VidCon 2015: YouTube's Lizzie Velasquez's Message to Bullying Victims: 'You're Not Alone'

07/24/2015 AT 11:25 AM EDT

Since launching her YouTube channel in 2008, Lizzie Velasquez has found fame and unwavering support from strangers all over the world.

But that wasn't always the case.

Velasquez, 26, was born with a rare syndrome that restricts her from gaining weight. The condition led to years of unfortunate bullying, and was only amplified after a video of the star titled "world's ugliest woman" surfaced on YouTube.

Velasquez chose to turn the negative comments into something much more fulfilling, taking it upon herself to raise awareness of her disorder while also serving as an anti-bulling activist. The feedback, she says, has been amazing, allowing her to deliver motivational talks in different countries around the world.



"I think my biggest piece of advice [for bullying victims] is you're not alone," she told Justine Ezarik (better known as iJustine to the vlogging community) during a one-on-one interview at VidCon on Thursday. "Even if you feel like you're never going to get through it or you're never going to be able to find the light at the end of the tunnel – it's there. It's waiting for you. You just have to decide whether you're going to go with it and find it."

Despite having reached millions of individuals with her YouTube videos and inspiring speeches, the activist admits that kids are the ones who have really had an impact on her.

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"They hear my story and they'll join a club at school, or some have even started YouTube channels or different social media things, and it changes their life," says Velasquez. "I can see the smile in their faces and the light in their eyes."

Velasquez continues to spread her anti-bullying message with her weekly videos, game-changing TED Talk and documentary, A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story. The film, which is also executive produced by Velasquez and Ezarik, has already swept up six awards and is set to make rounds at two more film festivals.
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