This Iraqi-American MUA & Blogger Turned Beauty Entrepreneur Shares Her Journey To Success

Huda Kattan is the driving force behind one of the go-to beauty accounts on Instagram. The makeup artist and blogger turned entrepreneur is a top beauty influencer who currently resides in Dubai. We are introduced to her world through an interview with Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, where speaks candidly about her life, discussing everything from her professional journey and growing her brand to religion and growing her family. She graces the cover of the magazine’s October issue, where we learn some interesting facts about her.

huda-kattan2

She bounces back from cyber-bullying with grace

Huda Kattan has been a victim of cyber-bullying, but rather than let it stop her, it helped forge her path in the beauty industry. “It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me, because afterwards, I just didn’t care what people said. I remember at the time, walking into a room when people were talking crap about me. I was just like, ‘You know what? Talk about me. Is it going to affect my business? Is it going to affect who I am? Is it going to affect what I’m doing? No. I might cry myself to sleep behind closed doors, but nobody is going to know. You are not going to make me stop blogging, you are not going to make me stop working hard. Nothing is going to stop me from doing that.”

She is an American of Iraqi decsent

Kattan was born in the United States to Iraqi parents, but relocated to Dubai in 2008. “The first time I heard of the United Arab Emirates I was in sixth grade. I remember it sticking out because it had the word Arab and I was, like, the only Arab in Tennessee.”

She left a career in banking to pursue her passion

Kattan credits the life of Michael Jackson and his passion to change the world, as she made the decision to follow what she was passionate about and transition from a career in banking to beauty. When she finally moved to the UAE, she worked as a make-up artist by day and a blogger by night, with the determination she needed to become a success.

Her big break came in 2012 with support from her sisters

With the help of her sisters — Mona and Alya Kattan — the Huda Beauty brand was first to create and distribute a range of false eyelashes at Sephora in The Dubai Mall. More than 3,000 pairs of Huda Beauty lashes are sold across Sephora’s stores in countries across the Middle East on a weekly basis. In 2015, her brand of lashes were introduced to the United States. “Although I have my sisters helping me, ultimately getting things done on a very grand scale and sometimes a very small scale was me. I feel like I have to depend on myself.”

She credits her husband for making her company profitable

Kattan’s husband, Portuguese-American Chris Gonçalo, left a career in real estate to work alongside his wife. While this addition to her company made a significant difference to the company’s financial bottom line and operations, she notes the challenges that have come with it. “It was hard because here’s my husband who was the breadwinner and is now reporting directly to me. In the beginning it was so sensitive.”

Her company is self financed

As the company’s CEO, she owns 51 per cent of the shares with the remainder divided among her husband and sisters.  All profits are reinvested to strengthen core functional areas including product development, logistics and content creation. She also rarely share sponsored posts on Instagram, posting just two sponsored stories in 2015. “You don’t make as much money, but long term you can make substantially more money because ultimately people will trust you.”

She loves being a mom and has learned to find a manageable work-life balance

She is the mother to five year old Nour, and while she looks forward to growing her family, it has not always been easy, particularly as a first time mother. “I was kind of devastated at the time. I’m in my 20s! I don’t want to think about children until my 30s. My mom had me at 36. My sister had her first child at 40. None of my friends were even married.” She opens up about her miscarriage, and applauds mothers around the world for the work they do in raising their families. “I have a very special place in my heart for moms. Being a working mom, being a stay-at-home mom… all those things are hard. You sacrifice your career for your kids, or you sacrifice your home time with your kids to build a life for them. I applaud all mothers.”

Image: Williams + Hirakawa / Harper’s Bazaar Arabia

The Voix is a creative platform that empowers the voices of global storytellers. For more information, visit: Thevoix.com.