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“I feel like a lot of us are going through a dark time. That we are living under clouds and need the sun to come out. I hope I’m the person holding the umbrella. I hope I am the person who can tell you to come under the umbrella ’til the sun comes out.”

At the time of Lizzie’s birth, she was one of only three people in the world diagnosed with Marfanoid–Progeroid–Lipodystrophy Syndrome: a condition which doesn’t allow her to gain weight and affects her heart, eyes, and bones. At age 17, she came across a YouTube video entitled “World’s Ugliest Woman”- only to discover that it was about her. In the years since then, she’s made it her life’s work to spread kindness and stand up for bullying victims.

She has appeared on The Today Show, The View, AOL, MSN, Yahoo, The Huffington Post, Katie Couric and her TEDx video has been viewed over 13 million times. She has inspired people around the world to look at inner beauty, to be kind to each other, and to own our emotions.

Today she beautifully articulates her story of strength, determination, and “what’s next” with us. 

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  • She was born in Austin, Texas and still lives there today. To her, it is home.
  • Her parents raised her as a normal kid. It wasn’t until kindergarten that she realized for the first time there was something different about her.
  • “I see anything that I want to do as a dare.”
  • Her TEDx Talk “How Do YOU Define Yourself” has been viewed over 13 million times. You can watch it here.
  • “The humor I have onstage is the same humor I have off.”
  • Referring to bullying, Lizzie says “It happens to absolutely everyone.” Her advice: “You got this, it isn’t going to be easy, but you can do it.”
  • She prioritizes sitting for 5-10 minutes in “me time” with no interruptions, cell phone, etc.
  • Her newest book is called, Dare to be Kind.
  • Lizzie has over 1.5 million people following her on Social Media. Follow her at @littlelizziev


1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? Wonder.

2. Tomorrow you discover your wealthy uncle shockingly dies at the age of 103; leaving you millions. What would you do with it? I have always had this dream of creating a scholarship foundation, then I would help my church and family. Lastly, I would spoil my dogs.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? The big box of photos I have.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? Julia Roberts or Ava Duvernay.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Never be scared to learn. Be comfortable in the uncomfortable.

6. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at age 20? Prepare for some craziness.

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? Go out every day, knowing it isn’t going to always be sunny. But, it will clear up.


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I can’t wait to see you here next Thursday! Today is your day. Live Inspired.

Live Inspired with John every day on FacebookTwitterYouTubeLinkedInPinterest, Instagram and get his Monday Motivation email: www.JohnOLearyInspires.com/Monday-Morning

6 replies on “Lizzie Velasquez: Spreading Kindness (ep. 71)”

I was inspired by this amazing woman. Her comments on kindness and being there for others helped me think how I could do it too.

What a beautiful example of confidence and kindness in a world where we need more of both. The honesty and openness with which Lizzie shares her story are so inspiring. I will never see an umbrella again that I don’t think about her and your wonderful interview and questions that brought her incredible story to my awareness. Thank you both so much.

Thanks Carol….Lizzie truly is an amazing woman. Thanks for sharing her story and passion for real beauty in life. John

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