RHODubai's Chanel Ayan Reflects On Horrific Childhood Experience

When viewers stepped inside the glamorous lives of a group of ladies living in the United Arab Emirates on "The Real Housewives of Dubai," they were introduced to a cast that included a familiar face in "Ladies of London" star Caroline Stanbury and a number of reality show newbies, including Chanel Ayan, who can boast being "Dubai's first Black supermodel," according to Women's Wear Daily.

Ayan was born in Kenya and has Ethiopian and Somali roots, per Bravo. When she was 18, she began living in Brazil while attempting to break into the fashion world, according to Cosmopolitan Middle East. It's there that she met her American husband, Chris, who describes himself as an entrepreneur on Instagram. The couple eventually settled in Dubai, and a new Bravolebrity was born.

Per WWD, Ayan has scored modeling campaigns with some major fashion labels, including Gucci and Louis Vuitton. "My style is as big as my personality: outrageous," she said of what she brings to the table on "RHODubai." Ayan and her co-star Lesa Milan also told Entertainment Tonight that they hope to dispel misconceptions viewers might have about what life is like for Dubai's female residents. "I'm actually proud to be living there," said Ayan. But, before she moved to her current home, she endured a tremendous amount of pain and suffering in her homeland.

Chanel Ayan was a victim of genital mutilation

Per People, Dr. Sara Al Madani recommended that Chanel Ayan undergo hypnotherapy because she was allowing her past trauma to color the way she viewed her interactions with her "The Real Housewives of Dubai" cast mates. In the show's latest episode, Ayan opened up about her dark past during one of her treatment sessions. 

Ayan got emotional while recounting how she and her sister were victims of genital mutilation, revealing that she was 5 years old when two female family members took the siblings to a man's residence without warning them about what was about to happen. "They just tied us on the bed and we were circumcised," Ayan recalled. "When we needed to pee, they would carry us and put us on the grass. I just didn't understand what the hell was going on whatsoever." Ayan later spoke to E! News about the harrowing ordeal, saying that her genitals were sewn up to prevent her from losing her virginity. "I just feel like after opening [up about] it, I was taking my power away from the people that did this to me," she stated. "I just want to bring awareness to it as much as possible because it's still happening."

Per People, Ayan also previously opened up about the beatings she suffered at the hands of her father and his attempt to force her to get married when she was 14 years old.