- How to watch ‘Game of Thrones’ season 8, episode 2 for free 4 Years Ago
- Gendry is making a new weapon for Arya Stark—but what is it? Today 6:30 AM
- The live-action Halo series could be Showtime’s most ambitious project yet Today 6:00 AM
- How to watch Turner Classic Movies for free Today 5:30 AM
- How to watch Real Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao online for free Today 5:00 AM
- ‘Star Trek’s Jonathan Frakes calls out your lies with this new meme Saturday 3:46 PM
- #JusticeForLucca trends after video shows police slam Black teen’s head into pavement Saturday 3:11 PM
- The internet is shocked to learn that Goombas do, in fact, have arms Saturday 2:02 PM
- PayPal, GoFundMe cut off armed militia that detains migrants at border Saturday 1:16 PM
- Barnwood theft may be on the rise because of ‘Fixer Upper’—and fans aren’t having it Saturday 12:23 PM
- Literary Twitter calls out Dzanc Books for Islamophobic, racist novel Saturday 11:40 AM
- How to watch Crawford vs. Khan online Saturday 10:00 AM
- Beyoncé has 2 more projects coming to Netflix after ‘Homecoming’ Saturday 9:53 AM
- How to watch Danny Garcia vs. Adrian Granados for free Saturday 9:00 AM
- The ‘Feeling Cute Challenge’ turns ugly after correctional officers abuse it Saturday 7:30 AM
Get a closer look at cyberbullying with Lizzie Velasquez doc ‘A Brave Heart’
Activist Lizzie Velasquez turned the negative into a positive with her film.
When faced with bullying, the YouTube generation does what it knows best: turns the camera on and documents their struggles. That’s the genesis for A Brave Heart, a documentary that follows Lizzie Velasquez, a woman with a rare congenital disease that, among other symptoms, restricts her ability to accumulate body fat. Because of her condition, Velasquez has faced constant bullying, both online and off.
“[Lizzie] found this YouTube video years ago, and they had called her the world’s ugliest woman,” Justine Ezarik, better known as iJustine, told the Daily Dot. “It’s absolutely heartbreaking. But she took that and used that as inspiration to be a better person and to try and end cyberbulling.”
The film, which had its world premiere at South by Southwest, follows Lizzie’s daily life and her quest to have her extremely rare disease finally diagnosed.
“It’s her story, but she wants it to be everybody’s story,” explained Ezarik, who is an executive producer for the film.
The pair connected where Ezarik says she makes most of her friends, online.
“It all just happened because I commented on her Instagram,” she said. “She got excited because she watched my video, and then I got excited that she wrote back to me. I originally met her a couple of years ago in Austin because I was doing a panel. Two years later we’re here doing a panel together.”
Ezarik says documentary filmmaking is a natural extension of the YouTuber style, where documenting life on video is second nature.
“It’s interesting because what I think all of us YouTubers are sort of doing is making mini documentaries with everything we are doing,” she explained. “I’ve been filming and putting my life online from a long time ago. You want to tell the story and capture it however you can. Even in the film, there’s clips from her YouTube, there’s clips from her small camera, there’s clips from people filming her.”
Meanwhile, Ezarik is stretching her creative wings into book writing, with her debut coming this summer.
“There’s so many things I never really posted online,” explained Ezarik of the book’s content. I know people think, ‘Oh she posts everything.’ You don’t post everything at all; that’s crazy.”
The book follows her life and the evolution of social media during her tenure on all the platforms.
“I was always sort of nerdy and liked weird things and sort of I found my people on the Internet,” she said. “It’s kind of just letting everyone know that whatever it is that you like and whatever it is that you’re into, there’s other people out there. You just have to find them. I’ve been so lucky to find such amazing people out there that like the cool, crazy things that I do.”
Screengrab via Daily Dot/YouTube
A former YouTube reporter for the Daily Dot, Rae Votta has more than a decade of experience in the digital and entertainment industries. Her work has appeared on AOL, Huffington Post, Out Magazine, Logo, VH1, Current TV, Billboard, and NYMag. She joined Netflix in 2016.