Monday February 1, 2021

By: Naiia Lajoie

It was early during his childhood that Patrick Santa Ana discovered he had a penchant for the arts. From coloring, to painting, to even producing his own plays with his at times not-so-willing siblings, Patrick found joy in just about any creative outlet. He would create costumes and do the makeup of his play’s participants, striving for perfection even at a young age. “I remember a Christmas pageant I did with cousins who were visiting; so about six of us kids, all 10-years-old and under” he recalls. “It was a mix of the nativity scene with Santa and reindeers, all done in a small bedroom using props from whatever we found in our complex.”

From his early teens in junior high and transitioning into his 20s, Patrick shifted his creative focus from the fine arts to the fashion industry; selfdescribed as obsessing over models, shows, working backstage, as well as the production goings-on behind the scenes. Whether it was inventing an image, movie, commercial, or look book, from high school to graduation Patrick continued practicing his craft of glamming anyone up that would allow him to do so.

One gig in particular that stands out in Patrick’s mind is working backstage of a runway show as a dresser during his early 20s. As a struggling artist getting paid solely $50/day, he took it upon himself to accept any job relating to his industry, even if it involved cleaning or steaming clothes backstage. It was fortuitous that he felt this way too, as on that fateful day a makeup artist neglected to show up. “I jumped on the opportunity and offered…to help” he recalls. “The model I worked on was so happy with how fast I glammed her [up, that] she told her agency – and BOOM…signed with my first agency.” From that moment on Patrick built his portfolio. Practicing different hair and makeup styles for various types of production, building his reputation with clients, all while remaining true to his love for the career; always growing, always learning. “There are so many fields in the makeup, skin, [and] hair industry that I have enjoyed [on] this ongoing journey”. Thus far his journey has encompassed everything from styling video game characters, to working on video training guides for a tile company, and even collaborating with a vitamin company in Mexico.

“It’s not always glam or smoky eyes,” Patrick confides, “Sometimes in this industry we make the talent look camera-ready [by] removing redness and shine.” He goes on, “Days on set are long, but the connection with [the] crew and [the] goal to finish the project is what brings our bonds together.” Strengthening bonds, much like hair follicles, is what Patrick strives for. Since his start in the industry, he has aided in the opening of salons and has educated specific brands on makeup, skin, and hairstyles that best suit their needs. This paying it forward has returned his kindness tenfold, given he has shot with Vogue and has been fortunate enough to travel to Paris, where he took part in a jewelry shoot, projects with couture designers, and even worked the Paris Fashion Week.

While truly honored, Patrick remains humbled by his accomplishments, citing his dedication to “growing more in this glam world, wherever it takes me – possibly opening more retail, [teaching] classes to new artists, [and] opening an agency of my own one day.” This humility likely stems from what he describes as “tons of struggles” from the age of 19:

Those exact moments were so hard… [I] felt like a failure, wanted to give up. Not getting enough work or going through dry spells. No gigs, no income… [I] doubted myself: should I go to school in the medical field? Even [get a job] recycling cans? *laughs* I don’t live in the past but love learning from what I’ve done. I am so grateful for going through those ‘struggles’ because I taught myself how to improvise and made each struggle a lesson that helped me further grow and learn in my career.

To this day, Patrick is still obsessed with the origins of makeup and skincare, going so far as to research its rich history, dating back to ancient times and spanning different cultures. This may be what sets him apart for his clients; his extensive knowledge, focus on their wellbeing, and aftercare. “I provide products to nourish skin and hair after a long day on set, wedding, or shoot. I don’t just make sure clients faces look amazing, but skin from head to toe – and I mean head to toe.” He elaborates, “I even provide body balms or moisturizer for all skin types, nail polish, tampons or pads, deodorant, toothbrush and all. I have to make sure my clients are always prepared for either [the] red carpet, photo shoots or even weddings.”

Having the same amazing clients for over 10-15 years, ranging from authors, actors, photographers, to production companies, Patrick attributes his hiring and rehiring to his ‘set etiquette’. That is to say, he makes sure all aspects of the project or production go well. “Some clients will even move production dates to have myself and team be available based on how they love my work, speed, and overall care of all crew” he beams. “That is so touching and [I am] truly blessed to have such strong relationships.” Surely, this attention to detail on serving the overall goal makes Patrick’s purpose in the industry not just a childhood dream, but a calling.

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