'World's Ugliest Woman,' Lizzie Velasquez, raising money to make a documentary on her life

By Daniel S Levine,

Lizzie Velasquez, who was referred to as ‘the world’s ugliest woman’ once, is now an accomplished motivational speaker. However, she will need the help of her fans and supporters in order to make a documentary of her life.

Velasquez and director Sara Bordo have turned to Kickstarter to help raise money for “The Lizzie Project” and are hoping to hit $180,000. So far, they are under $30,000 shy of that goal with seven days to go. Backers can get a wide variety of perks based on how much they donate, including a chance to meet Velasquez either online or in person.

“I know what it is to be bullied and what is to be bullied online, and I want to be the protector of those who think it won't get better,” Velasquez, 25, said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Velasquez gained national attention when she did a TED Talk in December. The Austin, Texas native was born with an extremely rare disease that keeps her from gaining weight and is blind in one eye. She currently weighs just 58 pounds. The disease is so rare that it does not have a name and there are only two others in the entire world that are known to suffer from it.

While her TED Talk inspired some, it also brought nasty comments from bullies. “Instead of just taking shelter of my tears, I chose to be happy and realize this syndrome is not a problem but a blessing that allows me to improve myself and inspire other people,” Velasquez told the AP.

That strength has earned her thousands of followers across social media and she’s been interviewed by Barbara Walters on The View and Katie Couric. She has been thankful for her parents, who loved her as much as her two siblings.

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