Winner of “The Big Henna Contest”!!!

Winner of “The Big Henna Contest”!!!

After six weeks of absolute craziness, intense planning, coordinating, photoshoots and collaborations, you can only imagine my absolute joy and relief when we finally Won the Final round of “The Big Henna Contest” on Monday 26th August!! The credit however, goes to every single person, follower, friend & supporter who opened Pinterest accounts and voted for us through every round!! Here are some absolutely staggering numbers for you, this is the amount of times only our Final round entry, “The Sudanese Tsaheylu” was Shared, Liked, Voted, Pinned and Re-pinned both on Facebook and Pinterest:

  • 894 Likes on Facebook, 
  • 985 Likes/ Votes on Pinterest
  • 201 Shares on Facebook,
  • 226 Repins on Pinterest

I was absolutely overwhelmed with these figures, especially the way support and votes poured in on Monday morning!! With three hours to go before voting deadline, our final entry was 80 votes behind, and in a state of complete panic, I sent out a text to all 300 people on my phone asking them to check out the contest and vote for us & share! I hoped that if even quarter of them actually did it – considering none of them have even heard of Pinterest – let alone have an account there – then it would be ok. What I didn’t expect was the incredible support I received that morning from every single friend and follower we have on our Facebook!! They shared the photo like no tomorrow – gaining us not just the 80 votes we needed – but an amazing 300 votes in those 3 hours!!! The votes and shares came from all over the world esp Pakistan, UAE, UK and Hong Kong!! I could not believe my eyes as I watched my votes go up and I am so so grateful for all the support we received that day!! It was the most amazing collective victory EVER!! A win that in the end reflected the absolute power of Social Media!!


I am so utterly thankful to Debi Varvi of Henna Crone & Blume Bauer; organizers of The Henna Intensive & Retreat, for organizing “The Big Henna Contest” and for turning my dream into a reality! 2 months ago, I hadn’t even planned on going to the Henna Conference because 1) I had no funds 2) No visa 3) No tickets 4) After last year’s failed visa attempt – it didn’t even seem like a possibility! However, then this “Big Henna Contest” came along and I thought  why not just take part in it regardless! It was only in the 4th round, that I thought, I’ve come this far, might as well try for my visa… and to my absolute utter surprise – my US visa was approved!!!! It has all been God gifted and everything just fell into place!! The next day – I got an incredible deal on US tickets – and I booked them instantly, and then all that was left was winning this competition… something that also turned into a reality last Monday!! I still can’t believe I will actually be attending this dream conference finally!!!

Sara Mush applying Henna

I have grown, been challenged, pushed, and tested so much as a Henna Artist in these last six weeks… perhaps more so than I have been even in the entire year! For those who haven’t been following, and not seen any of our work, here’s a little recap for you:

Round 1 Final   Round 2 Moroccan Henna Guitar   Round 3 Khaleeji Henna Round 4 Mauritanian Henna   Round 5 Polynesian Henna by SarasHenna  Round 6 Sudanese Henna hands final 2

I have done things in this contest that I have never dared to do before, and tried out styles – some that I had not even heard of before!! It was so much fun and challenging mostly because of my incredibly talented competitors, especially the Runner up and the amazing Jen Winkler Helsel of “J Henna”, an artist based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jen’s work kept me on top of my game in this entire contest, and it was the fear of not knowing what amazing stuff she would come up with, that kept me challenged, pushing myself in every round! Being in Hong Kong, and being one of the only Henna Artists in the entire city, makes things pretty stagnant, and puts you in your comfort zone, where because you’re not challenged, you don’t push yourself to try, experiment, and learn. Being a part of this competition, and competing against the best of the best from all over the world definitely gave me the little boost that I needed to really up my game! Throughout this entire competition, two artists have really amazed me and wow-ed me in every round: Jen from J Henna, and Sarah Walker from Dreamie Henna.

Here’s a little snapshot of Jen’s scope of work in this entire competition, and I’m sure you will all agree that is it absolutely Phenomenal!! (I can’t wait to meet her and get henna-ed by her at the Retreat!!!)

J Henna competition work

Now what inspired me the most about her work, was not only the fact that she’s an amazingly talented Henna Artist… but the fact that Henna is not her cultural traditional art!! For me, Henna runs in my roots, it’s a part of my culture and my tradition, and so its’ not something extraordinary that I have nurtured this art. But the fact that my biggest competitor was someone who has learnt this art form as a pure hobby from scratch – now let that be an inspiration for all those young Pakistani & Indian girls out there in Asia, who continue to take this incredible talent for granted, and fail to recognize its’ true potential!! All you girls – I beg you to learn to appreciate this skill you have, and to nurture it and treasure it and let it take you places!! Because all of the Western world – is in LOVE with our cultural art!! And just look at what they can do with it!!

Henna Intensive and Retreat Banner

Now I absolutely can NOT wait to attend this fabulous Henna Intesive & Retreat, where I will get a chance to finally learn and meet all the amazing Henna Gurus!! I will definitely be blogging about this conference, so keep an eye out for amazing updates!!

However, before I go, I must say the BIGGEST THANK YOU to every single one of my models, photographers, designers, and collaborators!! Without all their help, support, and time this dream of mine would have never been seen!! I am so thankful to each one of them for sponsoring their skills, time and effort for Sara’s Henna!!!


So here they are! Meet my incredible team:


Roshini Chotrani – Model of Round 1: Indian Traditional Henna

Jeffrey Andrews – The Guitar owner for Round 2: Moroccan Henna Guitar

Mona Saleem – Beautiful model of Round 3: Khaleeji Henna

Vanessa Lawson – Model of Round 4 & 6: Mauritanian Henna Necklace

Jessie Lam – Model of Round 5: Polynesian Henna

Courtenay Shivrattan – Model of Round 6: Sudanese Henna

Caroline Chan – Model of Round 6


Aanchal Wadhwani: Professional Photographer & Founder of Matryoshka

Inga Beckmann: Professional Photographer at Inga Beckmann Photography

Baijayanti Chadha: Freelance photographer

Makeup Artists

Salma Mush: Hair & Makeup Artist at Salma’s Beauty Club

Trishna Daswani: Hair & Makeup Artist at Kohl Kreatives


Vanessa Lawson: DIY Blogger, Jewelry Designer & Founder of All Things Indulgent

Studio Sponsors

Prerna Agarwal: Founder of Fill in the Blank; a creative workspace

Sukrit Khatri: Owner of a bachelor pad/ turned into studio for our shoot!

Nominated Brand Ambassador

Saif Karamally: Promoter for Sara’s Henna in Pakistan

Social Media Promoters

Kannan Ashar & Rahul Prakash: Founders of HK YantoYan; Lifestyle portal for all Indians in HK!

Afia Salam: Pakistani Journalist, environmentalist & Host of a web show: The Afia Salam Show

Mush Panjwani: Founder of Dinchack; Motivation Training company & Author of ‘Dhinchack Life’

And a Massive THANK YOU to YOU!! To the general public, Facebook page followers, friends & family who have persistently voted and shared my work in every round and have made it absolutely viral!! You guys are incredible!!!:D

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