GREW UP IN: L.A. NOW LIVES IN: Roscoe Village. AGE: 29. CLAIM TO FAME: Lady Legs (whose real name is Ellegra Chavez, shortened to “Legs” or “Leggy” by almost everyone she knows) is elevating nail design to an art in Chicago. With 11.8k Instagram followers, she creates mini masterpieces on the fingers of social media influencers and more from her intimate Roscoe Village studio. FROM MINIMAL TO OMG: Whether simple or intricate, Legs’s designs are always conversation starters. “It all depends how daring somebody wants to be,” she says. “I’ve done a lot with negative space and geometric patterns, and my regulars love to get ‘mystery manis,’ which I don’t show them until it’s all done.” A KID WITH A VISION: “At an early age, I would mix my own polishes, and when my mom took me to the nail salon I would ask for each of my nails to be a different color or would have them add polka dots,” says Legs. THE COLLEGE YEARS: Legs’s dorm room essentially doubled as a nail salon: “I would barter manicures for food or getting my hair done. I did everyone’s nails for dances and plays and would get in trouble in study hall for doing manicures there.” TAKING THE LEAP: When Legs moved to Chicago after college in Arizona, she put her social work degree to work at a job in an after-school program. But it wasn’t her true calling. “I was sitting at a bar thinking about my future and got complimented on my nails. That’s when Rio, my now-husband, looked at me and told me I should do this as my job.” CREATING VIBES: The “cute little room” that is Legs’s second-story salon is a place to relax and connect. “We always have the Kardashians or Bravo on, and it feels like you’re hanging out at your girlfriend’s house.” FROM NICHE PASSION TO NATIONAL OBSESSION: Nail art is growing in popularity, with more than 48 million hashtags (#nailart) on Instagram. “People are becoming more and more open to it, beyond just for special occasions. It’s an expression,” says Legs, adding that it costs around $70 for a manicure and they usually take no more than an hour-and-a-half. HER LOVE FOR CHICAGO: Legs moved here ready for new adventures and unafraid of polar vortexes. “I love winter. There’s nothing quite like it. There’s a real sense of community here and you’re always meeting someone new. In L.A. I felt like I was running into my kindergarten crush every day.” SPARE TIME, CHILL TIME: Legs likes hanging out at home with Rio and their dog, Bandit. Or, they’re grabbing a burger at Carbon Arc in Lincoln Square or a drink at Waterhouse Tavern & Grill next to her salon in Roscoe Village. SPEAKING OF THAT SALON: The most important thing people should know about what she does every day is that it isn’t scary. Says Legs, “It’s a manicure. Just a better one.”
For a nail art appointment with Lady Legs, book online at itsladylegs.com.
Photo by Lisa Hinsberger