I silently screamed when I heard that Mona Kattan had found love. Then I stopped for a second, slightly worried… did he deserve her awesomeness? Mona, if you’ve met her even fleetingly, is one of the world’s sweetest people. And no, I’m not exaggerating one bit. She’s ridiculously, unbelievably kind; take-the-clothes-off-her-back kinda kind. But Mona’s seen her share of life and met enough people to know a good egg when she meets one. And if she’s said ‘I do’, then he must be some kind of incredible.
After spending the past few years focusing completely on Huda Beauty and being an integral part of its over billion-dollar success story, Mona decided that her personal life needed as much attention at her professional one had gotten. So like a true boss, she made hard changes, ensuring that self-care took priority and treating herself rightly like the love of her life. She was already whole when she met Dominic Nowell Barnes (on Tinder – there’s hope!). And that, girls, is why this happily-ever-after is the kind that Cosmo is totally behind.
Kavita: Mona, you look fabulous! I hope Dom deserves you and knows what an amazing person he has. Now tell me everything, how did you meet?
Mona: You’re so kind! And yes, he’s just amazing. Believe it or not, I met him on Tinder.
K: Is he okay with you saying that now?
M: I don’t care. I’m not a person that hides the truth and feel like it’s important for me to be honest. There are so many people struggling to find love and I want to show that you can meet people on Tinder. If I’m not honest about it, it’s not fair to all these other people who I could maybe inspire to meet somebody. There’s nothing wrong with it.
K: So you swiped right and he swiped right? So who swiped right first?
M: Do you want the long version of the story?
K: I always want the long version, Mona!
M: Okay (laughs). Basically, after I watched Huda Boss I had so many realisations. The whole show was about me being single, not wanting a relationship, my parents trying to help me and me fighting them. Watching myself justifying why I was single made me realise I was lying to me. Instead of saying that I don’t want to be with anybody because that’s a lie, I decided to manifest love the way I had everything else in my life -- from work and family to the right opportunities. I still remember the date; it was July 5th. The very day I decided to manifest love, Dom and I connected. It was so funny because I had downloaded Tinder five years ago and had only been on one other date, which was the absolute worst in the world. I deleted the app but then decided to give it a try again because I work so much and I’m usually exhausted and when I do go out, it’s usually with my family so I hardly had an opportunity to meet anyone. I realised that the only way I’m going to meet somebody really is if I’m online and that’s the future; we do everything online.
What attracted me to Dom was how into spirituality, self-help and helping people, he was. His profile was very similar to mine; we were both talking about deep meaningful things rather than the super shallow talk that’s typical of online dating. The previous time I was on Tinder I realised I did it all wrong. I had these super glam photos that looked super materialistic. It’s no wonder I attracted these super shallow guys. This time around I put pictures of me with barely no makeup and my hair messed up. I wanted to be very raw because I didn’t want to attract guys who were looking for the over glamorised version of me.
K: Then what happened? Did Dom know who you were had he heard of Huda Beauty?
M: No he didn’t, he has nothing to do with the beauty world at all. He’s only been in Dubai for two years so he really didn’t know of us. I first added him to my private profile on because I didn’t want him to know.
K: What was your first date like?
M: I was an hour late, wanted to cancel and had anxiety. We were also still filming the live session for Huda Boss and were with the team.
K: So he was waiting for one hour?
M: Yeah, but he was a gentleman about it. He was charming and classy and was very different from the guys I dated. Every guy I’ve ever dated was Middle Eastern so it was a very different experience. I think he was nervous but he played it cool. We stayed until the restaurant closed… for four hours! They were going to kick us out… we were the last people there. We became close so fast and have spent almost every single day together since we met.
It was crazy.
K: That’s amazing. Every single day?
M: Almost every day. I’m very, very busy with the family but we try to see each other for dinner every single day and we do really chill activities during the weekend… we read so many books together, we’re such dorks. And watch documentaries together… just really nerdy things.
K: What does he like, what is his star sign?
M: He’s born on Valentine’s Day he’s an Aquarius.
K: What is his personality like versus yours?
M: I think we have very similar personalities. The only difference is that he’s more introverted than me. He loves his alone time and is an avid runner. He really cares about good health and taking care of himself.
K: What is his family like have you met them?
M: They’re incredible and very simple, like my family. I actually really like that he understands how important it is to work hard and to do things yourself. Nothing was handed to him and nothing was handed to me and my family. It makes me proud.
K: That’s amazing. When did you first introduce him to your family, to Huda and Alya?
M: He was the first guy I ever introduced to my parents. It was in Boston because my parents are away for half the year, so he came with my family to the US and he met my parents there. They got along really well even though they did ask him awkward questions like ‘Why didn’t you marry your ex-girlfriend’ and ‘How many ex-girlfriends do you have?’ and ‘Why do you have so many tattoos?’ and ‘What do you think about Islam, Arabs, our culture?’ (laughs).
K: How does he feel about being part of a big Arab family?
M: Well, he converted recently but he’s very spiritual. The thing that I loved about him and I still love about him is that he’s very open-minded and if thinks make sense, believe it, if it doesn’t make sense don’t believe it and h’s only looking for answers, he never felt he identifies as anything he was just like spiritual and in some ways I feel the same way about myself, I do believe in Islam and I am Muslim but also believe in a lot of things in other religions so I don’t feel like I fit within a box and I’m very open to learn about every religions and every cultures because I think most religions is politics it’s not important, what’s important is the values that are behind everything. When I first met him I was like values and goals are the same so that’s all that matters.
K: He converted after he met you or before he met you?
K: That’s good, so he was open to it?
M: Yeah. The thing is he was always learning about different religions even before that and was always just trying to find something that he had within and he genuinely loves Islam.
K: And what did Huda and Aliya first think of him when they met him?
M: Huda was super supportive when she first met him she was just really excited that I was finally talking to someone who she felt was really kind and would fit in well with the family. She is over-protective so she definitely isn’t the kind of person I would take Dom to and be like, ‘Hey just meet my sister’. She’s very protective, but she’s also very supportive.
K: After how long did you introduce him to everybody?
M: I would say after a month, which is fast I know. But in the past I have always been with Arab men and it was extremely difficult for me to introduce them to anyone and be open. This time with Dom, it was very different. It’s the first time I had the opportunity to just say okay I can go out publicly and not worry about anything so I was kind of excited. Also, I wanted to make sure they liked him before taking more time to get to know him.
K: And so then how did things speed up?
M: I think things just sped up because again we just spent so much time together. I do want to have a family soon and don’t want to waste time when things are right.
K: How is Noor (Huda’s daughter) going to feel when you have a kid?
M: I think she’ll be happy, she doesn’t want Huda and Chris to have more kids (laughs).
K: Does Huda want to have more kids?
M: You know, I don’t think so. I think her and Chris talked about it so much but they’ve gotten to a point where they’re just so busy and it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. When you can give one child all your time and give them the best, then that’s wonderful.
K: That’s amazing, once you have kids that’s like a blessing.
M: Yeah and if I’m completely honest since I was a child I wanted to be a mom. It was more than being an entrepreneur and being everything else I think being a mom is the most special thing that you could ever do. I think moms are the foundation of society and if I have the opportunity to be a mom, that’s going to be the one thing that I feel will be the most life changing.
K: Yeah it is, Mona it shakes you, changes your DNA.
M: I can imagine. I’m scared, I’m not going to lie but I think it would change me so much to the better.
K: Anyways then what happened after how long did you meet his family?
M: I met his dad when his dad and step-mom came to visit in October, and then I met his mother when we went to Leeds to visit in November.
K: He’s from Leeds?
M: Yeah he’s originally from Leeds.
K: How did the proposal happen, when did you guys talk marriage?
M: We talked about intentions from day one. We both knew what we were looking for. It was just important for me to lay all my cards out from day one, so we always talked about how we wanted to get to know each other before that and in December he asked my dad if he could propose.
K: So you’ve been dating for how long at this point, six months?
M: Not very long, like six months but he didn’t propose until February the day after Valentine’s Day.
K: So he asked your dad and you dad said yes, and then how did he propose?
M: He proposed the day after Valentine’s Day. We were actually in Oman because it was his birthday on Valentine’s Day. We went for a walk on the beach and he was being so nervous and weird. He insisted on going on a really long walk. On our way back, I spotted a beautiful book with pictures and a little blurbs. The last picture said ‘Open me’. When I opened it said, ‘The day I proposed in Oman, February 15, 2018’ and ‘Insert picture here’. He then got down on one knee and it was so cute.
K: That’s so cute! When is the wedding?
M: Honestly, we haven’t planned it yet, I don’t know. I’m thinking of doing it in October because the weather will be so beautiful in Dubai and it definitely will be outdoor.
K: You want it to be in Dubai?
M: I think so just because I want to be able to invite all my friends. I’ve been here for 17 years and have so many people I know from school and University… I feel like the only way they would be able to come is if it’s in Dubai. A lot of the people can’t travel without their family and stuff like that, so I think if I do destination, it’s going to limit a lot of people from coming. We’re thinking end of October in Dubai.
K: Now let’s talk about small stuff, does he cook?
M: He cooks for me he’s really good. He does very simple things not like chef, but they’re very good. I don’t cook, I’m so bad.
K: Oh my god you do everything else
M: I know thank you, that’s what’s I said I was like I don’t need to learn everything.
K: Have you guys travelled a lot together?
M: We have, we went to New York, Boston, LA, London and Oman.
K: That’s a lot in six months. What is one thing that you love about him the most and one thing that you don’t love as much?
M: Well I think what I love about him the most is that his purpose in life is to help people, that’s what he loves to do and he is very caring of people who suffer and I love that I think it’s so cute. He really does care so much and hates to see people hurt and he wants to make a change. I think that’s really beautiful. If there’s anything I would change it would be and he’s working on it, it’s being more patient. I think because he’s not ambitious and hardworking and wants to be able to do something overnight can affect his patience and I’m like good things take time and you got to be patient, and he’s learning that.
K: He must be so proud of you and everything you have achieved. How does he feel about that?
M: He is super supportive and he always tells me and the family is like so impressed with everything that works good together and he didn’t really know how successful this was when we first met and now that we’re closer we talk about our launchings and how we’re performing and he’s really blown away. He’s like I didn’t know that it was such a big thing and I was like yeah it is and we didn’t know either to be honest when we first got into it. But he’s just really supportive.
K: I’m so proud of you and I’m so happy for you and honestly, if I ever meet him I’m going to tell him that he really locked out. He really did.
M: You’re so sweet. So did I he’s such a good guy and for me anyways, because I’ve been single forever, it’s so hard to find a decent human being. All that I wanted was someone kind, honest, loyal and that is so hard to find so to find someone that is all of these things and more makes me so happy.
K: I’m very happy for you and I pray that everything goes well.
M: Thank you so much I really appreciate that.
K: When does the first episode come out?
M: I don’t have that yet we’re still working with dates to figure out the premiere date but this season is going to be incredible.
K: Is Dom going to be on it as well?
M: Yeah he is. Initially he didn’t want to be in it a lot but I was like you have to be in it otherwise you’re going to be that question mark it’s going to be so bizarre and people are going to think I made you up. He was like okay and just pushed the comfort and went on it. He hasn’t been on it too much but he did a great job, he surprised me, I thought he would be super awkward but he did a great job, he’s shy but he did a great job.
K: I can’t believe you have these cameras following you around. It’s so weird to think about, right?
M: It is and that’s why after doing it you have so much self-awareness about yourself and it changes your perspective on things and that’s why after season 1 I made changes and after season 2 I’m going to make so many more and it just makes you aware of so much. I remember when we first met the guy from Facebook Watch, he told us when we were signing off for the show this will either be the best therapy for you and your family that you ever or it will make you spoiled and it will make you think the world evolves around you. He was like reality TV usually does one of the two things. I’m just o grateful because it really did put things in check for me and my entire family, I think we all just became so much more aware of ourselves.
K: But isn’t it weird to see all your problems and issues and dynamics put out there for the world to see? I think you’re an open person but you’re quite private.
M: It’s so true. But once you decide you’re going to do it you have to stick with all the reasons why you initially decided to do it. The main reason why we did it was that all the reality TV we see out there, majority of it, are not so great. We wanted to be good role models for our video we want to show our story with the world and share our story so that people can learn whatever they can from us and also realize that we’re also humans too and there’s no such thing as a perfect life and we struggle and have problems just like everybody else. I feel like a lot of reality TV people are so misleading and we felt like that wasn’t fair. It’s not true and we just want to show as much of the truth as we possibly can.