Patrick Ta has made a name for himself in Hollywood as the go-to makeup artist for celebrities like Gigi Hadid, Shay Mitchell, Olivia Munn, and so many more. He's known for creating bold eye looks and a lit-from-within glow for his clients. So, when he announced that he was launching a makeup brand focused on glow, it seemed like the perfect move.
But Ta admits that it wasn't an easy journey. From being bullied to going bankrupt, the 28-year-old had to go through ups and downs to get where he is today. To celebrate the launch of his namesake brand, Patrick shares his personal story of growth. The following interview was told to Thatiana Diaz and edited for length and clarity.
My parents are from Vietnam and moved to the U.S. before I was born. They wanted their kids to live a life that they didn't get to have. That's why they pushed me and my sister to do really well in school. Every parent wants this for their kids, but even more so in immigrant families. They wanted me to get really good grades, which I did not get. They wanted me to go to college, which I didn't do. They wanted me to be successful, and I was changing my career route a lot. I wanted to be a chef, an interior designer, a landscaper — anything that allowed me to build something beautiful.
When I told my parents I was gay in high school, although they've always been supportive, they feared how that'd affect me. I was flamboyant, and you get those whispers from the boys. I was also overweight, and my classmates called me names like "Fatty Patty" and "Fatrick." This bullying made me hate high school. It's not like today when people are able to come out so much younger. I didn't get to grow up in that era. Ultimately, I dropped out at 16 years old and moved from San Diego to Arizona alone. It was there that I fell in love with makeup.
My roommate was a glamazon, she would wear makeup to the gym and to the grocery store. It was cool to see the transformation and observe her feeling a certain way because of makeup. At the same time, I opened a tanning and nail salon at the age of 18. I thought I knew everything, and I wouldn't listen to others because I had this know-it-all mentality. Then, it went from a successful business to bankrupt when I was 21 years old.
I told myself I would never start my own business again after failing.
Refresh & Restart
My salon failed miserably, so it was really embarrassing to be in Arizona. I wanted to get out of there, and Los Angeles was close to my home [in San Diego, CA]. Also, I came out in Arizona, but there's not really a big gay community there, and I wanted to live my life freely. I knew I wanted to be in L.A., and after my business failed and I started doing makeup professionally, that gave me a reason to go.
When I moved to California, all I did was work. I used to do eight to 10 clients a day, and I would charge $75 USD. I thought I was killing it, because I moved there four months after I filed my bankruptcy with barely any money. It was probably not the best decision to move somewhere where it was double the price of housing [laughs], but I did it, and I'm proud of it.
Now, it's been eight years of me doing makeup. Gigi Hadid and Shay Mitchell both changed my life. It's been a slow process as an artist, but every moment to me is exciting. Now, I'm a sponge, and I love observing and learning. I'm willing to learn and be open to different ways of doing things now, which has helped me grow a lot.
Eyes On The Future
Moving to L.A. completely changed my life. But when I moved here, I told myself I would never start my own business again after failing in Arizona. It was very scary. I've always wanted to have my own brand, but I never was confident enough to do it. Now, I feel good and I feel strong... and I'm proud of this line that I'm coming out with.
It was my goal to create products to empower women to feel confident and beautiful in their own skin in the same way women make me feel every day. Growing up, I've always gravitated towards women — my mom, my sister, my girlfriends. They were the ones that allowed me to feel comfortable in my own skin. They allow you to be yourself.
Now the makeup line is here [not yet available in Canada]. I never thought I'd be doing what I'm doing now. There is no better feeling than knowing that your parents were so concerned about you and what you're doing to do, especially when you deal with low points, and then have them proud of you. And as for my fears, if you do something that you love or that you're proud of, I feel like, how could it go wrong?