The widely-known details on Huda Kattan go as follows: self-made beauty mogul; founder of an international beauty empire; a Libra (she shares the same birthday as Ghandi, October 2); and an Instagram following count (27.6 million) nearly 10 times that of the population of Dubai. But for all that you do know, there are some facts you probably didn’t know about the Iraqi entrepreneur. Below, we round up nine notes, some unexpected, on Huda Kattan to mark her 35th birthday.
#1: The Beauty Blogger is a Southern Belle
The Middle East’s foremost beauty blogger was born in Oklahoma in 1983, and when she was two-years-old her family moved to Tennessee, and eventually Boston. Her Iraqi mother and father emigrated to the United States to teach Biology and study Mechanical Engineering, respectively.
#2: Kattan is a Middle Child
Her siblings include two sisters, Mona (youngest) and Alya (oldest) and a brother named Khalid.
#3: Heidi Was Her Nickname Growing Up
Living in Tennessee, Kattan was known as ‘Heidi’ while her younger sister Mona was called ‘Monica.’ “I wanted to go by Huda, but people thought it was so weird. But when we moved to Massachusetts, people were like, ‘That’s such a cool name! They would even tell me, ‘You’re from Iraq; wow, that’s so cool!’” she revealed in a 2015 interview with Vogue Arabia’s Caterina Minthe.
#4: Huda Met Her Husband of Over 10 Years When She Was 16
Kattan met her now-husband, Chris Goncalo, at the University of Michigan-Dearborn where she studied finance. The couple moved to Dubai in 2006, and welcomed their first child, Nour Gisele, shortly after.
#5: The Beauty Maven Was Introduced to Makeup By Her Older Sister Alya
Although Kattan trained to be a makeup artist in Hollywood, her first experience with beauty products came through her sister Alya, who is ten years her senior, she revealed to Minthe. By the time she was 14, she was sculpting her sister’s eyebrows. She began blogging in 2010, and reached worldwide mainstream fame within the past couple of years thanks to her viral beauty hacks, tips and cult products.
#6: The Famous HudaBeauty Eyelashes Are a Result of a Gap in the Market
The almost-always-sold-out false lashes, which launched the HudaBeauty empire in 2013, were born when Kattan couldn’t find what she was looking for in the market— so naturally, she decided to make her own. Today, the beauty maven boasts an entire range of products including liquid lipsticks, highlighter palettes, false nails, and a collaboration with Tweezerman.
#7: Princess Jasmine Is The Blogger’s Beauty Inspiration
In a recent interview with W Magazine, Kattan cites the Disney princess as being one of her muses. “I used to look at Princess Jasmine [from Aladdin] for inspiration and relate to her. I loved her super-long hair and followed her makeup style, the Arab style—the big liner and lashes,” Kattan said in the interview. In an Instagram post uploaded in 2014, Kattan shares 20 facts about herself with number 10 being: “I used to sing A Whole New World to my family and make [Mona Kattan] sing Aladdin and I was Princess Jasmine.”
#8: Huda Worked at Revlon Before Running Her Own Beauty Empire
According to her Linkedin profile, Kattan landed a gig working as the exclusive makeup artist for Revlon before joining Instagram. During her time there, she worked with a number of luxury brands including Cartier and Mercedes.
#9: The Entrepreneur is Instagram’s Highest Paid Influencer
The Dubai-based beauty mogul topped Instagram’s inaugural Rich List as the highest-earning influencer on the entire social media platform. The Influencer Rich list, which was created alongside a celebrity Rich List using an Instagram scheduling tool called HopperHQ, reports that Kattan earns up to AED 66,000 for a sponsored post— although it’s worthy to note that she doesn’t do these often. In the same week, she was also christened one of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential people on the Internet, alongside J.K Rowling and Kim Kardashian West.