Why I Became a Henna Artist

I'm often asked, why I chose to become a professional henna artist.

As I'm trying to concentrate on the next motif in a bridal, the questions and compliments start rolling in.  How did you learn?  Where do you get the ideas from?  You're so fast!  You make it look so easy!  I wish I could get henna done from you all the time! And the list goes on.  I figured answering these questions on a blog post would help feed your curiosity before I start hennaing you too ;)

Born and raised in multicultural Toronto, I was exposed to a lot of different backgrounds including my own Pakistani roots.  Henna was one of those things that was a must have on Eids and weddings in my family.  I grew up having my grandmother apply fistfuls of henna on my sisters and I. Occasionally, my mother would surprise us with a henna cone from her friends who would have recently returned from Pakistan.  It was this exposure that really ignited my interest in henna.

Henna cones were a luxury back in the day and there were no professional henna artists that I knew of.  My way of learning was by using my own creativity and from practicing, doodling and sketching. I already enjoyed drawing so learning to henna was like pouring milk in the tea.

I still remember the first bridal henna I did on my sister-in-law!  Till today she reminds me how I spent half a day doing her mehndi. (I'm so sorry Ammara!) Needless to say, it was a slow learning curve and although I had the passion, I certainly did not have the expertise. Learning to henna is like learning any other skill or trade, you really have to know your stuff inside out.  I eventually started experimenting with henna powders, agonising myself with rolling cones and honestly practising on anyone who would let me!  A few good friends of mine actually encouraged me to take this on as a side business.  They paid me for doing their bridal henna.  For the quality of workmanship, I sometimes wonder if it was even worth their money!

I didn't think that providing henna as a service would pick up until I did a little bit of research online only to find out that there was a world of henna out there!  There were so many professionals in the field of henna from all over the world. I got in touch with some amazing henna gurus in Toronto like Khadijah from Henna Sooq and Dimple Shah--I'm almost sure they remember me ;)  From them I quickly learnt that even though you could be someone blessed with the talent to draw a paisley or flower, you still have room to grow not only as a henna artist but as an entrepreneur too.  I pushed myself to learn as much as I could in order to master the art of henna in all its varieties and styles.  In 2007, I launched Mocha Henna, where I serve as the leading henna artist and owner.

The fresh smell of henna, the feeling of a sharp henna cone in my hand or a new bridal booking, it all gets me so excited. Becoming a henna artist for me was consequential not intentional. I really enjoy working with henna and sharing it with everyone in my path.  Who was it that said, enjoy what you do and you'll never work a day in your life!

{Okay, so this was my first blog EVER!  Let me know how I did in the comments below and feel free to suggest what sort or topics you'd like me to share with you :) }