Lizzie Velasquez, author of Be Yourself, Be Beautiful.When she was in high school, Lizzie Velasquez was dubbed "The World's Ugliest Woman" in an 8-second-long YouTube video. Born with a medical condition so rare that just two other people in the world are thought to have it, Velasquez has no adipose tissue and cannot create muscle, store energy, or gain weight. She has zero percent body fat and weighs just 60 pounds.
In the comments on YouTube, viewers called her "it" and "monster" and encouraged her to kill herself. Instead, Velasquez set four goals: To become a motivational speaker, to publish a book, to graduate college, and to build a family and a career for herself.
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Now 23 years old, she's been a motivational speaker for seven years and has given more than 200 workshops on embracing uniqueness, dealing with bullies, and overcoming obstacles. She's a senior majoring in Communications at Texas State University in San Marcos, where she lives with her best friend. Her first book, "Lizzie
Blog Posts by Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Secrets to Your Success – Thu, Sep 13, 2012 2:44 PM EDT
Lizzie Velasquez, author of Be Yourself, Be Beautiful.When she was in high school, Lizzie Velasquez was dubbed "The World's Ugliest Woman" in an 8-second-long YouTube video. Born with a medical condition so rare that just two other people in the world are thought to have it, Velasquez has no adipose tissue and cannot create muscle, store energy, or gain weight. She has zero percent body fat and weighs just 60 pounds.Read More »from Lessons from the 'World's Ugliest Woman': 'Stop Staring and Start Learning'
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Team Mom – Wed, Sep 12, 2012 3:07 PM EDT
Anthropology professor Adrienne Pine. (Photo: American University)It's a dilemma that many working moms face: What do you do when your child is too sick to go to school but you have a can't-miss obligation at the office?Read More »from Feminist Anthropology Professor Blasted for Breastfeeding During Class
For Adrienne Pine, a single mom and an assistant professor of anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C., the choice seemed clear. When her infant daughter woke up with a fever on August 28, the first day of Pine's class on Sex, Gender and Culture, Pine decided to bring her baby along.
Related: 9 things you should never say to working moms
Everything went smoothly for the first part of the 75-minute long lecture. Little Lee hung out happily for a while, strapped to her mom's back, crawling along on the floor by her feet, and being held and rocked by a teaching assistant, who insisted on helping even after Pine told her that babysitting wasn't part of the job description. But then the baby grew restless. Without stopping the lecture, Pine breastfed her child briefly, and the baby fell asleep.
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- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Love + Sex – Tue, Sep 11, 2012 2:56 PM EDT
Screenwriter and novelist Niall Leonard. (Photo: Rolf Marriott via niallleonard.com)You may think that being married to the woman who wrote the BDSM "Fifty Shades" trilogy might mean a long parade of expensive trips, jealous fans, and plenty of erotic toys. But according to Niall Leonard, James' real-life husband of more than 20 years, the couple's "lifestyle" has little in common with the book.Read More »from Meet Niall Leonard, the Man Who's Married to "Fifty Shades of Grey" Author E.L. James
"We're mostly, for all intents and purposes, just a regular family," Leonard, a screenwriter and novelist, told CNN in an interview.
Their two teenage sons have to put up with plenty of fallout from their mom's steamy "Twilight" fan fiction.
"They can look after themselves and they don't take any crap from anyone who wants to tease them about it," Leonard says. "People do, but… deep down they're really proud of what she's done and they're really proud of her."
While the idea may make their sons squirm, Leonard says that he does see aspects of his wife in her "Fifty Shades" characters, Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.
"I see my wife in the emails that they exchange,"
New York City's 'Tribute In Light' to the victims of the 9/11 attacks shines from One World Trade into the sky over Manhattan on September 10, 2012. (Photo: Afton Almaraz/Getty Images) On Sept. 11, 2001, I was in Hyderabad, India for my grandfather's funeral. There were rolling black-outs that night (India is about 10 hours ahead of New York) so no one was watching the news when someone called to say that a plane had hit one of the twin towers in New York.Read More »from Where Were You on Sept. 11, 2001?
Related: A 9/11 firefighter builds a new life out of family tragedy
We thought it was a sick joke. Who makes up something like that? It had to be a joke, because it was too outrageous to be true. The power was out, so we ran for our cars, to turn on the radios and find out for ourselves.
Then the second plane hit.
My brothers and I all left India on different days and we all ended up stuck in Amsterdam when the airlines grounded the flights. My younger brother had gotten there first, so after my youngest brother and I talked our way onto the last flight out of Mumbai, we camped out in his hotel room. I was an editor on the national news desk at the Boston Globe at the time, and ended up reporting on 9/11 from
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Parenting – Mon, Sep 10, 2012 2:49 PM EDTelite caregivers to the world's wealthiest children. This year, though, the famous nanny school is taking on something new: a male student.For more than a century, Norland College in Bath, England, has trained young women to be
Michael Kenny, 18, is the first young man to enroll in the elite school's Bachelors of Arts program in Early Childhood Studies, which they offer in association with the University of Gloucestershire.
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"I have always wanted to work with children and Norland has the best reputation in the country, if not the world, for studying childcare," Kenny told ABC News in a statement. Being the only man in the 48-student class "doesn't bother me at all," he says.
After teaching English and mathematics to severely disabled children in Uganda, where he lived with his family, Kenny knew he wanted to go to Norland, but wasn't sure if they even accepted male students. He called to check before applying.
Related: 10 Read More »from Norland College Admits Its First Male Student. Would You Hire a Male Nanny?
Malia (far right) and Sasha Obama stand with their parents on stage at the end of the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina this week. The Obama's strict rules usually keep their girls out of the limelight. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images) The public rarely catches a glimpse of President Barack Obama's daughters Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11. Even an appearance on stage at the end of the Democratic National Convention wasn't reason enough to break the "you must go to school" rule; as the president promised in his speech, the girls were at their desks at Sidwell Friends School first thing in the morning. But when you're parenting in the White House, you have to be even more strict than your average mom or dad.
PHOTOS: The Obama girls grow up
How strict? The New York Times' Jodi Kantor listed a few rules that First Lady Michelle Obama has mentioned over the years:
- The girls must write reports about what they've seen on their trips, even if it's not required by their school.
- Malia may use her cellphone only on the weekends, and she and her sister cannot watch television or use a computer for anything but homework during the week.
- Malia and Sasha have to play two sports: one they choose and one selected by their mother.
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Healthy Living – Fri, Sep 7, 2012 12:49 PM EDT
Stand Up 2 CancerCancer rates may be declining slowly, but deaths from certain types of cancer are still on the rise, and more than 1,500 people in the United States still die from it every day. Stand Up 2 Cancer is determined to accelerate and innovate cancer research, so that patients can have access to new treatments quickly, and scientists can find a cure. Their telethon tonight (8 p.m. ET, on Yahoo.com and elsewhere) is dedicated to raising money and awareness for the fight against cancers of all kinds.Read More »from Stand Up 2 Cancer: 5 Ways to Lower Your Risk of Cancer
"This broadcast has become a global call-to-action for all those touched by cancer," Gwyneth Paltrow, who is one of the telethon's executive producers, said in a statement. "Like so many people, I know what it's like to lose a family member to this disease, and I'm honored to stand up in my father's memory."
Since 2008, the organization has given out $109 million to fund hundreds of scientists working toward finding a cure for cancer. (Their funding is administered by the American Association for
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Healthy Living – Thu, Sep 6, 2012 10:50 PM EDT
Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile RIchards speaks at the Democratic National Convention on Sept. 5, 2012. (Photo: Getty Images)This year, Planned Parenthood has faced plenty of controversy. The Susan G. Komen Foundation's decision in February to defund -- and then refund -- a grant to fund breast cancer screenings at the womens' health clinics led Planned Parenthood to launch its own breast health initiative in August.Read More »from Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards on Women's Health and Working with the GOP
"Breast health has long been a core part of the care we do," Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards told Yahoo! Shine in an interview. "This new initiative is really trying to tackle the biggest barriers to women getting breast exams and breast care. One is cost, the other is fear. I think there are too many women who are afraid of what they might find and don't get screenings early enough."
The Republican push to defund Planned Parenthood puts their preventative health programs at risk, Richards says.
"Two years ago, when John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Todd Akin and the Tea Party took control of the House of Representatives, they promised to create jobs and jump-start the economy," Richards
- Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Women Who Shine – Thu, Sep 6, 2012 2:22 PM EDT
Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren shakes hands with 92-year-old Rose Syracuse Richardone at her party on Sept. 5, 2012. (Photo: Kent Miller Studios, Macy's Inc.)When Rose Syracuse Richardone started working at Macy's, women's wool cardigans cost $2.14 each. Cotton gabardine raincoats for girls were $2.98, old ads show; twin-size sheets were $1.11 and stainless steel flatware was just 16 cents per piece, on sale.Read More »from After 73 years, Macy's longest-serving employee retires
PHOTOS: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
A lot has changed since then, and Richardone -- who retired on Wednesday at the age of 92, after a record-breaking 73 years of service in the N.Y. flagship store -- has seen it all.
"Rose is an hourly worker. She clocked in every day," Robin Hall, Senior VP of the Macy's Parade and Entertainment Group, told Yahoo! Shine in an interview. "It's just a passion of hers to be here. She's not a person who seeks attention. She just loves to work."
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Born in Pennsylvania, Rose Syracuse and her family moved to New York when she was just a child, so that her brothers wouldn't have to end up working in the coal mines. The family settled down in Brooklyn, where they
Alana Thompson and her family, from TLC's Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.The first time I watched "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" on TLC, I was appalled. It wasn't the mud bogging or the Redneck games that got me, though I'll admit that watching people bob for raw pigs feet was kind of gross. It wasn't the way the mom washed her hair in the sink, the constant fart jokes, or even the stark contrast between the picture-perfect beauty pageant world and their ramshackle house down by the railroad tracks that made me uncomfortable.Read More »from Why Do People Love Honey Boo Boo?
What got me was the way the show seemed to glorify all of the things that make so many people cringe about our country -- and how fans are flocking to it.
Critics were horrified when "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" debuted earlier this year. The 7-year-old star, Alana Thompson, chugs Mountain Dew mixed with Red Bull before beauty pageants and struts around saying things like "A dollah makes me hollah!" (her over-the-top antics on "Toddlers and Tiaras" helped her land her own show). The entire family looks like a train wreck, from morbidly