Carmit Bachar was one of the original members of girl group the Pussycat Dolls. She was born with a cleft lip and palate and grew up in Los Angeles where she had operations every year until she was 16. She has an 18-month-old daughter, Keala Rose, and on a recent trip to the UK she gave several interviews for Awareness Week about growing up with her cleft.
She was also kind enough to film herself answering questions from children and young people about her cleft and fame:
“When the Dolls toured […] Bachar would step forward at the end to address the audience.
“I’d say: ‘You may not know, but I was born with a cleft palate and I have come from a place where I really felt unpretty. But I want you to know that everybody has something that makes you different, that’s what makes you special and unique.’ The crowd would go absolutely wild. It gives me shivers just thinking about it. Those were my stand-out moments.””
“I’d grown up in a supportive environment surrounded by adults so I didn’t realise there was anything ‘different’ about my appearance until I started school. The kids teased and ridiculed me because of my lip. My mum says I’d often come home crying.
I had a creative outlet in dance and as I got older I joined theatre groups, took music lessons and competed in rhythmic gymnastics. Expressing myself through the arts gave me a lot of self-confidence. It was very important, otherwise my life may have seemed based around trips to the hospital.”