Gothel had never considered herself beautiful.
Growing up the boys refused to talk to her; they called her "mule face" and "toothpick" and "big teeth". When she had complained to her father about them, he had simply responded "You can't get mad at people for telling the truth." She was 6.
As she grew older, the name-calling stopped and people just began to ignore her. She had no friends, no acquaintances, and anyone who she could get to hold a decent conversation with merely tolerated her. That is when she figured out that she would have to work harder for everything. She began to take her studies seriously, wanting to learn all she could so she could escape the poverty she had grown up in and make something of herself. If she could become successful people would take her seriously and surely they would want to talk to her.
Despite her efforts, she learned that fortune favors the beautiful. Every job she had tried to get was usually given to a less qualified, more beautiful girl than she. This was heartbreaking to her. No one would give her a break. The townspeople saw her as merely an unlucky girl who would barely get by in life. No one wanted to deal with her and her difficult home life. Her early life had been tragic and everyone saw her as a bad luck charm that would surely ruin their business if they weren't careful. She would need a stroke of pure luck to get anywhere.
Her father was an abusive man. A raging alcoholic since his adolescence, he took no pity on his daughter. On several occasions he had mentioned how he had wanted a boy and how Gothel had literally been a disappointment since birth. He beat her constantly. But no one cared about her bruises or broken arms or fat lips. She had tried on several occasions to run away, only for her father to find her before she got far. Those had been the worst beatings. She tried everything she could to please him: cooked the best food, kept the house spotless, nursed his hangovers, and even made artwork to try and make the house more beautiful. He never cared. He would usually end up going to the bar to eat, he would trash the house in his fits of rage, he was too hungover to even remember her caring for him, and he would end up somehow ruining her artwork.
Her mother had left after Gothel was born. She knew her husband would surely beat her for not giving him a son. She had been very young. She had been from a rich family and had fallen hard for the man. They had met when her family had come to visit on royal business; he saw her from across the market place and knew she was the one. Within two weeks they had married, much to her family's chagrin. However, she had been unaware of his addiction until after she had become pregnant. She had hoped he would stop and he had convinced he would on a few occasions. But he never did. He only got worse. She had left her daughter with him because she did not think she could take care of her. Where she had went, no one knew. There had been assumptions that she went back to her family and married a distant cousin of hers, but they were just rumors.
The day Gothel met the gypsy woman was a cold, bitter day. The market place was nearly empty, but Gothel needed to get parsnips to make hazelnut soup. It was her father's birthday and she knew it was his favorite. As she hurried by the stalls, the gypsy called out to her.
"Gothel," she had said.
Gothel turned around, slightly confused. "How do you know my name?"
The Gypsy laughed. "I know all, child. I know about your father, your mother, and your desire for a better life. And I can give that to you."
Gothel snorted. "I'm sure you can."
"Oh ye of little faith," the woman whispered. "What would you do to be beautiful?"
Gothel, deciding to humor the woman, responded, "Anything."
"You don't mean that."
"Maybe I do and maybe I don't. The point is I doubt you can make me beautiful."
The woman paused and thought it over. "I am a kind woman," she began. "I will give you a beauty potion for no charge.'
"A beauty potion?"
"Yes. It is very potent and will last forever."
"There has to be a catch."
"No catch. It is made from a magic flower I found. I too was once like you and I would like to end your struggles." She handed Gothel a glowing gold vile. "Take it at exactly midnight tonight, and tomorrow your new life will begin. Now go!"
Gothel stared at the bottle in absolute awe. She had never seen such a beautiful color before. She looked up to thank the woman, but found that she had disappeared.
Gothel woke up the next day only to find that her dresses were too small. When had she become so…curvy? Trying to ignore it, she eventually found a loose dress and put it on, knowing she needed to get to the market early to buy new fabric and so herself at least one new dress. It wasn't until she walked by the mirror that she saw the change. Her once wire-like hair had become smooth, perfect curls. Her skin was smooth and perfect. Her stick of a body had been given curves and definition. She was absolutely stunning.
And thus began her new life.