She was once deemed the "ugliest woman in the world." Soon, she may have a starring role in an important and inspirational film.
Lizzie Velasquez suffers from a rare syndrome that makes it impossible for her to gain weight; additionally, she is blind in one eye. When a video of her was uploaded to YouTube in 2006, it quickly went viral, with many users calling her the "ugliest woman in the world."
While the moniker was no doubt painful to Velasquez, she parlayed the notoriety it afforded her into something positive. Ignoring her hateful critics, she went on to successfully finish college, write three self-help books, host a successful TED Talk, and be interviewed by Barbara Walters, among others. Her Facebook page currently has more than 250,000 likes and close to 35,000 people follow her on Twitter.
"Lizzie has a bigger dream to accomplish: to make the online community a more positive place than when she found it. Or, rather, when it found her," project founder Sarah Bordo wrote.
So far, over 3,000 backers have pledged $197,000 toward the project, exceeding its $180,000 goal.
Velasquez's journey—and the support she has received from far more level-headed Internet users—has been nothing short of inspirational and is proof positive that opinions formed by anonymous online cowards truly don't matter in the real world.