Nishchala Chitradurga

23, London

Nishchala Chitradurga
“I’ve faced negative experiences, but they’ve ultimately contributed to my personal growth. I now appreciate the beauty in being different and embrace my smile. I’m proud of the person I’ve become, cleft and all. I don’t let it hold me back from attending social events or enjoying life to the fullest.”

Nishchala ate lunch alone every day. In the hallways, and even on the street, random people would stop her to say hurtful things about her scars. She dared not respond and give them an opening to mock her voice, too.

The moment school let out, she rushed home to be with her family. They always accepted her just as she was. Their love was her strength to keep going.

Barely a teenager, life had taught Nishchala to avoid the public. “This isolation led to a sense of loneliness and further affected my self-esteem,” she remembers.

As Nishchala grew older, she learnt a different way to fight back. She decided to embrace her uniqueness and seek out friends who would help her live with confidence.

Today, Nishchala is an outspoken advocate for the cleft community and the dignity of every face.


Her advice for others with unique smiles: “Embrace your uniqueness and wear your cleft like a boss.”