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 :) }



  1. You have definitely worked hard to get to where you are now! Keep up the good work!

  2. Love your journey to henna artistry, all the best Atikah! your work is beautiful :)

  3. It's nice to hear how you started and made your way up. I'm currently a novice at henna. Working in the UK and your story has left me feeling inspired to keep going.

    1. Thank you so much for the feedback! I'm sure you will go far in your journey too! Everyone has one!