Sitting in a Los Angeles boardroom surrounded by cutting-edge engineering experts, you can find Neha Assar absentmindedly sketching henna designs in her notepad instead of running numbers.
“I feel like I have an eye for art. Anything that I see is artwork—it can be a pattern on a tile. It could be jewelry. I always think about how can I apply this in henna. My crafty, artsy side is more dominant and always pulling me that way,” says Assar.
Since she was 14 years old, Assar has had an interest in henna, and even though she pursued a career in engineering, Assar made sure to never lose sight of her true passion for henna.
Thanks to Instagram and word-of-mouth, Assar’s henna business exploded in 2014. From appearances at the Oscars and the Emmy’s preview events to meeting with stylists at trunk shows, she continued to promote her exquisite designs while building an A-list client base. Some celebrities just dying for Assar’s signature ink include Kylie Jenner and supermodel Jessica White. She was also recently was seen at Drake’s private mansion offering henna to party guests.
And, yes, she does weddings. The starting rate is $800 and varies depending on what the bride requests. A traditional Bollywood henna covering ran one bride around $1,500. The work does take patience—she’s spent up to nine hours drawing on just one client—but Assar prides herself on the ability to create completely customized, one-of-a-kind art.
“My clientele is so diverse,” says Assar. “Henna is done for celebratory purposes. Whether they are going on vacation or having a wedding or having a baby. Everyone’s energy is always up and up. Everyone is so positive. I feel really blessed because I get to share a part of that. I get to be a part of their happiness. Everyone has their story.”
Main image by J3Collection