I'm called Voldermort because of my cleft palate – I don't care what the trolls think, I know I'm great | The Sun

A WOMAN who was born with a cleft palate has hit back at cruel trolls who labelled her "Voldermort" and called her "flat nose."

Heidi Salt, who is 20 and lives in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire, was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate and had many surgeries when she was younger.

Her bubbly and loud personality took away from her cleft lip at school, but that didn’t stop stray stares or whispers on the street.

Those experiences made her hesitant to join social media, but she finally took the plunge three years ago and now has a whopping 6 million likes on TikTok.

But she says the abuse began the minute she started and has continued every day since. 

Speaking exclusively to Fabulous, the hospitality worker explains: "I was around 7-8 years of age when I actually knew what my cleft lip was.



I’m a beauty whizz – the 1p stationary hack that’ll sort eyeliner blunders


I’m a beauty guru & here’s what your perfume choice says about you

"I always knew I looked different to other children and my family would always make sure I understood it from an early age.

"They made sure I also knew how to stand up for myself if I ever did get bullied and I’m forever grateful they did that for me."


"At school, I had the comments, such as ‘flat nose’ and ‘teeth missing’ but that was expected.

"I think with my bubbly and loud personality that took away from my cleft lip and meant that kids at school could see past it."

Most read in Fabulous


In love terms, you have much more say over a bond than you think


I tested 8 steamers against my iron – and clear winner doesn’t break the bank


I’m a gypsy – we have our own language & it’s offensive when outsiders use it


Stacey Solomon reveals clever £1 trick to refresh your grout in an instant

Heidi had her last surgery when she was around 10, when she had a bone removed from her left hip to put into her upper front gum, which she was missing.

She recalls: "I remember walking down to the operating theatre with my pink teddy my mum had just bought me

"She'd always treat me to new teddies for every surgery."

What is a cleft lip and cleft palate?

A 'cleft' is a gap or split in the upper lip or roof of the mouth and it is present from birth.

Cleft lips are where there split in the upper lip, while clef palates are splits or gaps in the roof of the mouth – though a baby can be born with both.

Both can range in severity: from a cleft lip that is just a small notch to a wide gap that reaches the nose; or a cleft palate that is just a small opening at the back of the mouth or a large split that runs all the way to the front of the mouth.

According to the NHS, the birth defect is caused because the babies face didn't join together correctly during development in the womb, and clefts can usually be identified during the mid-pregnancy scan when you're between 18 and 21 weeks pregnant.

Heidi, who says the healing process took around six weeks, said: "The days after the surgery, I still couldn’t eat solid foods, but my mum still wanted to make sure I ate the same foods as the rest of my siblings at the time.

"So she took the time to blend all my foods, with one I can remember was a steak pie.

"My family were amazing, however when I saw the swelling I did feel low, something a 10-year-old should never feel."

Heidi joined social media three years ago and says from that very moment she suffered with cruel online abuse.

"It still happens to this day," she said.

"I've been called ‘Voldemort’ and people comment on my flat nose, as well as general meanness about my appearance.

"I learnt that if I read my comments it would affect me, so I trained myself to not look at the comments, which massively helped me."

But while trolls call her awful names, the blonde beauty has a positive attitude to dealing with hate.

I have been called ‘Voldemort’ and people comment on my flat nose

"Two years ago I was only still a teenager, I didn’t know how to react properly to hate and sometimes I'd react in a horrible way or even try find a way to expose them in any way I possibly could," she admits.

"Fast forward, and now I just ignore people.

"I find that it's the best way to deal with people who like to troll. I also delete the comments, so I don’t have to see them.

"If I could meet up with someone who trolls and speak to them, I'd simply ask them why they do it. 

"I think often people troll because they’ve got their own things going on in their life and need to take it out on someone, which isn’t fair to people like me who are at the receiving end of the abuse.

"But it makes you think that they’re probably unhappy themselves."

Heidi adds that rebuilding her confidence wasn’t easy.

"It took years for me to actually love myself and love who I was," she explains.

"What helped me was looking in the mirror everyday and telling myself I was pretty and that I was beautiful no matter what I looked like.

"Once you start telling yourself you are something every day, then you become that. 

"Now, I always say to people I couldn’t imagine myself with a ‘normal’ lip and nose. It makes me who I am and I’m proud of that.

Her advice to others with unique smiles: “Don’t care about what other people think of you…some days are easier than others, but they don’t know your story or where you’ve come from.”

I always say to people I couldn’t imagine myself with a ‘normal’ lip and nose. It makes me who I am and I’m proud of that.

But Heidi, who regularly posts videos in the hope of helping people who are struggling to know they aren't alone, also receives thousands of positive comments online, too.

"I receive so many nice comments and messages daily and they make me so happy," she says.

"These lovely people will message me to say 'thank you for being myself' and that I help them with their confidence.

"That makes me extremely happy. 

"People say that I’m pretty and beautiful, and for someone who has lacked confidence in the past, this is really nice to hear."

Now, Heidi is working with the world’s largest cleft charity, Smile Train UK on their new campaign, Beauty In Every Smile.

"Smile Train UK’s new campaign is all about celebrating the beauty in unique smiles, which is important," she explains.

"Not everyone will look the same and that’s fine, it’s about who you are and no smile should ever define that.

"I got involved in this campaign to raise awareness of cleft.

Read More on The Sun


DIY chain with 153 stores to shut more shops – it sells 'the best' Xmas decor


Love Island legend hints she's returning to villa for a THIRD time for All Stars

"There’s still so much stigma around a cleft, but people with clefts are just people!

"We may have a facial difference but it’s about what’s inside which counts."

Source: Read Full Article