Mireya Serna — The Chicago Based Nail Tech You Need to Know

If you’re obsessed with Instagram and nail art, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with Mireya Serna’s work. With a following of over 33 thousand on social media, Serna’s work has been featured in/on Latina Magazine, as well as a number of Instagram pages dedicated to the best and most unique nail art.

We recently had the pleasure of sitting down for lunch at Miss Ricky’s with the self-proclaimed nail goddess, who lives by the motto “life isn’t perfect but your nails can be”, serves as the ultimate guide on the best nail care, tips and special tricks and dreams of someday doing nails full time.  

I know you were self taught — But did you know that you had a talent from the beginning or even was it something you acquired over time?

It was an overtime thing – I always used to do my own nails. I think it started when I went to a salon and I wanted a flower design and the nail tech was like, “no, I can’t do that, we don’t do that kind of thing here,” and I thought, I’m pretty sure I can just do this myself.


How did you get started?

I saw a picture online, maybe five years ago, and it was the first time I had done my own nails, and I wanted to try a water-marble type thing. So, I looked it up on YouTube and found some tutorials. From there, I tried it myself and it all just continued to spark my interest because it was fun for me!


What do you enjoy most about doing nails?

Okay, I always get this question and I never really think about it because it’s just what I like to do. It’s very therapeutic to me – it’s my getaway. Like, whenever I do my nails that’s the only thing I’m thinking about. I also always have ideas and am trying to do something new – I just enjoy doing it.


What inspires your designs?

I’m inspired by everything! I’ll see a printed top with pretty colors in it or something with a great color scheme and I’ll just want to recreate it. So, you could say I’m always very inspired.


Are you currently working at a salon?

Not right now. My job right now actually has nothing to do with nails.


What types of polishes do you use?
Everything! I recently started using Salon Perfect. It’s a lower end nail polish that they sell at Wal-mart, but they have so many colors and are always coming out with new things with the new seasons. I also really like China Glaze and Sally Hansen.


How did you market yourself and become so well-known for doing nails?

It literally happened overnight. I posted my nails that I did for fun [it was a leopard print pattern] and a big nail-based account on Instagram shared my photo. After they shared it, my account just started blowing up. It gave me a lot of new followers and I got a lot of positive feedback because of it.


If you could chose one famous person to do nails for who would it be?

Bethany Mota. Her style is super cute  and she occasionally will share her own nail art on Instagram and it’s similar to what I like to do.


What kind of design would you do on her?

Something with food. I would make it super cute and add lots of glitter!


What tools do you use the most when you’re doing nails?

The dotting tool, a sponge, and a very small brush.


Where do you tend to get your supplies?

I first started getting them from Sally’s Beauty Supply, but after I started getting more and more interested, I noticed a lot of online stores so I started getting my supplies through them. There’s a couple of China based stores too that I really like.


Are there any “unique” aspects of your personal nail routine that other professionals aren’t privy to?

I watch a lot of tutorials where they say, “this is the way you do it,” and sometimes those don’t work for me. So, basically I’m always finding new ways and doing what works best for me.


Have you ever considered making a YouTube page or a blog about your nails?

Yeah, I actually already created the YouTube account – I’ve had it for like a year. I bought all the equipment and was like, “alright, I’m going to do this,” and I tried to record things and I kept running into all these problems so I haven’t tried again, but eventually I would like to.


What are some of the most important aspects of nail care?

The most important is cuticle cream around your cuticles and fingers. It’s great at moisturizing and it helps your nails grow stronger and faster.


What are your favorite colors right now for the summer season?

I’m very into pink. I love hot pink. I think it’s a color I try to get away from because I always use it.


How did it feel to be published in Latina Magazine?

It was super exciting because I remember growing up and reading that magazine and staring that the nails and wishing to see myself in that magazine, ya know? To actually see myself in it was very surreal.


What’s one color or design you wish more people would embrace on their nails?

I think something that would work for everyone’s nails is leopard print. It works year round, anyone can rock it and it’s a classic design. It’s so nice and super cute and it literally works for everyone, even if it’s just an accented leopard print nail.


What are your tips for those who are inspired by you and want to also get into nails?

My number one tip is don’t give up if you look at a picture of nail designs that I did three years ago, you’ll laugh. At the time I thought it was great but if you look at a picture from now and then, I’ve definitely improved a lot with my designs and technique. If doing nails is your passion, you will too.


If someone’s reading this interview and decide they want to get their nails done, how could they book with you?

Normally just by text. I don’t have anything fancy, but I have my email listed on my Instagram. Also, if I know someone personally, and they don’t have it already, I’ll give them my number.


Out of what space do you do nails?

At home, in my room. I have a separate, little area where I work. I have all my nail polish displayed and organized by color.


How does it feel to be well-known in your industry?

It’s cool and very exciting. It’s still so weird to me when I think about more than 30 thousand people following me on Instagram – I can’t even imagine seeing that many people!


What can we expect from you next?

I would love to make this a full time job and dedicate my time to it. That’s what I’m working up to because I love doing nails and would love to make a career out of it.