Cosmo's Stunning March Cover Star: The Fun, Fearless Dana Al Tuwarish

Confessions of a mega influencer (you'll never guess how much she makes)!
Cosmo's Stunning March Cover Star: The Fun, Fearless Dana Al Tuwarish
Oliver Marshall Doran

A few months ago, the mega influencer and businesswoman went on Snapchat and revealed exactly how much she made – we’re talking roughly a million dirhams a month. It went viral. The region perked up and suddenly @daneeda_t became the voice that no one could ignore, Cosmo included!

The first time I met Dana I had tears rolling down my face. She’s that funny.

Brutal honesty with a killer sense of humour makes for a deadly combination that had me floored, literally. Take this: The first time we met, she told me (in detail) every plastic surgery procedure she’s gotten (“the tummy tuck was great. Not even that painful”), has told the world what she makes every day and regularly walks out of the house without make-up. Yeah, she’s pretty fearless really, living and slaying life on her own terms.

But then again, she just married the love of her life a few months back, has become one of the most hotly followed people in the region and owns a chain of wildly famous salons… things don’t really seem very difficult for Dana. Here’s the thing, though – all that influencer froth hides a not-so-perfect childhood.

“It wasn’t easy for my mum. She had four children with her first husband who passed away. My dad was her second shot at a happily ever after which never worked out. They divorced soon after she had me and she raised all her five children singlehandedly without any support. I don’t know how she did it. She’s a superwoman, totally self-made.”

Dana Al Tuwarish - Cosmo March Cover Star

GET THE LOOK WITH DOLCE&GABBANA BEAUTY
Make-up: Millennial skin concealer, caramel, Dhs165, Liquid matte foundation, natural beige 120, Dhs280, Veal pressed powder, caramel no.4, Dhs300, Bronzer in sunshine 30, Dhs275, Lips: Lipstick in caramel dolcissimo, Dhs190, Eyes: Intenseyes eyeshadow stick in 1 black & dahlia no.9, Dhs150, Mascara secret eye black, Dhs175, Brow liner in mocha n0.3, Dhs195

Fashion: Sleeveless dress, Dhs1,750, IAM MAI @Ounass.ae; Rose gold earrings, Dhs960AUrate

Being born to an Iraqi father and Kuwaiti mum didn’t make things any better.

“We were treated Kuwaiti and looked upon as Kuwaiti, but it wasn’t the same, especially when it came to the paycheque we took home.” But seven years ago, a lot of that changed. “I just put a blurry picture up of myself without my face showing on Instagram, and for some reason people loved it. I had 200,000 followers in six months.”

She laughs at my expression (poker faced, I’m not) and explains, “There were no girls in Kuwait really doing what I was those days. That’s why it took off. And then brands came calling…” Her first endorsement was for a traditional Arab sweet. Now, she counts the world’s biggest names amongst her collaborators and has opened her own chain of salons in Kuwait.

Dana Al Tuwarish - Cosmo March Cover Star

GET THE LOOK WITH DOLCE&GABBANA BEAUTY
Make-up: Face: Primer, sheer radiance, Dhs270; Millennial skin concealer, caramel, Dhs165; Liquid matte foundation, natural beige 120, Dhs280; 
Veal pressed powder, caramel no.4, Dhs300; Bronzer in sunshine 30, Dhs275; Lips: Lipstick Miss Sicily Antonia, Dhs165; Lip liner in 01, Dhs120; 
Eyes: Intenseyes eyeshadow stick, 10 navy, Dhs150; Mascara secret eye black, Dhs175; Brow liner in mocha n0.3, Dhs195.

Fashion: Robe with belt, Dhs2,100, SH studios; Basma 18k gold ring (left hand), Dhs330; Ibti 18k gold ring (right hand), Dhs550, both Hak the label; Choker, Dhs2,250AUrate

She’s killing it professionally and getting it right on the personal front, too.

“I met my husband at the airport and he tried talking to me, which I totally blanked. He went on to Snap me later which I also ignored” she says flashing a picture of a ridiculously handsome man at me. I grab her phone and agree – he’s hot. “Then, I saw him again somewhere and totally started crushing on him and stalked him online. We finally met, dated and broke up. One year later, we ran into each other in London, he wooed me back and here we are!”

What made her take him back? “He’s special. SO easy to be with and not at all chauvinistic. I live my life, work and my mother stays with us… he absolutely loves her and never stops me from doing anything.” Sounds pretty ideal. “Yeah, I lucked out. But then so did he,” she laughs.

Dana Al Tuwarish - Cosmo March Cover Star

GET THE LOOK WITH DOLCE&GABBANA BEAUTY
Make-up: Face: Primer, sheer radiance, Dhs270; Millennial skin concealer, caramel, Dhs165; Liquid matte foundation, natural beige 120, Dhs280; 
Veal pressed powder, caramel no.4, Dhs300; Bronzer in sunshine 30, Dhs275; Lips: Lipstick in caramel dolcissimo, Dhs190; Eyes: Intenseyes eyeshadow stick in bronze no.4 & navy no.10, Dhs150 each; Mascara secret eye black, Dhs175; Brow liner in mocha n0.3, Dhs195

Fashion: Shirt, Dhs1,200, Ayesha Depala

Is life really all that Insta-perfect?

“Other than having no privacy, I love what I do but it’s gotten super competitive and comes with stuff you wouldn’t believe. There’s a lot of jealousy and cyber bullying can be awful!” Before I ask for it, she launches into a recent example. “I had come for an event with a make-up brand. Another influencer called the PR and told her I knew nothing about make-up and that I was disgusting. I picked up the phone and told her, ‘Habibti, if you don’t shut your mouth I will start talking about you on my Snapchat.’ That zipped her mouth,” she laughed.

Has the big, bad world of influence changed her? “I haven’t changed as a person but I have stopped trusting people the way I used to. I’ve lost a few friends since becoming famous… old friends who have tried to create a controversy around me by spreading lies… and no matter how generous I am, flying them places, buying them things, there’s been a lot of jealousy…” Sounds rough. “Yes but I don’t find it difficult to make friends. If I like someone, I like them,” she laughs, brushing off the BS and getting on with it.

Dana Al Tuwarish - Cosmo March Cover Star

GET THE LOOK WITH DOLCE&GABBANA BEAUTY
Makeup: Face: Primer, sheer radiance, Dhs270; Millennial skin concealer, caramel, Dhs165; Liquid matte foundation, natural beige 120, Dhs280; 
Veal pressed powder, caramel no.4, Dhs300; Bronzer in sunshine 30, Dhs275; Lips: Lipstick in caramel dolcissimo, Dhs190; Eyes: Intenseyes eyeshadow stick in Dahlia no.9, Dhs150; Mascara secret eye black, Dhs175; Brow liner in mocha n0.3, Dhs195.

Fashion: Dress with detachable wrap: Dhs1,850; SH studios, 18k gold double earrings, Dhs1,000, Hak the label

There’s plenty to like about Dana, but the thing that literally took the cake is her total and absolute love for food.

Pizza, croissant, sandwich or crisps, she snacked fearlessly and wordlessly, like it was completely natural to just eat what you want without constantly complaining about it. Does she ever diet? “When I gain weight, yes. But otherwise I like food and honestly this is me. This is how I look. Nothing’s going to really change that. I like to keep it real.”

Breaking it down -- I like it: When you gain weight, you cut down; when you’re fine, you eat. “Beauty is about confidence, it’s not about the way you look. It’s how you see yourself. I’m totally open about the way I look, how much work I’ve gotten done. I’ve got nothing to hide.” I bite into my sandwich and order the cake I’ve been eyeing but too afraid to eat. Thanks, Dana.

Dana Al Tuwarish - Cosmo March Cover Star

GET THE LOOK WITH DOLCE&GABBANA BEAUTY
Make-up: Face:Primer, sheer radiance, Dhs270; Millennial skin concealer, caramel, Dhs165; Liquid matte foundation, natural beige 120, Dhs280; 
Veal pressed powder, caramel no.4, Dhs300; Bronzer in sunshine 30, Dhs275; Lips: Lipstick Miss Sicily Antonia, Dhs165; 
Eyes: Intenseyes eyeshadow stick in taupe no.5 & cocoa no.3, Dhs150 each; Mascara secret eye black, Dhs175; Brow liner in mocha n0.3, Dhs195

Fashion: Silk cape Dhs2,585; Sotra Cuff, Dhs1,200AUrate

The last shot of the day rolls around and I ask if she wants to look at the pictures.

“What for? This is me. No camera’s going to change that.” I laugh, waiting for her to grab the camera but get this, she didn’t. Instead, she wiped the make-up off her face, hugged everyone and raced to her car. “Mum’s making me dinner and I can’t wait to just get back home for a cuddle,” she giggles, looking her age for the first time – all of 28 and simply fabulous.

In Her Words

Me in 3 words:
Strong, funny, ambitious.

What I would never change about myself:
How generous I am.

What I would never change about me:
My laugh.

Love is:
Trust and respect.

Family is:
Everything.

The first thing I do in the morning:
Look at my phone and drink Nescafe.

The last thing I do at night:
Look at my phone (laughs).

Celeb crushes:
Khloe Kardashian and Jason Momoa.

Fave food:
Lebanese.

Fave movie:
A walk to remember.

Book you read last?
Something by Ihsan Abdel Quddous. I love Egypitan writers.

Fave city in the world:
Anywhere in Italy.

Cake or crisps:
Crisps!

Words that I live by:
Perfection is not everything.

Beauty is:
Your soul.

Here's a Behind The Scenes peak at our March issue with the stunning Dana Al Tuwarish:

By: Kavita Srinivasan – @KAVITASRINIVASAN
Photographer: Oliver Marshall Doran – @OLIVERDORAN
Fashion Editor: Chloe Louise Bosher – @SOURCESTYLESHOOT
All Beauty: DOLCE&GABBANA Beauty – @DGBEAUTY
Hair: Denny Clements – @DENNYMAKEUPDXB
Location: Five Palm Jumeirah – @FIVEPALMJUMEIRAH

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