Photography by Ernesto Distefano

We Got Ready for the MMVAs With Shay Mitchell and Makeup Artist Patrick Ta

Have you ever wondered what awards show prep is like for celebrities? And we don’t just mean seeing some behind-the-scenes photos on Snapchat. We mean an up-close look at every step of the process from start to finish. Of course you have.

So when we got the chance to get ready for the 2017 iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards with actress Shay Mitchell and makeup artist Patrick Ta, we obviously couldn’t say no. Mitchell, who’s presenting an award at the show, invited us into her hotel room all afternoon, giving us an exclusive look at her pre-party process.

Keep reading for everything we learned from Shay Mitchell and Patrick Ta, as well as a complete breakdown of Shay’s MMVAs look, using KISS New York Professional and KISS Products.

On Shay’s signature look

Patrick Ta: This look is something that is really different for Shay because we normally like to go for a super sultry smoky eye. This one is like medium on the scale.

Shay Mitchell: We’re doing different colours and tones this time.

Patrick Ta: We did the eyes not as dark as we normally do. We focused more on lashes and depth. I wanted to do something more airy and fresh with this dress.

Shay Mitchell: I always do a smoky eye because I love makeup and Patrick is so amazingly talented that he can really do one. I love it. I can do a natural eye on myself, so if I get to work with an artist, I want to create something.

Patrick Ta: To us, this is a smoky eye but to her…

On collaboration

Patrick Ta: Before any red carpet, Shay picks out her outfit and hair, makeup, the stylist, we all work together. We’re literally always in a group chat messaging each other.

Shay Mitchell: Sometimes I give Patrick two options for clothes and I let him decide on the outfit, because I need him to be inspired, too. For tonight I let him choose the look. It was either going to be a short tuxedo dress or this one. If I’d gone with the other dress, the makeup would have been a black smoky eye.

Patrick Ta: We’ve been working together for three and a half years now so I feel like we’ve done every single look in the book. She’s super open to doing new looks. She loves makeup as much as any makeup artist.

FASHION Magazine: Can you guess what each other’s favourite makeup look has been?

Shay and Patrick: Oh, definitely.

Patrick Ta: Her favourite look is either this look we did in New York when she was doing press for the show—

Shay Mitchell: Oh, yes. He did a smoky eye and I loved it. If I could have a makeup look that was me, that would be it.

Patrick Ta: It was a brown smoky eye that really opened up her eyes.

Shay Mitchell: The other one would be for the GQ Men of the Year Party. We had just started working together and I loved that look. It was a black smoky eye, too.

Patrick Ta: What do you think mine is?

Shay Mitchell: Yesterday was one of your favourite looks.

Patrick Ta: Yesterday she was teaching a workout class so it was super light and glowy.

On what Shay won’t do

FASHION Magazine: Patrick, do you ever suggest anything that Shay says no to?

Patrick Ta: Yeah all the time. (Laughs.) I always want to make her look girly but she hates it. She hates blush. I love it. I think it makes a face look wide awake, but she thinks she looks too pretty with it. She likes looking edgy.

Shay Mitchell: I loved the blush on Rihanna at the Met Gala, but that’s a look. I don’t like just pink blush on anybody.

(Editor’s note: later, Ta tells me while laughing, “She’s wearing blush today. She doesn’t know she is, but I’m putting some on her.”)

Patrick Ta: Honestly, the majority of my clients hate blush. I don’t know why. Some say it makes their face look round. They just want that contour.

On makeup artistry

Patrick Ta: There are so many makeup artists out there but I don’t know why there’s only a certain few who work in this circle. Why do you think that is?

Shay Mitchell: It’s like how there are lots of actors in the world but only so many have an Oscar. It’s the same thing. You’re just the best in your field. That’s not to say there won’t be others.

Patrick Ta: Shay was my first celebrity client. She found me three months after I moved to LA.

Shay Mitchell: I think I have an eye for deciphering between Facetune, Photoshop makeup artists, and someone who can do makeup in real life. And I will never rush a makeup artist. My biggest fear is having an hour to get ready. I love the process more than the actual event the majority of the time.

So I always give myself two hours for sure, luxury is three. But it’s fun; we’re eating, we’re drinking. Water, of course. No wait, actually, I am drinking. It was cute when I was on a show and had to play young but now I’m 30 years old. I’m drinking.

On doing her own makeup

Shay Mitchell: I can get away with it. If I go to a new place and I’ve never worked with a makeup artist there, I’ll always do my own makeup, even for a red carpet, because it’s terrifying to me. I work with such amazing people so to go to a new place and work with a new makeup artist that I’ve never worked with before for a red carpet, it’s terrifying. I’m a very loyal client. If you can’t do my makeup, you’re dead to me. (Laughs.) I’m just kidding.