Earlier this month, the Media Center hosted a virtual discussion with social media influencer, makeup artist and booklover Brittina Carranto. Ms. Carranto, who is mostly self taught, spoke about growing her passion for makeup while being a part of a performing arts organization at her high school in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Growing up, aside from doing theater, she spent a lot of time in her school’s library, making friends with the librarians and reading young adult books. “I am team Billy,” Ms. Carranto said when asked whether she preferred Edward Cullen or Jacob Black from the Twilight saga. “I love Bella’s dad, but in high school I was definitely team Jacob.”
When she moved to California before graduating, unfortunately she could not continue doing performing arts. So, in addition to reading books and wanting to write her own, she started doing makeup in her free time, and it became one of her new favorite hobbies.
She graduated from San Francisco State University knowing that she wanted to take a break and pursue her passions in both books and makeup. “A little bit after graduation,” Ms. Carranto said, “I was talking to my husband, and I asked him about starting an Instagram to keep me accountable for my projects.”
Ms. Carranto said she had a hard time choosing between an Instagram focused on books and an Instagram focused on makeup, but thankfully, her husband solved that problem. “When I brought this idea up to him, he just nonchalantly turned to me and said, ‘Why not both?’ and from then, in 2018, Book Looks by B was born.”
Ms. Carranto said that she reads 30-40 books per year and that each Book Look takes 6-10 hours to create, 12 if she does a photoshoot.
In summary, a Book Look involves a full face of makeup, a prop (usually a headpiece), and special effects (usually done with body/face paint). They are carefully made to match the aesthetic of a book cover and the theme of the story inside. Ms. Carranto explained to us that Book Looks started off as a hobby and that her goal for 2019 was to post 52 Book Looks, one per week, to allow her to practice as a makeup artist and continue reading. She saw that her page was unexpectedly growing and that authors would send her books to review, read and do a Book Look for. She soon realized that makeup and books were really expensive, so she began to do looks for commissions.
As a one-woman show, she had to learn how to manage her time very carefully. “I put on all the hats and do everything on my own,” Ms. Carranto added. “Because of this, my planner is my life,” she said. “I stick to a very goal-oriented planner, meant to achieve goals in a very timely fashion.” She splits every project into eight tasks: reading the book, creating a face chart, budgeting, creating the prop, painting, editing, finalizing, and finally sharing with the world.
In February of 2020, a digital community called Epic Reads, reached out to her. Epic Reads is a platform designed to connect readers with HarperTeen publisher authors and books. They wanted her to do a Book Look and video commission for the then unpublished book, Imagine Me—the last book in the bestselling Shatter Me series. The video did very well and she was asked to complete more. Thus launched BookLooksbyb on Epic Reads. Since then, Britannia has done dozens of Book Looks on that platform, saying her favorites are ones where she gets to wear wigs: especially this one. Ms. Carranto said she now has almost 5,000 followers on Instagram. You can find her on TikTok Epic Reads, Instagram, and Twitter at @Booklooksbyb.