'Different is brilliant'

Iraqi-American Huda Kattan. (File/AFP)
Updated 02 December 2018
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'Different is brilliant'

  • The annual invitation-only event, held in partnership with QIC Global Real Estate at Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire, brings together the trailblazers with the movers and shakers of the fashion industry
  • Kattan started with a line of five styles of false eyelashes, gradually expanding to a range of cosmetics, fragrances and soon skincare

JEDDAH: Iraqi-American Huda Kattan, founder and chief executive of Huda Beauty, spoke about how she started her billion-dollar beauty empire at Voices, an annual gathering for big thinkers organized by the Business of Fashion (BoF) in England on Friday.

The annual invitation-only event, held in partnership with QIC Global Real Estate at Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire, brings together the trailblazers with the movers and shakers of the fashion industry along with entrepreneurs and inspiring people who are shaping the wider world.

While Kattan now has one of the fastest-growing beauty brands in the world, it wasn’t always easy. 

She was born and raised in Oklahoma City, where she said she stood out. 

“To be honest, I felt different. I was darker, hairier, my hair was unruly, my parents would speak loudly in Arabic across the hall. I was one of the only brown kids. My family were Muslim immigrants with very little money. We knew we didn’t fit in. It showed.” 

Kattan said she had an “identity crisis” after being fired from her first job out of college.

“I had no choice but to accept who I was. I wanted to be fully me, totally and utterly weird…. Being different challenges norms, but different is brilliant,” the influencer said.

“The crazy part about accepting yourself is that the conviction of not caring what people think allows them to accept you in return. The only people who enjoy happiness and success embrace their weirdness.”

Kattan, a Hollywood-trained makeup artist who has worked with celebrities such as Eva Longoria and Nicole Richie, launched her blog, hudabeauty.com, in 2010, eventually branching out to YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Kattan started with a line of five styles of false eyelashes, gradually expanding to a range of cosmetics, fragrances and soon skincare. Today, Huda Beauty is on track to do $400-million in retail sales this year. Kattan is the 60th most-followed person on Instagram with 30 million fans. Her company, started along with her sister, has become one of the fastest-growing beauty companies in the world, with distribution at global retailers from Sephora to Harrods and Selfridges.

“We became limitless and we weren’t chained to the beliefs of society. The impact was so profound our brand didn’t blossom — it boomed,” Kattan said. “We’re competing against conglomerates with billions of dollars, people telling us we didn’t have a chance. How did we not only compete but dominate with so little resources? We embraced our weirdness.”

Kattan joined a host of other inspiring speakers at the three-day event from Nov. 28-30, including celebrities and big names in the world of fashion and entrepreneurship such as designer Stella McCartney; Peter Smith, co-founder and CEO, Blockchain; Francesca Bellettini, president and CEO of Saint Laurent; South Sudanese model Adut Akech; and Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor, among others.


Ciara marches to the beat in Zuhair Murad gown

Updated 09 December 2018
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Ciara marches to the beat in Zuhair Murad gown

DUBAI: R&B superstar Ciara took to Instagram to show off a dazzling, Imperial Russian Army-inspired gown by Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad on Saturday night, which she wore to a party at the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai.
The “Level Up” singer was in town to perform at the inaugural Ball of Arabia, hosted by Vogue Arabia magazine, and took to the stage wearing an edgy black outfit, with her hair in a sleek ponytail.
The star posted a video on Instagram where she shows off her moves with two of her back-up dancers in the background before bursting into laughter offscreen. The “Like A Boy” singer also posted a snap in which she glowed in a silvery blue ensemble by Murad, complete with an Imperial Russian Army-inspired jacket with a bow at the neckline and sequin and beadwork worthy of a Romanov princess.

“Wearing Arabic designer @zuhairmuradofficial to the inaugural Ball of Arabia,” she captioned the series of three shots.
The dazzling outfit hails from Zuhair Murad’s Couture Fall-Winter 2018/19 line.
The 33-year-old star also posted a video in which she dances on a bed in the 7-star hotel that recently underwent refurbishing to restore it to its gold-and-blue glory.
After her stay in the UAE, Ciara is expected to head back to the US where she will host a star-studded New Year’s Eve party in Hollywood during which The Chainsmokers, Dua Lipa and Charlie Puth will perform, among a host of other famous names.
Despite her busy schedule, the singer recently told Wonderland magazine’s winter 2018/2019 issue that she would like to have more children.
Ciara — who has Future, four, with her ex-partner, and Sienna, 19 months, with her husband Russell Wilson — would love to add to her family one day but also has a lot of “business goals” she’d like to achieve, The Associated Press reported on Saturday.
She said: “It’d be really cool to do tours with stadiums. And there’s a lot of business goals that I want to accomplish ... hopefully there will be more kids, for sure. Well, you know, I got time! I’m a woman of ambition on a mission, so when the timing is right, of course!”
And the hitmaker feels like she is a “better woman” because of her husband Russell and said that is what marriage should be about.
“Oh, absolutely. I do feel that I’m a better woman because of him. Obviously, I have my own vision for myself, but my husband definitely makes me better and that’s what marriage is about. You both make each other better,” she told the magazine.