Christian Hadjipateras

39, Switzerland

Christian Hadjipateras
“We should all be proud of our smiles. And for us in the cleft community, we thank all those incredible surgeons around the world for making them possible.”

Christian, who was born and raised in London, has had 50 surgeries on his face between the day he was born and his early twenties.

Yet he considers himself to have had a happy childhood, largely because his parents always surrounded him with love and reminders that he is worthy as everyone else.

It wasn’t until Christian entered secondary school that the constant comments and stares began to crack the armour his family had worked so hard to dress him in.

At age 21, he nearly ran to the hospital for his last major facial surgery. He saw it as a graduation, the beginning of a brand-new existence where he would no longer be different. He recovered only to realise no surgery can treat what’s torn inside you. Many turbulent years followed.

But time heals what surgery cannot. He gradually grew more confident. Christian is now a published author and outspoken cleft advocate.


His advice to others with unique smiles: “Celebrate with a smile. Smiles disarm people. Watch them look at you in a completely different way.”