Thania Martinez ’21 Creates Vibrant Makeup Looks Influenced by Diverse Subcultures

For a recent Instagram post, Thania Martinez ’21 used thick eyeliner to illustrate an intricate pattern of a butterfly and a bee around her eyes. They are accentuated by long neon pink lashes and pink and purple tint on her lips, nose, and cheeks. This gothic glow look belongs to Martinez’s makeup-specific Instagram account @bythaniaa, which she started this summer. 

Martinez’s interest in makeup began her Junior year after playing around with her older sister’s eyeshadow palettes and makeup tools. Reflecting on the challenges in her makeup journey, Martinez expresses that eye makeup and design remain the hardest parts of the process because of the use of negative space. Despite this, eyeliner still remains one of her favorite aspects of makeup.

“I just love anything that accentuates my eyes. That’s what I learned from makeup. I love anything that changes the shape of my eye. I love how the makeup pulls it out. And that’s why I love lashes too—they flare up,” said Martinez.

Hannah Agwunobi ’21, one of Martinez’ friends, is impressed by the intricacy of her work.

“My favorite one of her looks is the neon bat wing liner she did on July 25. I love it because it’s the first time I saw her explore that kind of really detailed line work, and ever since then I’ve seen her get so much more confident with it. The butterfly look she just posted is really proof of how far she’s come with those kinds of looks and how talented she is,” said Agwunobi.

After starting @bythaniaa this summer to have an archive to show her makeup progression, Martinez’s feed has consisted of looks ranging from a strawberry banana look to a complicated poison ivy pattern. In her colorful collection of photos, Martinez takes inspiration from several genres of artists on Instagram.

“I discovered all these influences and subcultures where the influencers take inspiration from queer subcultures. Imagining that type of art on my face gives me a sense of [gratification]. I just love taking all those different inspirations from Black artists, Indigenous artists, etc. and seeing [those looks] on myself,” said Martinez.

Agwunobi believes that Martinez has acclimated well to the Instagram environment and truly allows her talent to shine on the platform.

“[Martinez] has always been really talented, but if you scroll from the bottom of her Instagram feed up, you can really see the difference between the first few looks she posted and the [most recent]. She began to use more of her face as a canvas for her looks, showcasing a lot more of her skills and rendering pieces that are genuinely super beautiful,” said Agwunobi.

Martinez loves to buy from smaller, indie brands such as Glam Vice cosmetics and Melolops, a group of three Puerto Rican based makeup artists. One product that Martinez has bought is neon “radioactive” pigment that glows under UV light.

“I love doing a specifically graphic liner and creating intricate [patterns] on your face. [Makeup] teaches you to get up close and personal with your face, and it also taught me how to appreciate my face with and without makeup on,” said Martinez.