Patrick Ta No Longer Cares If He's Relevant
Before Patrick Ta became celebrities' go-to makeup artist and founder of his namesake beauty brand, Ta lived several other lives in the beauty industry, though: At 18, he owned a tanning salon. After it went bankrupt, Ta pursued makeup by working at a MAC counter in Arizona. For 30 on 30, our ongoing series exploring what it's like to turn 30 during this pivotal moment in history, the makeup mogul — who is 30, as of February 12 — shared the lessons he's garnered over his years in the beauty industry and what's still to come for his illustrious career.
My family is so different from me. They’re not glamazons. They don't like to spend money on vanity. When I was younger, I was overweight and never felt beautiful or accepted, so I spent time losing weight and getting nice clothes and makeup. I think everyone wants to feel beautiful. Who doesn't want to feel good about themselves?
My sister doesn’t really wear makeup, but my mom has recently started to. She doesn't really work anymore, so she can have fun with her look. My dad, on the other hand, is in construction, and my parents still live in the same house as I did when I was younger. Everything is different, though, because my dad always starts one project and quickly moves onto another. He's like, “Grecian pillars look good right now.” So he put a pillar in our house. But then, he's like, “I like modern,” and puts in modern cabinets. Nothing is cohesive, but I loved the beauty of it all. Like him, I want to make everything around me beautiful.
Growing up, I didn't have confidence in myself to feel or act the way that I wanted to act because I was overweight. Also, when you're in the closet, you have this barrier that prevents people from seeing who you are. You're busy trying to fool people into thinking you're straight. Like many gay men, I had to go through this moment of accepting who I am and being happy with my sexuality. You're able to come into this new light of who you are going to be, who you want to be, your aspirations. You're not worried about fooling everyone, but you're worried about now being your authentic self.
At 17 years old, I moved away from my hometown of San Diego to Arizona. It was a way for me to not be around friends and family and get a fresh start to figure out who I wanted to be and who I saw myself as. Even though I still wasn't out, it was the first step to becoming like my authentic self.
Until I lived with one in Arizona, I’d never met a glamorous makeup artist. My roommate worked at MAC and fueled my obsession with makeup around the age of 20. She truly helped me finally feel comfortable trying it out. I started going to Sephora and beauty counters to talk to the sales associates and ask them questions. From then on, I started growing and growing and growing and even began working at a makeup counter myself. There, I was able to gain experience with so many types of women — different ages, skin types, ethnicities.
Patrick Ta back in his MAC days
Early in my career, I only did makeup because I was so obsessed with the whole transformation of it. I couldn’t imagine doing everything I’m doing now until I first moved to L.A. seven years ago. One day, I was working with Shay Mitchell, and the hairstylist told me, “Oh, my partner and I are remodeling a house. We're also flipping houses on the side.” In my head, I was like, what the heck — how does a hairstylist make that much money in order to buy a house, especially in L.A.? I couldn't fathom it because I was charging $100 to $200 for a makeup application. My mind didn’t even know people could make what they make or have this life that they have.
I only did makeup early in my career because I was so obsessed with the whole transformation of it.
That experience made me vow to be successful. I wanted a house; I wanted a nice car. Those were all things to try to make myself feel better and more accepted, though. Now that I have them, I'm trying to focus on myself and being a better person and what I can do to help the people around me.
Patrick Ta and Shay Mitchell back in 2014
A couple of months ago, I celebrated my 30th birthday, and I just feel so much more confident in who I am. Things aren't necessarily easier, but little things don't bother me anymore. It's amazing what time does to the human brain. I’m constantly learning, and I’m able to, honestly, just live.
This past year has given me time to value the things I have and the people around me. Right before the pandemic, I was so busy and overwhelmed. Even if I was in front of you, I was [worried] about a bunch of other things I had to do that week or the next.
Before the pandemic, I was so busy and overwhelmed. Even if I was in front of you, I was worried about all the things I had to do. Now, I realize life is all about human interaction and feeling good.
Now, I realize life is all about human interaction and feeling good. A few clients of mine lately have inspired me to do different things, and with social media, you're able to see so many more styles. I used to be so worried about creating a look. Now, I'm starting to play with different shapes and eye shadows because one, I honestly do love learning, and two, being able to change with the times and to open up your mind is so important.
The thing I think about most lately is trying to create something I love. These past three weeks, I worked every single day, which is a blessing, but it’s worn me out because I’m so used to staying home. Although it's exhausting, I appreciate working face-to-face more than ever before, and the things I noticed myself looking for in clients are different than what I looked for at the beginning of my career.
I used to look for who's the most popular, who's the most beautiful, who's the most relevant. Now, I’m asking myself, "Who treats me like family?" I want a relationship beyond just standing in front of them during a job. And I'm not so thirsty to be the most relevant makeup artist. I truly want to love the looks I do and be proud of them.
For more on Patrick Ta, listen to his episode of The Allure Podcast.
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