Lizzie Velasquez, an anti-bullying activist, and her documentary A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story became the talk of the town at the South By Southwest Festival in Austin.

A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story

Velasquez was born with an incredibly rare condition that prevents her from gaining weight – she has zero body fat and is blind out of one eye – and when she was a teenager, she stumbled upon a YouTube video about her called “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” No stranger to bullying, Velasquez was still overwhelmed by the negative comments on the video, many of which suggested that she kill herself. This trauma led Velasquez to become an activist against bullying, and she made waves last year when a TED Talk she gave went viral.

It was at the TEDxAustinWomen event that Velasquez met Sara Hirsh Bordo, who directed the documentary. “I usually do things that are more serious and dramatic and, well, depressing. Her story is much more uplifting and I wasn’t really sure I could do it justice, but you know, once I started seeing the footage, I was kind of blown away. Lizzie has this kind of way of winning over people that is amazing, and the more I got into the footage, I noticed she has a kind of magic to her that you don’t see very often,” Bordo told reporters at SXSW.

Velasquez, 26, premiered her documentary, A Brave Heart, at SXSW on Saturday, March 14, to a standing ovation.

During her time in Austin, Velasquez also participated in a panel with YouTuber Justine Ezarik (aka iJustine) and spoke to reporters and fans about her tricks on how to be confident:

“You have to be fully aware and confident that you are enough just being you. That’s enough! You don’t have to live up to anyone else’s standards, you don’t have to look like anyone else, you don’t have to compare yourself to anyone else. You being you is enough, and you putting your positivity and good vibes out into the world, once you get to that point absolutely everything will fall into place. Whether it’s your personal life, your work life, your school like, your confidence, everything will fit once you believe in yourself,” Velasquez told MTV News.

Velasquez is currently working to pass the first federal anti-bullying bill, the Safe Schools Improvement Act.

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