Matilda Lansdown was born in Edinburgh with a cleft lip and palate. She had her first cleft lip surgery at just eight weeks old, followed by her cleft palate surgery at nine months old. Growing up, she endured several major surgeries and therapies for her speech, jaw, and hearing — until her final surgery at the age of 21.
Matilda went on to become a successful make-up artist, managing Urban Decay stores across London. Alongside her career, Matilda is a passionate advocate for the cleft community and runs a social media account called @BarbieInTheCityMua, through which she shares her insights and make-up skills to inspire smiles and confidence in others who have been born with a cleft.
In 2018, Matilda wanted to raise funds for Smile Train, so that children around the world could receive comprehensive cleft treatment, as she had. Matilda and her father went on a three-day, 34-mile trek through Verona, Vento, and Lake Garda in Italy and she managed to raise more than £1,300.
In February, Matilda had the opportunity to visit Smile Train partners Zanbaba Hospital and Yekatit Medical College Hospital in Ethiopia and witness the impact of her fundraising efforts first-hand.
During her visit, Matilda had the opportunity to meet Smile Train medical partners, including one of Ethiopia’s leading cleft surgeons, Dr Ataklitie Baraki, who performs up to twelve cleft surgeries per day.
She met children who had benefitted from Smile Train supported cleft treatments and others waiting for their own forever smile.
Before leaving Ethiopia, Matilda held a make-up workshop to treat Smile Train beneficiaries to a complimentary makeover and advice on makeup tips and tricks. Matilda shared, “Since being introduced to Smile Train, I have felt inspired to make a change in any way that I can. I want to help improve the lives of every child born with a cleft — opening the door to opportunities that the confidence of a smile can bring.”
Find out more about Matilda or donate to her efforts on her fundraising page.