decado ago, when influencers weren’t, well, as influential as they are now, Huda Kattan fielded the same question over and over: “Everyone would ask me, ‘What do you do? Do you just sit in your room and take photos of yourself and post them online?’ I was like, ‘Yeah.’”
Kattan (a former makeup artist, blogger, and model at the time) believed she could increase brand equity by sharing honest truths about Photoshop. The TIME100 Impact Awards Gala and Kattan’s Award of Excellence at the Museum of the Future, Dubai on Monday night proved her right. Kattan, the founder of Huda Beauty—one of the world’s fastest-growing beauty lines—was among seven global leaders recognized for going above and beyond to move their industries forward.
Kattan created her own brand of beauty products in 2013 and focused on self-love and inclusion. In 2021, incensed by unrealistic beauty standards, she launched a petition asking brands to be transparent about the extreme photo editing they use to make models’ skin appear unblemished. She said she felt “a sense of responsibility, as a beauty lover and a brand founder,” to let consumers know what’s real, and what’s not, in the ads they see every day. She vowed not to use retouching in any of her company’s ads.
While introducing Kattan at the TIME100 Impact Awards Monday, supermodel-turned-businesswoman Tyra Banks praised Kattan for “keeping it real.” “I find that to be very brave,” she said, joking that her Instagram feed is full of editing, smoothing, and shining.
Kattan emphasized that there’s still much progress to be made in the beauty industry, which continues to promote unrealistic standards. She encouraged people to speak up about how they see themselves. “We underestimate how much influence we have as individuals,” she said. “If I leave you with one thing tonight, I would like everyone to remember that all of us can influence change, all of us have the ability to have power and impact, and it’s something that comes with great responsibility.”
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