A Largo nail artist found TikTok fame painting ’90s masterpieces

LARGO — On her right hand, Devin Strebler wore epic artificial nails, painted herself, with flirty versions of the Powerpuff Girls. This hand was all business. This hand was Content.

On her left hand, nothing. These nails, she kept short, bare, natural, encased inside a baby pink latex glove. This hand was for creation.

Strebler, 31, clipped an iPhone above her workstation. Part buoyant pop culture maven in pink and white Nikes, part business-savvy striver, she knows every appointment hinges on the perfect shot. She stood a second iPhone upright beside her.


Devin Strebler, 31, specializes in hand painted, gel polish nail art. She opened her salon, Nail Addicts, in Largo, Florida in 2019. [ AYA DIAB | Tampa Bay Times ]

This skilled miniature painter destroys her own work every three weeks. Her canvas, fingernails. Working on the scale of millimeters, with impossibly small brushes, Strebler can recreate almost anything. She paints on gel, acrylic, natural nail or press-on: Hello KittyMcDonald’s chicken nuggetsBeetlejuice, “Hocus Pocus,” “Rugrats.” She paints lifelike portraits of rappers, actors, Danny and Sandy grinning in “Grease,” Macaulay Culkin slapping his cheeks in “Home Alone.” She even reproduced Salvador Dali’s “Woman with a Head of Roses” on a client’s middle finger.


For all this, she has amassed 1.7 million TikTok followers, making her a “mega influencer” in marketing speak. She spends most of her time running Nailz by Dev, her mail-order line of brushes, nail polishes and hand-painted press-on nails.


Theresa Spencer showing off her new set at Nail Addicts nail salon in Largo, Florida. [ AYA DIAB | Tampa Bay Times ]

If that seems wild, remember. This is not just a manicure, it’s a showpiece. It’s art. It’s time. It’s views. Spencer drives from Lakeland for these nails because her hands factor into nearly every video she makes. The women cross-promote each other, hacking further into the algorithm, breeding progress, keeping an empire growing.

Strebler arranged Spencer’s fingers on a sheet of white paper to cut out glare. This was the most important step of all. She snapped photos and videos of her work to share with the world.

Post time: Nov-09-2022