You might of heard the name “Beat Face Honey” from low-key being an OG in the MUA game. Tatiana Ward has beat the faces of Nicki Minaj, Brandy and many more.
We all know how expensive beauty products can be but did you know that you can interchange your products and get more bang for your buck?
Although Tatiana caters to the stars she also knows how to get her money’s worth on her favorite products. We sat down to talk to her about life as a celebrity MUA, ways she uses products for multi-use and a little bit about her journey in the industry.
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What’s your background and how would you describe what you do? Tell us your story.
I began my makeup journey in 2008. Before that I was pursuing a career in music. I sang and wrote songs for years and even made it to Hollywood with American Idol.
After many years of trying I decided I needed to figure out a plan B that would still allow me to be around my first love (music). The only other thing I could see myself doing would be to be a cast member on SNL or do makeup! [But because] I’m not that funny I decided makeup would be a better fit. I began learning as much as I can from books and looking into the stories of legendary makeup artists like Pat McGrath, Same Fine and Scott Barns.
Once I practiced quite a bit I worked up the nerve to start a youtube channel. I poured what little money I had into building my makeup kit and eventually got a job working at a local Strip Club where I spent about 4 years doing makeup on dancers. All the while I built up my presence on social media. I’d duplicate the makeup in popular music videos for youtube and slowly but surely got the attention of my favorite singer Brandy Noorwood. Next thing I knew I was touring with her and the rest is history.
I’ve worked with Nicki Minaj, Keyshia Cole, Sevyn Streeter, K Michelle, and many other incredible talents. So God put me around the music after all! Not only that but I have my own audience that has graciously received me in their living rooms while on youtube but also in live classes. I’ve toured for about 4 years teaching my makeup technique.
What’s your go-to beauty hack or tip when you’re working on your clients?
It’s more of a concept really. There are a million hacks cuz there are a million different ways to use products. If I can’t match someone’s brow correctly with the brow pencils I own then surely I can find an eyeshadow that will allow me to fill in her brow. Products are almost always interchangeable. A blush can be an eyeshadow. A lipstick can be a blush. A powder can be an eyeshadow. It’s art and within art the sky is the limit.
What void do you feel you’re filling in the beauty industry?
Well, the beauty industry is one thing, but makeup artistry is something different.
I am a makeup artist through and through. I take pride in being such. It’s wonderful to see so many people as excited about makeup as I am! Makeup is so fun and appeals to so many for various reasons!
From the very start of my makeup journey however, I set out to be a makeup artist and I’ve weathered the various storms that come along with the title. I’m not a novice, I’m an artist. That’s what makes me different.
I’ve made a business out of doing makeup on people other than myself. I’ve made a brand out of being selective about what products I tell my audience about rather than accepting any ol’ check to promote something I myself wouldn’t carry in my kit. When I address my audience they know that my perspective comes from that of a working artist and they appreciate that.
Most importantly, I think what makes me different is that I have two talents that resonate with people. Not only the makeup but the fact that I’m a good educator. Just because you can play the game doesn’t mean you’d be a great candidate to coach the team. I’m humbled at the amount of people who take my classes and say that I’m a good coach. They walk away having really learned. That’s my most favorite part!
What items are in your kit that you can’t live without?
You’d be hard pressed to get me to touch anyone’s face without my Beauty Blender. It’s absolutely essential for me. I need my lighting too! If I can’t see then Im screwed. I love my MAC Studio Fix concealers as well. They are one of few products that I started my kit with and still remain.
Tell us about a difficult time in your life that you overcame and explain how you did so.
I’ll tell you something that may sound strange. I lost my brother. He was healthy, happy, handsome and thriving. We were on a family vacation cruise and he accidently drowned and died before my very eyes. I sat at his feet as the paramedics tried to bring life back into him.
I found out on that day that cruise ships have morgues. We docked the day after he died and leaving that boat without him seemed surreal. What’s strange about all of this is that I often wonder if I’ve ever really dealt with it because as badly as that hurt, there is something final and peaceful about death. It’s irreversible. I can do nothing to change it and there is great peace in knowing that Christ is real and when he said it’s over, then it’s over and you are with him.
My brother’s passing was tremendously difficult but he’s with the Lord so he was okay. A broken heart hurt worse to me though. Breaking up with someone I thought I was going to be in my life forever brought me to the lowest low of my life. I had to live with knowing that I was wrong about him. I had to question if he ever even loved me. I had to wonder why I deserve to be manipulated, embarrassed and lied to.
When my brother passed, two days later I was at work with Nicki Minaj doing the Ellen show. I was a drunk mess of a woman but I was there and I did my job and Nicki graciously said nothing as she knew what was going on.
I just threw myself into work and thanked God for his mercy and allowing me to have a big brother for the 30 years that he was mine. The certainties where there: He loved me. He wanted what’s best for me.He was in heaven. It’s the uncertainty that terrified me after that break up.
Was I worthy? Could this happen again? Could I trust my heart again because it lied on me? Instead of throwing myself into my work, I literally vanished and frankly, I’m just now coming out of that depression but what got me through is relying on the the certainties in this situation too: I didn’t build this brand brick by brick to let it crumble.
God is within me so I’m always worthy. I have people who look up to me and every offering I give is something that someone out there needs to hear including my struggles. The devil is busy trying to take me out so I gotta be just as busy keeping myself in the game! I think of my end result. I will die old and grey with grandchildren who love me and a legacy they can be proud of so I better get cracking!
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As a working MUA and teacher, what is something you notice will always be in style in the industry?
Class and elegance will never go out of style. I aim for “timeless” in my approach. I’ve always been that way. I look exactly the same in my high school picture then I do right now because even then I understood that timelessness is beautiful.
Looking back and saying “WTF was I thinking with that makeup?” is never the goal. The glitter, cut creases, overly drawn on brows and mounds of bronzer are fun to do but having a lighter hand and creating a polished version of yourself or someone else takes a lot more skill if you ask me. And when we look back at ourselves we’ll enjoy the risks we took on hair, fashion and makeup but our most favorite pictures of ourselves will be the ones where we just looked like ourselves.
Working with various celebrities, whose makeup preference is closest to yours and what’s most difficult about being a MUA to the stars?
None of them are like me lol! I absolutely hate to wear eyeshadow on myself, I don’t like to contour my nose, I don’t like blush on myself and I seldom wear bronzer on my cheeks. Don’t get me wrong! I love that stuff on other people but just not on me. I have to remove my ego when working with celebrities. They are under and immense amount of pressure to look a certain way and their job is tough. I try to be a calming, peaceful and playful energy yet balance the importance of my roll too and make them feel beautiful.
I think the hardest thing about the job on my end is that people don’t really understand it the same way they dont understand celebrity. It’s got it’s glamorous moments but overall it is not easy! You think you like to fly till you’ve taken 10 flights in one month. You think you like hotels till you’ve been away from your bed where you can walk naked to your refrigerator if you so choose for too long. You think you love to eat out till the third night in a row a show has run so long that McDonalds is the only thing open. It’s little stuff like that that people don’t realize. I’m not complaining! I mean I did spend my 30th birthday at a dinner with Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Baby and that time I got stuck in an elevator with Future at the BET awards was a real highlight!
The job def has its perks, but after you see the underbelly of celebrity and spend countless hours held up in hotels, you’re thankful for home cooked meals, your real friends and sitting in your home doing nothin. That’s the beauty of my story and my life. I’ve gotten to experience the irony of God’s plan. I remember being in Barbados with Keyshia Cole. I begged her to come to the beach with me. She’d had a rough show the night before and wasn’t feeling well.
“Come on! We’re on this beautiful island! Lets go explore!” I told her. She said she’d think about it but didn’t want to have to get security to come with her. That’s when it hit me. God was merciful when he didn’t allow me my wildest dream of being a singer to come true. All that Keyshia has been through in her life prepared her for the impossible lifestyle that is “fame.” All that Nicki and Brandy endured helped them stay in this crazy life year after year. God made them tough as nails and he gave me the compassion to love them all through it for whatever time we had together. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be even when the going gets rough.