Lizzie Velasquez was born with a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight along with other medical issues. She lived with this syndrome for 25
years undiagnosed. Her appearance found her withdrawing from other students, getting bullied and constantly stared at. The film, “A Brave Heart: The
Lizzie Velazquez Story,” directed by Sara Hirsh Bordo, follows Lizzie as she dedicates her life to being an anti-bullying activist after discovering
millions of people all over the world were inspired by her story. The film angers and saddens you, yet Lizzie’s big heart and relentless spirit will
make yours smile and even laugh. It also shows you what the love of family and community can do to always make you feel beautiful. The film is out in theaters now.
LatinoBuzz: How did this impressive team come about to make the film?
Lizzie: Our director and producer Sara put our incredible team together and we have been such a family from the beginning. She had produced the
TEDxAustinWomen event where I gave my talk. She brought Alexis, another TEDxAustinWomen producer and fellow Austinite, Chris our editor who worked on the
amazing film “Boyhood,” and the list goes on. We are also so honored to have Sara Bareilles’ work with all of the music for the film. She wrote to me after
the TEDx talk and Sara and Ngoc, who did publicity for the film, reached out to see if she was interested when we decided to make the film. Her original
version of the song Brave is one of my favorite moments in the film.
LatinoBuzz: You’ve touched many people’s lives, but is there one particular person you know you changed so much?
Lizzie: I feel so lucky to hear often about how my story has given others hope. It’s hard to pick just one, but they are each my heroes because of their
bravery to keep going. If they can persevere through what they’re going through, so can I.
LatinoBuzz: What was that moment like when you got a call from Ted Talks?
Lizzie: Sara and Alexis reached out and asked if I was interested in giving a talk. I didn’t know it would change everything.
LatinoBuzz: Were you surprised when you found yourself in other countries and people were moved by your Ted talk?
Lizzie: Sara is always saying how “hope is universal” and that “bullying doesn’t discriminate.” I will let her words answer this.
LatinoBuzz: What is the definition of your ultimate happiness? What does that look like?
Lizzie: To me, ultimate happiness is a journey, not a destination. It’s not somewhere you end up, it’s making choices every day to make yourself happy. To
make the right choices for yourself. I’m not saying I have it perfected! It’s a daily practice, but it’s something I work really hard to be mindful of.
LatinoBuzz: Are you a down low fashionista? All your outfits in the film were dope!
Lizzie: When you are tiny like me and it’s hard to find clothes that fit you get really creative! I do love fashion though, and it’s so fun to play with
different things. Right now I’m into these new booties my mom found. I don’t wear heels, so these wedge booties are making me feel super stylish!
LatinoBuzz: Is there a historic figure you admire most?
Lizzie: Again, it’s hard for me to pick just one. So I would actually rather talk about how much I admire my parents, Rita and Lupe. As you will see in the
film, I was definitely born into the family that was perfect for me and we were perfect for each other. I wish we lived in a world where all kids were
loved by their parents how I was and am every day.
LatinoBuzz: You’ve been flown all over. Which place or event stole your heart?
Lizzie: Sara and I were lucky enough to travel to Traverse City, Michigan by Michael Moore for his festival this summer and we just LOVED it there! Shout
out to all of the incredible people there. It’s such an incredibly kind community, so generous, beautiful, and not a super-fast city. Lots of people who
move a little slower just like I do!
LatinoBuzz; Why has the federal anti-bullying bill taken so long to pass?
Lizzie: It’s a frustrating process to be sure. It has a lot more democratic support than it has republican support. It’s now been 9 years/4 terms. We’re
hopeful that we can help ignite more action from people who care about the bill through our platform on IMWITHLIZZIE.com so that the members of Congress see finally that they need to pay more attention to what issues
families care about most.
LatinoBuzz: Do you think the government does enough to protect children?
Lizzie: Once SSIA passes, my answer will be Yes.
For more information and screening times, please visit http://imwithlizzie.com/ and join her movement!
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