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Page last updated at 13:37 GMT, Tuesday, 10 August 2010 14:37 UK
Teenager with dwarfism shares her life in a big world


'Small teen' in the Big Apple

In a recent BBC Three documentary, cameras followed Jasmine Burkitt of Colwyn Bay - a typical teenager in all but her height.

Like her mother, Bev, Jazz was born with a rare form of dwarfism, but in Small Teen, Big World, she was eager to let the world know that this doesn't mean she's much different from any other 16 year old.

We caught up with her a few weeks after the show was aired to find out if it had the desired effect.

"When the film went out, I got about 1000 friend requests on Facebook," said Jazz, who was also touched that someone set up a fan page in her honour.

"I'm getting messages from people saying well done, you're an inspiration and you've really helped me in this way or that.

"Mum's crying about something lovely someone's sent her every day!

I can see how those people on Big Brother forget they're being filmed
Jazz Burckitt

"It's been really wonderful."

Both Jazz and her mother Bev are shown putting up with constant comments about their small stature. So one of the main reasons Jazz agreed to let cameras into her everyday life was to prompt a change in the public's attitude to anyone who might look different.

"People are finally recognising that they shouldn't be horrible to people who are different because yes, we do have feelings and we do live normal family lives," she said.

"Since the show went out, I've not had one bad comment."

In the film, Jazz and her mum are shown preparing to leave the security of Colwyn Bay and Jazz's grandparents to live more independently near London. So how did that work out?

"We've moved back to Colwyn Bay last week," said Jazz, who had been looking forward to living near a big city.

"We did go into London to the museums, galleries and to see some shows and we really enjoyed it. It wasn't so much the place, but that we were so far from nan and granddad, our security blanket."

Bev was taken into hospital suffering from stress, and Jazz realised just how much they relied on their family and friends.

"If she went in again, I'd be alone, because my godmother, who lives in Hemel, works all day," she said. "I'd be in the house by myself a lot, and I'm quite vulnerable, say if someone comes to the door."

But Jazz did manage to squeeze in some voluntary work at a dog rescue centre, which stands her in good stead for her new course in animal care at Llysfasi, the Denbighshire agricultural college.

"I can't wait to go," she said. "I'll be living there, Sunday to Friday, which will be quite a big change.

"But the good thing is that our new house is only one street away from nana's house, so if mum ever needed them they're two minutes away. If they weren't that close I couldn't go, but I think it will be good for us both."

And there's a chance the cameras will return to take a look at how Jazz is getting on, due to popular demand.

Jazz spent a week in New York at the Little People convention
Jasmine's parents split up a few days after she was born

"People have been asking what happened next," said Jazz, knowing that most were interested in how her relationship with her absent father was progressing.

At her birth, Jazz's parents went their separate ways, but during the film she decides to take the big step of writing to him.

"We are now in touch, but I don't want to reveal much about that in case we do get a sequel," said Jazz.

And at least this time she will be used to the cameras.

"It did take a long time to get used to them. At first you're sort of acting yourself. You're very conscious of what you're doing, saying, how you're dressed.

"But after a while, you do forget - I can see how those people on Big Brother forget because the cameras are sometimes still, they're not following you around and you can't really see them.

"We're also very good friends with the producer, now. If you didn't get on with the crew it would be a nightmare, but we had such a laugh."


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