Matilda Lansdown

32, London 

Matilda Lansdown smiles to camera

“My cleft is my superpower. I wear it with pride and hope I can inspire and educate others, be the person I needed when I was growing up.”

Watching her twin sister grow up without a cleft, Matilda couldn’t help but ask: Why can she eat a whole apple while I have to cut my food into tiny pieces and it still comes out my nose? Why doesn’t she have to repeat everything she says? Why are boys nice to her and only throw paper balls at me? 

When her headteacher paraded her to every classroom to teach students what a cleft was, then demanded she identify anyone who had been mean to her, she would have sooner sprouted wings and fly away — as she often yearned to do. 

As a teenager, she masked her resentment in alcohol, drugs, fighting. But this was also when she discovered her passion: makeup. At 20, she left Edinburgh for London to work in the fashion and beauty industry. It “gave me a sense of inclusion. I could wear rainbow lipstick, have glitter everywhere, and the response was, ‘Amazing, this is so fun.’”

Today, she loves her smile. She is active on social media and uses it as a tool to show the beauty of faces with clefts and connect with others in the global cleft community. 


Her advice for others with unique smiles: “Be the mirror, be the person you want to see. Smile, and make someone’s day!”