Located in Cliffside, N.J., Finger Fitness is home to a manicurist who is a celebrity in her own right: Maria Salandra. This talented and sought-after artist has been a nail technician for 12 years and her roster of clients includes such well-known names as Demi Moore, Howard Stern, Sandra Bullock, and Angelina Jolie, just to name a few.

When Salandra first entered the field, she wasn’t looking for anything more than a paycheck and flexible hours. She simply wanted a means to support her first love: singing and song writing. She began working with celebrities thanks to one of her nail clients, a top hairdresser who worked on movie sets. The client asked if she wanted to come to the set to do a couple of manicures and that, as they say, is all she wrote.

Salandra did this coordinating Louis Vuitton design as part of an Allure fashion spread.

Salandra did this coordinating Louis Vuitton design as part of an Allure fashion spread. 

Lately, it’s been television work, rather than films, filling her appointment book. She works on the HBO show “The Sopranos,” which is filmed in New Jersey, where she tends to the nails of cast members Edie Falco and Drea de Matteo. Falco, who loves to garden, prefers a more natural look than her character, and opts for press-on nails, says Salandra. She also works on the HBO series “Sex and the City,” giving the Manhattanites short, squoval-shaped natural nails as opposed to “the long, square, loud glitter New Jersey nail.”

Salandra’s notoriety for her detailed artwork has given her the opportunity to do editorial and makeup work for such magazines as Allure and Glamour. Being the pedicure consultant for Dr. Scholl’s and the east coast artistic director for Fing’rs also keeps this nail technician very busy. With Salandra’s input, Fing’rs has developed a press-on nail that looks like her signature pink-and-white sculptured nails.

Although being a part of the nail industry has been rewarding for Salandra and brought her much success, she has not forgotten about her first love. Salandra, along with three of her friends, has written a musical set to debut off-Broadway next year. At presstime, Salandra was waiting for a phone call to see if she will be working on an upcoming movie in London with Minnie Driver.


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