Mezhgan Hussainy – American Idol makeup artist Mezhgan Hussainy – who escaped war-torn Afghanistan via a 10-day hike over the Khyber Pass – is dating Simon Cowell. Mezhgan Hussainy escaped Afghanistan with her family in 1981 after the Soviet invasion and the rise of the Taliban forced her family to flee. The Hussainys were among Afghanistan’s elite – her mother Mary was a teacher while her father Sayed was an IT expert who employed more than 40 people and her family had a driver, a nanny, a cook and a housekeeper. They settled in Hollywood of all places where Mezhgan – whose first name means “eyelashes” in Persian- learned English quickly and made some extra money by showing neighbors in her apartment building how to apply makeup. After high school she got a job selling cosmetics at a department store, eventually studying cosmetology and becoming a professional makeup artist.
Mezghan passed on an opportunity to work on the first season of American Idol because she already had a good job in television, but changed her mind when offered another chance in season two of Idol. 36-year old Mezhgan Hussainy worked on American Idol as a makeup and hair stylist, gaining a bit of notoriety when a photo of gay contestant Clay Aiken jokingly groping her backstage hit the Internet.