On any given day, you can find Victoria Wenners set up near the main beach access in the rear of the . A bright, yellow umbrella yielding the words “henna” and “body art” will be your guide to Wenners’ stomping grounds. In the summer months, Wenners is at the Tradewinds seven days a week, weather permitting.
Henna is actually a flowering plant that is used to dye different surfaces. Skin is a common place for henna to be used. For most, it is seen as an alternative to tattoos since the dye is not permanent.
Wenners says that she “fell in love” with the art form after she was painted in India, during her tour of the world. It was the mid ‘90s and Wenners recalls two natives “doodling” on her hands and the process intrigued Wenners enough to start a business.
Although it would be another five years until Wenners would go professional with henna, she remembers being hooked after her first experience.
“It’s my ideal job,” said Wenners. “I love doing it because I meet people from all over.”
According to Wenners, henna’s history roots in celebration. Whether it’s a marriage or a birth, the art of henna has been used for centuries to trap negativity, where it eventually dissolves. The intricate designs of henna mimic that of a maze, which Wenners says forces the negativity to “get lost.”
“It wards off the evil eye,” said Wenners.
Unlike other businesses that offer the temporary dye, Wenners makes a fresh batch nightly. She says that most venues use expired product, which diminishes much sooner than it should.
Another difference between Wenners and other henna sporting shops is her method of production. She uses all natural means by sifting through ground henna leaves to ensure a smooth texture and then combining the powder with lemon juice and eucalyptus oil.
The popular street product is known as “black henna,” which is not real henna, according to Wenners. Real henna is bright orange post application and then it turns a dark brown by the second day. Some of the dyes can be dangerous. Wenners recalls a time when folks and kids were getting skin lesions because the henna was not pure.
Wenners says that the best way to find out if henna is safe is to ask the artist what is in it. She says to ask questions like “is it hypoallergenic” and “will it hurt our skin” to be sure.
Now that we’ve all had a crash course in henna, some people may wonder why Wenners has chosen this specific career path. With all of the different lines of work out there, what’s the draw? She says that making other people happy is the goal behind her work.
“I get to show them in the mirror and see this big smile on their face,” explained Wenners. “And the art makes the world a beautiful, more happy place.”
Wenners’ business is called Victory Henna and she is usually set up at renaissance festivals, folk fairs and in next door to . As long as the weather is on her side, Wenners is at the Tradewinds Island Grand Resort daily, starting at 4pm.