Aside from her makeup skills, Tatiana Ward’s greatest gift may be her ability to believe in the most extraordinary possibilities—and make them happen. Only four years ago, she was a YouTube makeup maven, dying to be discovered. But instead of waiting for anyone to believe in her, she took the matters into her own hands. From building a million plus following, to recruiting fans to bombard celebrities like Brandy and Nicki Minaj to give her just one shot at “beating” their face, Ward also known as “BeatFaceHoney,” is living proof that, seriously, anything can happen.
EBONY: How did you go from You Tube, to Instagram, to becoming Nicki’s makeup artist?
TW: It’s funny because my Instagram isn’t all about makeup, but my YouTube is. It’s about me and my life and my thoughts. But, a girl posted on one of my pictures saying, “Hey, I read on Nicki Minaj’s blog that she needs a makeup artist in New York. I know you’re in Philly, but you should try.’ My gears got to turning and I said all right, well, here’s round two. I went to the blog to read it for myself and I posted the caption of what she’d said and told my followers that, “If ya’ll could get me Brandy, you can get me Nicki.” I went to my Twitter and saw a sea of my name and her name in my mentions saying “Let Beat Face Honey do your makeup.” It was crazy. I call my viewers “The Beat Face Brigade.” They are just this army of good souls that God gave me to elevate me.
I didn’t even have an agent. You don’t get Nicki Minaj by not having an agent. It doesn’t happen that way.
EBONY: Your Instagram brand is very specific. You always aim to inspire, create and uplift. I think that’s another reason Nicki was comfortable working with you.
TW: It astonishes me more so now. Nicki actually called me personally. I gave her my contact information. When she called the first thing she said was, “First of all, how do you say your name?” (Mimicking Nicki’s accent perfectly). And I said “Ta-tee-yah-nah”. She said, “Alright, do you have my makeup?” I told her “Yes.” And she was like, “Alright. I’m going to get somebody to call you in a couple minutes and I’m going to get you to New York and we’re going put you up (in a hotel), and I’m going see if I like it.” Child, I ran out my door screaming—and I live in the hood in Philly.
EBONY: So once you got to New York, what happened?
TW: I went to New York and I was sitting in the hotel lobby. Safaree (her assistant) came downstairs and said “You did your makeup?” I said “Yeah.” He said, “I like it. She’s going to like it. Just chill. Don’t ask a lot of questions and don’t bother her. Just do your job.”
EBONY: So is makeup your first love?
Tatiana Ward: To be honest, music is my first love. By the time I was in 10th grade, I had a record deal and was recording an album. But I’ve been doing makeup for four years. I started in Atlanta and now I’m all over the place. I feel like I’ve had 9 lives! But I really have many talents; I think we all do. It’s just that make-up has always come second to music. The thing I’ve learned is: what God has for you, he has for you. My last attempt at singing was in 2005 when I auditioned for American Idol. They aired my audition and I made it to Hollywood and then got cut right away. I had to figure out after that what I was doing with my life so, I moved to Atlanta.
EBONY: It’s funny how your purpose can be streamlined together in the strangest ways.
TW: That’s why you just have to listen to God and watch the signs. Because your plan may not be his plan. But, I ended up exactly where I was supposed to be because I knew that I liked showbiz. I knew that I wanted to be involved in showbiz. I thought that I was supposed to be an entertainer but really, I was supposed to assist entertainers.
EBONY: Which is still a very big role, maybe even bigger than the entertainers themselves at times.
TW: We’re at the frontlines. A woman’s confidence is everything to her and how she feels about herself before she leaves the house is everything. It can make or break your day, so it’s a big role when you’re behind the celebs.
EBONY: Okay, so let’s get a little bit more background. Where did the makeup journey begin? What happened once you moved out there?
TW: I moved to Atlanta after I got cut from American Idol, and I started bartending and decided if I’m not going to do music, then I have to do something else that I really with my life. So I got into makeup and I started working at a makeup counter, just trying to learn. Then, I moved back to Philadelphia where I’m from, but the only place I could get a job was at the strip clubs. That was the best experience—I worked at Delilah’s and I worked at Risqué. The strip club is where I really learned my makeup skills.
EBONY: But why was the strip club your best experience?
TW: Any type of girl would walk in on any given day. It could be an Asian girl who wants green glitter, or a White girl who’s on heroin and nodding out and she wants you to fix whatever—it was just any type of girl, any time of makeup.
EBONY: Before Nicki, you actually did Brandy’s makeup and you have an interesting story behind getting to work with her, too.
TW: March of last year, I found out Brandy was going to be in Philadelphia and I got the gumption to ask my followers on YouTube for help to get a social media rally going for me to do her makeup. Similar to what I did for Nicki. Oddly, I had already met her. We have a friend in common and he introduced me to her. I was able to meet her and tell her to her face, “I really want to do your makeup.” She was like,
“Yeah! Totally, sure.”
When I found out the concert was coming, I asked my friend if he spoke to her fiancé just to put in the good word. But, they’re crazy busy and nobody is thinking about the makeup artist from Philly. So, I figured, I’d just have to take matters into my own hands. I was sitting in my living room folding laundry and I got the crazy idea to ask my followers to go harass her.
I just posted this video, and I was like, “Guys, I really want to do Brandy’s makeup. If you could tag her and tweet her and just continue to ask her, it would be awesome.” It would be no way she wouldn’t see my name.
And they did. I think maybe, two days before the concert, she commented on one of my pictures and said “Will you do my makeup for my show on Friday?’” That’s when I lost it! I did her makeup and she invited me to dinner that night. I came back twice to do her makeup again.
EBONY: But the craziest part about your story is that we can scroll through your timeline and see where you began and where you are now.
TW: That’s the beauty of it all. You can go back through my Instagram to a year ago and see me talking about my $1,300 car that broke down and how I had to walk to work.
EBONY: Your life is a future bestselling book, I hope you know this. What’s next for you, you think?
TW: I’m thinking about taking it easy. I’m so blessed to have this. I don’t know where this could go because I feel like I’ve gotten the best already. I feel like Nicki Minaj teaches me something new in every single way, far beyond makeup. I’ve learned how to conduct your business. She’s not just a rapper. She’s a businesswoman. That is such a lesson. Just because you got on in one way doesn’t mean you have to stay there. Makeup is absolutely my passion, but I’m not limiting myself at all. I love makeup, I’ll never leave makeup, but I know that the story doesn’t stop there.
EBONY: What was your first ever mess-up with her?
TW: The first time I ever did Nicki for a show, she turned to me and said, “Where’s the mirror?” I said, “I don’t have a mirror.” She goes, “Oh, so you mean to tell me you’re a makeup artist and you don’t have a mirror?” But, before her, I was just doing strippers and we had a mirror in the dressing room. I didn’t have to carry a mirror around. She has given me such patience. I’m learning these lessons with seasoned people who are giving me nothing but patience because they see that I’m talented and they see that I’m hungry. God just gave me the right group of women—all Black women—and they’re helping me and they know they’re helping me. That is such a blessing.
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Associate Beauty and Style Editor, Digital