The Sopranos manicurist Maria Salandra reveals the secrets behind show

As 2024 marks the 25th anniversary of the beloved HBO drama The Sopranos, many women have been celebrating by bringing the ‘mob wife’ aesthetic back.

Women have been busting out their vintage fur coats, animal prints and tennis necklaces to pair with teased hair and frosted eyeshadow, much of it inspired by Carmela Soprano (played by Edie Falco), who is married to mob boss Tony (played by the late James Gandolfini).

But perhaps the most important part of the mob wife aesthetic is a good set of French nails – and FEMAIL has spoken to Maria Salandra, the manicurist behind The Sopranos, to get all the best tips – literally.

The New Jersey native is the one responsible for perfecting Carmela’s pink French tips and Adriana La Cerva’s rounded red claws, as the nail tech on set from day one, when the show first began airing in 1999.

the sopranos manicurist maria salandra reveals the secrets behind show

Salandra is the one responsible for perfecting Carmela’s pink French tips and worked on all six seasons on the show

the sopranos manicurist maria salandra reveals the secrets behind show

‘The thing is, in Jersey, it’s a really small world,’ she told DailyMail.com. ‘We all know each other.’

She explained that right before The Sopranos, she was doing nails in her salon in New Jersey.

‘When The Sopranos was starting, the show’s head of makeup called me to do the cast’s nails – we actually knew each other from high school,’ Salandra explained.

‘From there, the rest was history.’

The show ran for six seasons, and Salandra stayed on for all of them, manicuring each character until 2007.

Some characters, like Dr. Jennifer Melfi (played by Lorraine Bracco), had their nails painted by her, while others, like Carmela and Adriana (played by Drea de Matteo), had press-ons she made.

The nail artist would stay up until 1 a.m. creating the press-ons for the characters, which she recently revealed in an Instagram post.

the sopranos manicurist maria salandra reveals the secrets behind show

Salandra was the one responsible for painting character Adriana La Cerva’s long red claws

the sopranos manicurist maria salandra reveals the secrets behind show

‘In Jersey it’s a really small world,’ Salandra told DailyMail.com. ‘We all know each other’

the sopranos manicurist maria salandra reveals the secrets behind show

While many of the characters wore press ons that were hand painted by Salandra, others had their nails painted, like Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco)

the sopranos manicurist maria salandra reveals the secrets behind show

Salandra attended high school with the show’s head of makeup, who was the one who initially called her up for the gig

the sopranos manicurist maria salandra reveals the secrets behind show

Sometimes, Salandra would stay up in her nail salon until one o’clock in the morning, hand painting each of the press-on nail sets

Salandra would make 10 to 15 sets of press-ons for each design, including for the strippers at the fictional Bada Bing! club on the show.

She revealed that when doing Carmela’s nails she opted for a pink and white, because it was popular with her housewife clients at the time.

And when Falco was done filming, Salandra would take off the press-ons since the actress didn’t want to have long nails all the time.

For Adriana, the manicurist would switch things up, straying away from a typical French.

Salandra would use the deep wine-colored Malaga Wine by OPI, but also had fun creating bold nail art.

‘For [Adriana], I did lots of airbrushed nail art, rhinestones, hand-painted designs like the Louis Vuitton logo, and once I even cut up real dollar bills to make custom nail decals,’ Salandra said.

For example, one of Adriana’s famous nail looks included sparkly teal nail polish with zebra-patterned tips and colorful rhinestones.

the sopranos manicurist maria salandra reveals the secrets behind show

For Adriana’s nails, Salandra would often mix it up from the red and had fun creating bold nail art, like the zebra-tipped ones above

the sopranos manicurist maria salandra reveals the secrets behind show

‘I did lots of airbrushed nail art, rhinestones, hand-painted designs like the Louis Vuitton logo, and once I even cut up real dollar bills to make custom nail decals,’ Salandra said

the sopranos manicurist maria salandra reveals the secrets behind show

Salandra would make 10 to 15 sets of press-ons per design for the show, where she was the manicurist for all six of the seasons

the sopranos manicurist maria salandra reveals the secrets behind show

Salandra was the manicurist on set for every single character, including the strippers who worked at the fictional strip club Bada Bing!

‘But with either style, you need the long, curved nail,’ she noted. ‘That part is key.’

And for those who are looking to emulate their own ‘mob wife’ manicure, Salandra said you can never go wrong with the French tip.

‘For me, the “mob wife” manicure is the classic pink-and-white acrylic,’ she revealed.

‘You have to ask for a long, curved nail with a square tip,’ she continued. ‘Without that nail shape, the mob wife manicure would not be the same.’

Even though Salandra’s work on the show is now 25 years old, the looks have clearly stood the test of time as the mob wife aesthetic is back in full force – and she’s definitely here for it.

‘I absolutely love seeing the girls embrace the “mob wife” style,’ Salandra said.

‘They’re really doing a great job nailing the look, from the big fur coats and bold makeup to the “Carmela” French tips.’

The celebrity nail artist even noted that she’d had an ‘influx of new clients’ to her salon in Cliffside Park since the trend came back, some from out-of-state who asked her for Sopranos-style nails.

the sopranos manicurist maria salandra reveals the secrets behind show

‘For me, the

the sopranos manicurist maria salandra reveals the secrets behind show

When getting that ‘mob wife’ inspired manicure, Salandra said it was incredibly important to have a long and curved nail

the sopranos manicurist maria salandra reveals the secrets behind show

Salandra said that she had seen an influx of clients from out-of-state to her New Jersey salon, many of whom were coming in for the ‘Carmela’ nails

the sopranos manicurist maria salandra reveals the secrets behind show

Salandra now has a roster of celebrity clients, like Rihanna, whose nails she did for the 2017 Met Gala

the sopranos manicurist maria salandra reveals the secrets behind show

Salandra now has a roster of celebrity clients, like Rihanna, whose nails she did for the 2017 Met Gala

Salandra now has a list of celebrity regulars like Rihanna, Kylie Jenner and Anne Hathaway who adore her creations.

‘The “mob wife” aesthetic is all about being bold, glamorous and fierce,’ Salandra spilled.

‘Mind you that the “aesthetic” is a lot different than being a real-life mob wife – but it’s the best part.

‘I knew those women growing up! Always big hair, lots of makeup, dripping in jewelry – especially gold – fur coats, and, of course, a hot manicure.’

Read more

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