Patrick Ta is the supermodel makeup whisperer.
The Vietnamese makeup artist needs no introduction, but if he did, it would simply be the names of all the faces he famously paints to perfection: Gigi and Bella Hadid, Shay Mitchell, the Kardashian sisters, and Olivia Munn, among others. His signature style is fresh, glowy skin with an editorial, high-fashion flair. Patrick puts the “art” in makeup artist, with his Instagram serving as a virtual museum gallery of beautifully snatched faces that will keep you scrolling and staring for hours.
In 2019, Patrick followed in the footsteps of famed makeup artists-turned-founders Kevyn Aucoin and François Nars with the launch of his eponymous makeup brand, Patrick Ta. The collection features products like a highlighting mist, brow wax, blush and contour powders, and more. Available at Sephora and patrickta.com, the brand is beloved by both celebrities and beauty lovers for its glow-enhancing products.
As one of a handful of Asian-owned brands available at Sephora, Patrick Ta is paving the way for AAPI founders in beauty. We caught up with the brand owner and makeup artist to discuss his upbringing, his roundabout career journey, burnout, and the empowering act of using his voice to stand up against Asian hate.
Patrick Ta’s brave beginnings
As the child of Vietnamese immigrants, Patrick grew up under the expectation that he had to get good grades and go to college in order to live a successful life. His parents encouraged him to follow this traditional path in order to give him the best chance at a better life with more opportunities than they had, but Patrick had something else—something better—in mind.
His makeup career began at a MAC Cosmetics counter, which gave him ample opportunity to practice on people of every race and ethnicity. Patrick started uploading some of his work to Instagram, which started to take off and eventually led to him moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a freelance makeup artist.
It takes a certain type of person to make this brazen leap of faith. In Asian communities, many feel confined to more traditional career paths and don’t always have the backing of their families to support them should they decide to venture outside of a few predetermined roles.
“Despite this, my parents have always been supportive of whatever I do, but always worried about me and my career,” says Patrick. “I’m so fortunate to be successful in something I am so passionate about and I hope that I can show others in a similar position that there isn’t only one right path to success.”
In his culture, the ties that bind a family together are incredibly strong. Asian families are always incredibly close and quick to lend a hand to any family member in need. Despite their initial concerns, Patrick has been lucky enough to reap the benefits of his successful career thus far and share it with those closest to him.
“Traditionally, we have big families and are a very tight community. We take care of our parents and elder family members, and that’s something I’ve really put my energy behind this year,” he says.
On his career journey, burnout and the model minority myth
Many might assume that Patrick’s career has been nothing but success after success, but the makeup artist has experienced many highs and lows throughout his varied career journey. Before pursuing makeup artistry, Patrick explored becoming a culinary chef and even owned and operated his own nail and tanning salon in Scottsdale, Arizona.
When his salon was forced to declare bankruptcy, Patrick was forced to rethink what he really wanted to do in life. It was only after all these challenges and false starts that Patrick discovered his love for makeup.
The lessons he learned in his previous careers are part of his success story today. Patrick has been knocked down plenty of times, but he always gets back up. This attitude is undoubtedly a major factor in his success, but it also has the potential to drive someone to the brink of burnout.
“My failures have brought light to my successes and it’s still crazy to me how far I’ve come,” says Patrick. “With that in mind, burnout is still real and the ‘model minority’ mentality is always present.”
“I focus on doing my best work and don’t let that mindset overpower the accomplishments I’m proud of on a daily basis, and always show up to work excited to help someone feel more confident even if it’s just for a few minutes.”
Standing up for the AAPI community
The recent hate crimes against Asians in America have weighed heavy on the hearts and minds of all Asian Americans, including Patrick.
“During this past year, it’s been so important to me to remember where my parents came from and really be grateful for the opportunities they have given me,” he says. “While this year has been trying for everyone, it’s made me be even more unapologetically myself while allowing my platform to be a space where I can share my voice on these important issues.”
As one of Very Good Light’s 35 fiercest voices in the beauty industry, Patrick Ta didn’t get to where he is today by being timid. He’s a strong advocate for others, and says he feels his fiercest when he’s lifting up those around him.
“Whether it’s helping my clients or friends, making sure I have a positive impact on those around me is when I feel my best,” says Patrick. “In my professional life and at Patrick Ta Beauty, I feel my fiercest whenever we finalize a new product/packaging and are ready to share it with the world. It’s the most amazing and powerful feeling to share what I’ve been working on for so long with everyone.”
As an AAPI beauty brand founder, Patrick feels a certain level of responsibility to speak up against the violent attacks perpetrated against the community over the last year.
“As someone with a larger platform, using my voice is valuable and being able to educate others – even if it’s just reaching one person – is so empowering,” says Patrick. “I’m so proud of the Asian American community for standing strong in these times and always persevering with [a] positive outlook.”
While he’s happy to stand up for his community, Patrick also emphasizes the importance of allies in the fight against hate, racism, and discrimination.
“In order to move forward, it’s so important that we stand united. Without allies, love, and support, we can’t be impactful in our mission or make positive strides to becoming a better world. I focus on just doing one thing to make a difference – whether that’s calling to check up on someone or listening to a friend that needs to be heard.”