Cobra Kai: Does Jacob Bertrand Have Cleft Lip? Does He Have a Tattoo?

Netflix’s ‘Cobra Kai’ presents a fresh spin on a story that started with 1984’s ‘The Karate Kid.’ Set more than three decades after the events of the original film, the show offers new rivalries and the drama surrounding it. One of the things that the show does well is presenting every character in a gray light, with the villains not being entirely evil and the heroes not being entirely good. Eli Moskowitz, aka Hawk, is one of the characters who go through the most tumultuous character arcs in the show. The unpredictability factor of his actions makes him a wild card, but that’s not the only thing he is known for. At the show’s beginning, he is bullied for his cleft lip but later goes through a transformation where the focus is on his mohawk and tattoos. Interestingly, the mohawk is real. What does this mean for his character’s lips and tattoos?

Hawk’s Cleft Lip and Tattoos are Not Real

Characters are the soul of ‘Cobra Kai,’ and the incredibly well-written characters have drawn the audience to the show. Eli, aka Hawk, is one of the more fascinating people in the show, and his arc from the teen getting bullied to the one doing the bullying is a case study in itself. The detail of the cleft lip was added to his character to mark the beginning of his story. The actor, however, doesn’t have that distinguishing feature. Jacob Bertrand does not share Hawk’s cleft lip, nor does he have any tattoos on his body.

For Hawk, the shift of attention from his lip to his mohawk and tattoos marks a significant push in his transformation. All these details in his character are important to show how far he has come since the show’s beginning, and the makeup department takes these details pretty seriously. Bertrand revealed that he usually spends about two hours on the makeup chair to get his mohawk, tattoos, and lip done before he can slip into the skin of Hawk. Eli has two tattoos, one on his chest and a huge hawk on his back. Both these are temporary tattoos, which the actor revealed come in three pieces. He also mentioned that the lip scar is a little tattoo applied every time he has to bring Hawk to life on the screen.

Bertrand acknowledged that not having been born with a cleft lip, he didn’t completely understand the physical and emotional struggle of people with cleft lips. It was only after he was cast in Hawk’s role that he started to research the subject and got in touch with organizations that work with people with cleft lips. This helped him have a better understanding of the subject. He also noted that there aren’t many characters with cleft lips on the screen, and he is fully aware of the responsibility of representation. He has had fans talk to him about how seeing Hawk’s journey on the show has inspired them to stand up to their bullies and have more confidence. Seeing Hawk’s impact on the viewers, Bertrand has taken a real step to work in that field.

Jacob Bertrand Works With a Non-Profit Called Smile Train

With the popularity of ‘Cobra Kai,’ Hawk’s character came into focus, and soon, Bertrand was put in touch with Smile Train, the largest cleft-lip charity in the world. The organization provides resources for cleft surgeries and the treatment and therapy needed, among other resources. When they approached Bertrand to be their ambassador, he gladly accepted the opportunity. The actor revealed that working with Smile Train got him to meet with kids who have cleft lips and suffer bullying because of it as Eli does on the show. He revealed that he had been bullied as a kid, but it was after meeting the kids at Smile Train that he got to understand their perspective in a deeper sense, which heavily informed his performance as Hawk.

Since then, he has been connected with the organization and has been part of its programs over the years. In 2022, he visited Centro SUMA in Mexico City to meet with Smile Train patients and medical partners. He has also participated in Smile Train’s annual Student Ambassador conference, apart from attending other “interactive virtual learning sessions with Smile Train staff and cleft-affected individuals to learn more about the health implications of cleft and the impact it has on patients,” and aims to continue working with them in the future.

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