despite the world telling us otherwise.

Check out Lizzie’s speech:;search%3ALizzie

Valerie Teegardin can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @vteegardin.