She made her national debut on Maury in 2009, and a YouTube clip grabbed from the show titled “Most Ugly Woman in the World” has garnered almost 5 million hits.
It probably doesn’t help that CBS, the New York Daily News, the Telegraph, and even the German Der Spiegel all equally sensationalized her as “the girl who must eat every 15 minutes to survive” or “doctors baffled by world’s thinnest woman.”
At 23, doctors think Lizzie Velasquez has a form of the rare neonatal progeroid syndrome, which accelerates her aging and makes it almost impossible to gain weight. Blind in one eye, indeed, she does have to eat between 5,000 and 8,000 calories a day, and has never been more than 62 pounds, according to reports.
And born at just 2lbs and 10 oz, doctors say it’s a miracle she even survived. According to her mother, the doctors also warned it was possible that Velasquez would never walk, would never be able to eat on her own, and even encouraged the mother to reconsider having any more children. But, to everyone’s astonishment, Velasquez grew, healthy brothers and sisters were born, and her parents never treated her any differently than the others.
But she realized how different she was when she entered school. She recalled: “I was called skinny bones, that was a really big one…grandma, because a lot of people told me I looked really old. Um, pork chop legs?”
Someone emailed her: “Hi Lizzie, I was just looking at your picture and you are very ugly. How are you a cheerleader?”