Happy Wednesday, Maharanis! We'll be spending the day revealing the next three finalists for the 5th Annual Mehndi Maharani Contest with Ash Kumar, and you can join in on all the excitement by following our announcements and voting for your fave contestant! To vote, all you have to do is comment on their post (there's a link to comment below the title of each post). You can also favorite a post, but it won't count towards a vote, so keep that in mind. The only way to help your favorite artist win, is to leave them a comment. Now that all the important details are out of the way, meet Hiral Shah of Hiral Henna, today's first finalist! She's based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has been professionally honing her craft for over a decade. Here's what she has to say:

"It is impossible to pinpoint one thing that I love about mehndi. I have always been obsessed with it for as long as I can remember. I am sure it began with the enchanting fragrance it always had when my Mom used to apply for me while growing up in India. I also remembered being so keen to wake up the next morning to see how dark the color of my mehndi had magically become overnight. These days, I enjoy more the process of applying on my bridal clients and seeing their reactions to the customized creations I make for them. I also love watching people light up with joy when I add the glitter to their mehndi to match their outfits at events. Now, my favorite thing about mehndi is just being such a big part of people’s wedding celebrations and establishing that connection with the brides and their families." - Hiral Shah

Here's some of her most memorable work. You can see more in her gallery, too!

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To cast your vote for Hiral Henna, leave a comment by clicking the link at the top of this post. I'll be back with two more talented finalists later today, so check back soon!

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Mehndi Artist: Hiral Henna |