“I Choose To Be Happy” | Lizzie Velasquez at TEDxYouth@Austin

Once labelled “The World’s Ugliest Woman,” Lizzie Velasquez is one of three known people in the world who suffers from a rare syndrome, which prevents her from gaining weight and has caused blindness in her right eye. But the 24-year-old consistently redefines what it means to be beautiful. On March 30, 2013, Lizzie Velasquez shared her “idea worth spreading” at a TEDx talk in Austin.

When Lizzie Velasquez was in high school, she discovered a video of herself on YouTube that was titled “The World’s Ugliest Woman” and had garnered millions of views. In that moment she had to decide whether or not she would let these people define her. With her family’s support she answered back and found the strength to turn hate into love and motivation. Today Lizzie calls it the “greatest blessing of her life.” “I’ve had a really difficult life, but that’s OK,” she adds. “I’m going to let my goals and my success and my accomplishments define me, not my outer appearance.”

At TEDxYouth@Austin Lizzie Velasquez told viewers how she resolved to take charge of her life by killing the negativity with ambition and by defining herself on her own terms.

What defines you? Your backgrounds, friends, families? Lizzie Velasquez definitely succeeds in reminding us that life is what you make it!