Huda Kattan – JULY 2015

By Kate Hazell

Successfully carving out her growing beauty empire, we catch up with world-renowned blogger come business entrepreneur, Huda Kattan, as she dishes on Dubai's best vegan restaurants and who we should be keeping our eye on in the region…

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With 6.7 million followers on Instagram, it's safe to say that people are more than interested in Huda Kattan. The celebrity make-up artist-turned-blogger has become one of the region's most recognisable faces with her personable approach to beauty. Millions click on the 31-year-old's blog, every month, to read her product reviews, make up tutorials or find out the latest beauty tips. But while the Iraqi-American often gets grilled on the beauty industry, we find out what she's up to and the city she calls home.



What are you working on right now?



At the moment I’m working on several different projects. My main goal this year however, is to really take Huda Beauty to a new level. I feel like this year we’ve been focusing on making sure that the core areas of our brand are the main focus and we are optimizing our potential as a brand.



What made you want to become a make-up artist?



The main reason why I decided to go to Hollywood and actually study make up artistry was because, as cheesy as it sounds, I felt that it was something that I loved so much it actually came from within me. I love the idea of transforming a woman or making her feel completely different and better about herself by teaching how to Contour or to apply lashes. Make up artistry is a really fascinating and exciting world!



What was the inspiration behind launching your own lash line?



It was kind of a joint decision… My sisters and I all decided that since lashes were a huge obsession and that there was a lack of the right lashes, we really needed to take advantage of this area of opportunity and create something that people would not only love but depend on and go back to over and over again. I would never say no to launching more products but because I'm so picky, it may take some time for that to actually happen.



Who inspires you as a businesswoman?



I am always inspired by opportunities themselves. As far as a person, there are so many hard-working women that I truly look up to. I’ve always admired women like Oprah and Beyoncé for all their hard work determination and achievements. When I first started I struggled a lot with my expectations and handling what I wanted and where I was. I looked up to these women and they kept me very ambitious and inspired me a lot.



What’s the proudest moment of your career so far?



We have goals every single month and to me that is an exciting moment for us. Every single month we break our own record. However, I am almost never pleased, and that drives my team crazy. I think the sky is the limit and I never want to place any limitations on our brand or to think that we cannot achieve things that people say are unachievable.



What do you think of the current beauty industry in Dubai?



The beauty industry in Dubai is maturing at an incredible rate. Five years ago when I started blogging there were no beauty blogs and the beauty industry as a whole was not that exciting. The last five years have been incredible for beauty in Dubai. It is a multibillion-dollar industry and brands are quickly starting to realise the potential in the very small Emirate and seeing the purchasing power, the depth of knowledge and the passion and obsession for beauty women have here. Brands are noticing how crucial it is to be in a beautiful place like Dubai.



How does the city inspire your work?



I love Dubai. To me it’s home. For me the women of the region are incredibly inspiring. They are working women. They are also beauty lovers and they love their social life, so for me they balance everything really well.



What’s your latest favourite city pick?



I am definitely a foodie. My favourite two places to go in Dubai are Omnia and Kitsch. They’re both just really cosy restaurants, the food is great and I love healthy organic eating. I recently turned vegan and it's been much easier with restaurants like these. I always love a good restaurant with yummy food, a great view, and Wi-Fi of course…



How do you feel you've influenced the beauty industry in the Middle East?



I have been told many times that I strongly influenced other bloggers here in many ways. I’m not entirely sure if that’s true, but I would like to think that. I take my blog very seriously. I have spent seven figures investing in my blog, and will continue to do so whether it's getting an office space, equipment, or marketing materials. The bills add up but it’s something I invested in with passion so I haven't really looked back. I also hope that women here see that you can create a life out of your passion. If you wake up every day feeling love for what you do and become obsessed with it to the core, beautiful things can happen.



Any other game-changers we should keep a look out for?



I would definitely say my sisters are up-and-coming. They used to like to hide behind the camera and not be revealed, but now they are working hard at making a name for themselves. Some of their upcoming projects will definitely showcase their talents more and also show more of who they are and what they do. We all work together and sometimes it’s extremely challenging. Sometimes we fight…A LOT! It’s really getting through the times where we can’t agree (there’s even some yelling) that are some of the most memorable moments for me. We can always laugh about them after.