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Patrick Ta Wants Everyone To Slow Down, Wear Blush, And Appreciate Every Moment
The MUA behind Gigi Hadid’s iconic looks gets candid about hiding his identity, being proud of his AAPI heritage, plus the 2022 beauty trend he stans.
In They’re Lit, Elite Daily highlights the men, trans, and nonbinary creators in the beauty industry who are busting through antiquated gender boundaries and proving beauty is, and always will be, for everyone. In this installment, every supermodel’s favorite MUA, Patrick Ta, takes Elite Daily through his years in the closet, his love of “melted” beauty looks, and the 2022 beauty trend he’s obsessed with right now.
Everything about Patrick Ta is beautiful. For starters, he’s gorgeous. The models he works with? Their perfectly symmetrical faces are instantly familiar, synonymous with luxury brands and high fashion. His makeup line, Patrick Ta Beauty, is so pretty, I am always a little reluctant to use the products, even though no other products get my brows as well-shaped or my cheeks as perfectly flushed. Yet despite everything he touches — from models to makeup palettes — turning to gold, the 31-year-old MUA hasn’t always felt beautiful. In fact, it’s something he struggled with for most of his life. Self-admittedly, he’s still working on building his confidence and he uses his art to help push him forward.
A glance at his cheekbones or a scroll through his Instagram feed, showing post after post of beautiful women serving their best bombshell poses, would make you think Ta lives a charmed life. He’s a jet-setter traveling the world to work with clients like Gigi and Bella Hadid, Camila Cabello, Emily Ratajkowski, and Adriana Lima. His beauty brand, launched in 2019 with Rima Minasyan, wins awards and is worn by celebs on red carpets. But at the core of his success is a deep desire to prove himself, something he’s carried around with him since middle school.
“I was always being made fun of, being called Fatty Patty or Fatrick,” he shares with me over Zoom on a sunny spring afternoon, adding, “I felt I didn't have anything.” It’s hard to imagine this man, who’s most recently worked as an MUA at the Met Gala and Cannes Film Festival, having nothing to hold on to and no sense of direction, but that’s how Ta describes himself before he entered the beauty world and started doing makeup professionally.
His path to star-studded success wasn’t a straightforward one; makeup wasn’t even his first career option. Ta didn’t finish high school and never attended college. He moved away from home at 17 years old and briefly ran a tanning salon before joining the MAC Cosmetics team three years later. It wasn’t until he began sharing his work on social media that Ta’s artistry began taking off. His follower count grew exponentially to the point that supermodel Joan Smalls slid into his DMs to request his services as a makeup artist. The rest, as they say, is history.
Ahead, Ta shares the wisdom he’s learned on his journey from insecure middle schooler to one of the most renowned makeup artists in the industry. Between spilling beauty tips and life lessons, Ta also opens up about the one makeup tool he can’t live without and the TikTok trend he loves seeing go viral.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Elite Daily: Has your culture or your background shaped your journey as a makeup artist?
Patrick Ta: It definitely has. I feel like all the Asians that I know, we're very detail-oriented, and growing up with my mom who was a nail technician, really allowed me to always want to perfect my artistry. But growing up, being a makeup artist definitely wasn’t the career path that my mom and dad saw for me. When I told them I wanted to pursue makeup as a career, there wasn't a lot of trust or excitement from them. I wanted to prove to myself, but also to them, that I wasn't just a f*ck-up because I dropped out of high school and didn’t go to college so I really, really, really focused attention to detail in my work.
And I guess growing up with an Asian American family, I've always wanted my mom and my dad to be proud of what I was doing. I don't know if that is a cultural thing.
ED: What do you think your parents wanted you to do with your career path?
PA: I think the typical career path that an Asian American family would want you to do: become a doctor or a dentist or a nurse, something that they couldn't do when they were living elsewhere.
PT: My parents grew up very poor. I don't know if you've ever been to Vietnam, but I remember my first time, and seeing how my parents' family lived was such a shock to me. I grew up pretty comfortable and privileged and when I went there, my cousins came over to our hotel room. Back then, if you weren't a hotel guest, you couldn’t even enter the hotels because it's such a third-world country, but they came into our hotel room and there was air conditioning and they got sick because they weren't used to having cold air. They saw the TV and they saw the minibar and they asked us, "Oh, did you bring that from America?"
ED: Oh, gosh.
PT: That's how my parents grew up. So I think when they came to the U.S., they wanted a better life for us and because of all of that, I totally understand why any sort of immigrant family would want their child to pursue school and college and a high-paying job, because they don't want them to go through what they had to go through.
ED: Absolutely. And when was that visit?
PT: I don't remember the actual year, but I do remember I was in middle school, because there was a field trip that I didn't want to miss and I remember being upset with that, but so happy that I was able to go to Vietnam.
ED: Thinking back to being younger, what advice would you give to your teenage self?
PT: So much changes. I think back to when I was 18, to even 22, and I’d say just live in the moment. Just really enjoy whatever you are doing. I think the one thing that I would probably change if I could go back is to enjoy it all. Basically all of my accomplishments, I’d enjoy more.
ED: What was the biggest hurdle you've had to overcome in your career, and how did you get through it?
PT: I think a huge hurdle for me is self-confidence, and I'm still working on that. I did grow up in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood in school; I was one of few Asians, I was in the closet, and I was very overweight. I was, like, 230 pounds in middle school. I'm very proud to be Asian American now, but I definitely wasn't back then. My mom was a nail technician and my dad did construction and I didn't think that those were glamorous jobs. I remember being so embarrassed of them when I was younger, but then I look back and I realize that they worked so hard to be able to give us the life that we had. It makes me so sad that I even thought that about them back then.
ED: That's a hard time.
PT: I didn't have a good group of friends, I wasn't friends with the popular kids. I didn't do well in school. I felt there was nothing going for me. And I think when I was able to enter the real world, I really made it a point to be able to love what I’m doing and I'm working on myself. I think with makeup, I was always super intrigued and interested in the beauty world, just because I felt like I never had that for myself. [Makeup was] a way that I could be in this world [through] my artistry.
So I think with whatever I am doing now, I want to be able to be proud of what I'm doing. And being able to be proud of what I'm doing is by actually fully being creative with whatever I come out with. With my brand, I've been having full creative direction and my beauty brand has been such a great way for me to express what I want to create or what I think is beautiful.
ED: I'm interested to know if you feel like your growing confidence has come from time, or if it really does come from having that creative control and a creative outlet that you're passionate about?
PT: I think a little bit of both.
ED: So you're adored by some of the biggest supermodels in the game. What do you think it is about your work, whether it's your aesthetic or your technique, that your clients love so much?
PT: I think the makeup that I do is very wearable. I consider my makeup very wearable red carpet makeup.
ED: I love that.
PT: Like, you want to look your best on a red carpet, but you don't want to feel like it's covering or changing your face. And I know for me, I want to feel as naturally beautiful as possible. So I think the artistry that I always try to do is just elevating and amplifying your own natural beauty.
ED: I am personally obsessed with the way that you create this luminosity on the skin. For folks that want to create a luminous glow at home, what would you suggest in terms of product, and also process?
PT: As far as product, I have a really amazing one; it's called the Major Glow Balm ($50, Patrick Ta) which is meant for the peak of your forehead, your cheekbones, and your décolleté. It's a cream product that you would lay onto either your natural skin or on top of your foundation. It gives you this really natural glow that you would almost get if your natural oils came out, but came out in all the right places instead of, like, your T-zone. And I love when the glow looks like it's coming from you instead of a powder or something that looks like it's laying on top of your skin.
ED: What advice would you give to a young person who wants to experiment with makeup, but is afraid of what other people might think?
PT: I think that this is something that is so much easier said than done, that makeup is just makeup and you can just wash it off. But I think being able to, and it's again, easier said than done, just experiment. I feel like when I started trying out new things, I probably wasn't good at it in the beginning, but the more you try, the better. You'll find a way for it to look good on you. Just try new things and be open to new colors and new ways of applying things.
ED: What's one beauty trend happening right now that you're very into and that you're excited to see more of?
PT: People bringing blush all the way up into their under-eye. I've always been such a big fan of blush, that's why I have so many blush colors, and my cream and powder blush duos. I love a really beautiful, bright under-eye, I love really blended skin, and being able to marry the two together so everything just looks diffused and beautiful.
ED: I am a little bit obsessed with how your skin looks, because it always looks amazing. Do you have a really intense skin care routine that you stick to?
PT: No, but I do have a lot of products and I'm constantly trying new things. The one thing that I do love is the SkinMedica Exfoliating Scrub ($48, SkinMedica). I love exfoliating my skin. It just makes you feel smoother.
ED: If you could only use one makeup tool for the rest of your life, what would that tool be?
PT: Probably an eyebrow spoolie.
ED: Love it. If you could only use one makeup product for the rest of your life, what would it be?
PT: I think I would say blush.
ED: Do you like underpainting or overpainting, either of those techniques?
PT: I love layering textures, so with my blush duo ($34, Sephora), I created a cream and a powder. I personally apply the powder first and then the cream. Then the cream melts the powder into the skin so the color doesn't look like it's laying on top of your skin, it looks like it's coming from within.
ED: Do you have any advice on how to achieve “melting” at home?
PT: I love applying creams with a Beautyblender ($20, Sephora), because it really helps disperse the product very evenly.
ED: What is next for Patrick Ta Beauty?
PT: We have a few things coming out. We’re going to expand on Major Brow, and then we're going to expand on some exciting complexion [products].
ED: I can't wait! If you wouldn't mind doing a bit of trend whispering: What do you think is going to be the next big thing in beauty as we move into the summer months?
PT: I still feel right now skin is so in. I feel like every single brand relaunched complexion [makeup] this year, and I think really honing on to your skin care regimen and being able to be as fresh and as natural as possible is very now.