Contouring to social media fame



DBHS 2011 alumna Brittany Barragan became a professional makeup artist and social media success after taking a year off college to pursue her interests.

Cindy Liu , Staff Writer

With almost 700,000 followers, the “contour queen” of Instagram, Diamond Bar High School alumna Brittany Barragan, is living her dream career in the beauty industry.

“Being a makeup artist is an amazing occupation,” Barragan said via email. “It’s not even work. Every day, I get to glam individuals and make them not only feel more beautiful on the inside but enhance their own natural beauty.”

With her growing fame in the beauty industry, working as a makeup artist is a full time job for Barragan. Everyday, Barragan visits her makeup studio in Irvine to take photos and record videos of herself using various makeup products. She then works on clients and maintains her online business, BrittanyBearMakeup, where people can buy her online makeup tutorials.

In addition to her online makeup classes, she currently sells her lashes, Lilly Lashes, with beauty celebrity Lilly Ghalichi as well as her own nail line in collaboration with nail company Nailhur. Recently, she also released contouring kits and brushes on her website.

“I mostly created a business that runs itself,” Barragan said. “I believe people don’t understand how big and thriving this career path is. Many think a makeup artist only does makeup on clients and probably charges anywhere from $40 to $50, but in today’s day and age, your average appointment goes from $250 to $1,000 a session.”

Her fame on Instagram grows by around 1,000 to 2,000 followers every day, according to Barragan. Companies pay her well for her to feature sponsored Instagram posts with their products, due to her mass number of followers. Partly, she attributes her popularity to her skills at contouring, especially nose contouring, which earned her the name of the “contour queen.”

“I think it’s pretty amazing to have so many people support me and my passion for makeup. My style of glam is transformation and people love to see me transform my clients.” Barragan said. “My social media accounts have 100% to do with why I am doing what I love [and it] has given me the platform to reach individuals all around the world and to share my passion.”

Although Barragan had great success and fame after graduating in 2011, her time in DBHS was anything but easy.

“High school was a rough time for me. I felt like I was bullied a lot and had a hard time fitting in,” Barragan said. “[DBHS] is such a great academic school that if I didn’t share the same AP classes as another student, they judged me and looked down upon me. Overall, my highlight was graduation [and] just being able to say I was done with trying to be and act like someone I was not. I just knew that my passion was what was yet to come after high school.”

After DBHS, Barragan went to Mt. SAC  for two years where she studied broadcast and journalism. She was about to start an internship at KISS- FM when she had a “sudden change of heart.” With approval from her parents, she took a year off of college to pursue makeup with the promise to return to her studies if it didn’t work out. However, with a steadily rising career on the way, she hasn’t looked back.

Barragan’s interest in makeup started in eighth grade, where she experimented with using mascara and lip liner. Later in high school, she did her friends’ makeup for prom, homecoming and other events.

In the years leading up to her growing career as a makeup artist, she was mostly self taught, having only taken a few makeup classes. Instead, she relied on YouTube and personal experience with makeup for her expertise with beauty products.

“Everything about my work is amazing. I can’t express how it feels to not have any responsibilities other than to do what I love everyday,” Barragan said.” There is no stress that comes with being a makeup artist; it’s just a way I can express my skills. [It’s] like art. My clients are my canvas, allowing me to make them feel and look amazing.”

Barragan had the chance to work on several celebrities, including Christina Milian and  Natalie Eva Marie. She also worked with prominent companies such as Capitol Records, VH1 and beauty companies Kylie Cosmetics and Morphe brushes.

“Being in the public eye is always going to have its pros and cons,” Barragan said. “I am constantly being judged for every little thing I do. Although I love my job, it definitely gets hard on days where no one has anything nice to say. However, being confident in my own skin and being able to inspire women and men all around to follow their dreams is what keeps me motivated.”

Barragan advises high school students to follow their hearts rather than be constricted by school and insecurities.

“It’s better to wake up every morning loving the job and career path you choose [rather] than to be unhappy,” Barragan said. “I never chose being a makeup artist for the money. I chose it because to me it’s where I am most happy.”