Directed and Produced by: Sara Hirsh Bordo
Writer: Michael Campo
You’ve heard the saying ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’, well this is also true when it comes to people, and it is certainly true in the case of Lizzie Valesquez.
In this multi award winning documentary by Rising Women, we see someone who was cruelly labelled as the ‘World’s Ugliest Woman’ by a vicious social media attack, transformed into a worldwide success story, bringing love, hope and true beauty to people across the globe.
Lizzie was born with a very rare condition which prevents her from gaining weight, giving her a different appearance. However, it does not take long for the visible to drop away, revealing a strength, beauty and love for others that shines through this remarkable young lady named Lizzie.
We are taken through Lizzie’s early years, from the moment of her birth and the reactions of the doctors, to her schooling years where she suffered hurtful bullying, and beyond to the inspiring motivational speaker she is now.
With parents who adore her, along with her sweet, outgoing personality, we watch Lizzie rise above the world’s view, her condition and the bullying, pushing the boundaries of what was expected, and surprising all with her determination.
When 17 year old Lizzie stumbled across a YouTube video entitled ‘World’s Ugliest Woman’, her world took on a whole new challenge.
“I don’t even know why I clicked on it, but I did,” recalls Lizzie as she retells the story.
Lizzie was shattered when she realised that the video was of her. What was worse, was the number of views and the pages of hurtful comments which followed, comments that recommended she do the world a favour and end her life.
Distraught, Lizzie read every single comment, which obliterated her self-confidence and self-esteem in moments. She says the only thing worse than how it made her feel was the potential effect it would have on her parents, who were obviously devastated by the video that had been shared of their precious girl.
Despite the pain it caused them all, Lizzie’s parents were able to help her through these difficult days. The turning point was when she learnt to forgive. Lizzie begins to fight back and this is where we see Lizzie shine brighter than ever before.
Lizzie’s fight-back comes in the form of using the same weapon that was used against her, but now used for love. She begins her own series of YouTube videos which help others deal with bullying and self-acceptance. From her growing YouTube fame, Lizzie finds herself invited to do a TEDx talk, which currently has over 2 million views. The success of this sets her on the path of becoming a motivational speaker, speaking into and influencing millions of people, especially young girls, throughout the world.
Taking her anti-bullying message as far as Capitol Hill, Lizzie continues to advocate for anti-bullying to this day.
A truly inspirational documentary. Lizzie will capture your heart as she continues to change lives, bringing encouragement and hope, showing that everyone has a purpose for living.
As Lizzie says, whether the start of your journey is positive or negative, we’re all meant to be here for a reason. It’s about finding that reason and living it.
You can find more information on how to rent/buy this documentary at www.imwithlizzie.com.au.
Originally published for Christian Today Australia, 8th September 2016.