Quarantine during the coronavirus outbreak is bringing out the creative side in many people, with families taking to social media platforms like TikTok to share videos of how they escape during this distressing time. And intergenerational content is all the rage, as parents and kids capture bonding moments that range from mischievous pranks to choreographed dances and heartfelt connections.
San Jose, Calif. natives Birtu Belete and Gea Carr have put their own spin on family quarantine content by dressing up according to daily #quaranthemes during the state’s coronavirus lockdown. The mother-daughter duo has been posting photos every day since March 23 in costumes inspired by Star Wars, Harry Potter, goth subculture and more, raising the spirits of their friends, family and followers.
While their inspiration originated from perusing a southwest-themed catalogue spread, Belete links their matching outfits to a family custom: “We’ve always been really into themed parties and costumes. We do themed holiday dinners with our extended family and we love to wear matching outfits. Getting dressed up every evening keeps up our morale.”
Their first matching #quarantheme photo was inspired by New Mexico and shows the mother-daughter duo sporting turquoise jewelry with Carr dawning a vintage Ralph Lauren vest and Belete wearing a suede fringe desert jacket.
The mother and daughter were surprised by the positive reactions flooding their Instagram comments section, like “These are adorable outfits.” And What’s tomorrow’s theme?” Their photo even inspired others to dress up themselves: “Sooo cute!! Okay tomorrow I am going to put on a cute outfit,” one follower wrote. “When we posted it on social media, people who we hadn’t heard from in years were commenting saying how much fun it was,” says Carr. “And it kept our mood up too, to see all the comments, so we just kept going and it evolved from there!”
Belete and Carr have had no trouble coming up with their daily #quaranthemes: “We don’t spend too much time deciding on things, we just go with the flow.” Some of their favorite #quarantheme looks include safari, Coachella and Postiano themes, all of which were impeccably captured with the help of Carr’s husband, David Adams.
Nor have they had to scramble for outfits: “Our themes are really organic,” says Belete, who works as a model and is gearing up to start grad school in the fall. “We only use outfits that we already have in the house. I wasn’t planning on being up here for quarantine. I came home from a work trip with a tiny carry-on. So we really just work with costumes we already have.”
They have also been fielding various #quarantheme requests, doing their best to accommodate them all. Many people requested a Grey Gardens #quarantheme, which was particularly fun for them, “especially since we derived our nicknames for each other from Grey Gardens,” Carr explains. “And we do have a lot of cats.”
Belete and Carr never expected to be quarantining together for the duration of California’s lockdown — let alone initiating their #quarantheme series. Carr, who is a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, explains that “as a mom, for me, this is the greatest gift,” having her daughter at home during this challenging time. Belete is also grateful for the opportunity to spend time together, saying that “we’ve always been really close and it reminds us about how fortunate we are to be with people we love during this really hard time.”
When it comes to styling their #quarantheme looks, they try “not to overthink it.” Belete and Carr, who also worked as a model for over 20 years, have extensive experience with hair and makeup. During quarantine, they have been helping each other out, with Carr enjoying doing her daughter’s hair again and Belete touching up her mother’s roots. “We don’t spend more than 10 minutes on our makeup for the photos,” says Carr. Preferring quick and minimal looks, they rely on a couple staples: for Belete, who is vegan and aims to buy only cruelty-free beauty products, her go-to is Kat Von D eyeliner, while Carr is currently fond of her Sebastian Wet sleek look gel.
The positive reactions to their #quarantheme photos have also kept up their morale during this distressing period and uncertainty of California’s lockdown. “Like anyone else, there are days when we don’t want to get out of bed or take a shower,” Belete adds. “People’s comments saying they’re looking forward to our #quarantheme photos each day really brighten our mood.”
Both mother and daughter have been particularly touched by the reactions of their elderly friends in isolation who are active on social media, often commenting how excited they are to see the pair’s new posts every day. They were similarly moved by a comment from one of their cousins, a doctor in San Francisco, who remarked that one of their posts brought her a lot of joy after one of the hardest weeks of her career taking care of patients with COVID-19.
As far as #quarantheme’s popularity, Carr explains its appeal in a nutshell: “Being all dressed up with nowhere to go is so much better than just having nowhere to go.”
For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.