Sara Inés Calderón / Fusion

Danny Trejo was everywhere at the world premiere of “Machete Kills” — on pinkies, thumbs and fingernails of people who participated in a new marketing technique at the event: nail art. Lady Gaga, Jessica Alba and Charlie Sheen also made appearances in the form of water slide nail decals created and applied especially for the premiere of Robert Rodriguez’s latest film. The genius behind it all? Los Angeles-based artist and entrepreneur Ana Guajardo and her company, ChaCha Covers.

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Photo by Sara Inés Calderón

Guajardo, a lifelong artist and entrepreneur, began creating nail decals with Latino and pop culture iconography such as the Virgen de Guadalupe and Frida Kahlo early last year.

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Photo by Sara Inés Calderón

They are easy to apply: Cut them to fit, place them in water to separate the decal from the paper, apply them to a coat of polish, then add a clear top coat to protect the decal from water.

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Photo by Sara Inés Calderón

Guajardo said her combination of artistic nature and entrepreneurial drive ignited in college when she began making iconic Latino light switch plate covers, and sold them wholesale nationwide.

“I saw them in a store with Betty Boop and Elvis Presley and thought, ‘How cool would it be if it were Frida Kahlo?’ And the next thing I knew I was pretty much self-employed off of my light switches, getting into stores and museums,” she told Fusion.

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Photo courtesy Ana Guajardo, ChaCha Covers / Etsy

Fast forward to 2012 after the economic downturn, and Guajardo was in Los Angeles working as a vendor at festivals and events, but no longer wholesaling her switch plates. She was home one night wit her 6-year-old daughter.

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"I told my daughter, ‘Tomorrow we’ll go get some nail polish and let’s do some nail art.’”

Guajardo said while she cuddled with her daughter watching YouTube nail art tutorials, she came across the one that would change her life. In it, a woman illustrated how to make water slide nail decals with a variety of designs.

“When I saw that, I was like, ‘Oh my God, can you imagine?’ My daughter even looked at me and asked what was wrong. It was all instinct; I knew it would work out.”

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Guajardo bought a printer, paper, and began designing the template for the Virgen de Guadalupe nail decals on her computer.

Photo courtesy Ana Guajardo, ChaCha Covers / Etsy

She experimented on herself, until one day she sat staring at the Guadalupe on her thumb and knew that she had struck gold.

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She posted a picture on Facebook. It was the first time she’d ever received more than 100 comments on anything.

“Everybody wanted them. It took up before I could catch up to it, in a way: I didn’t have a name, I didn’t have a logo, I didn’t have proper packaging for it, but I was so excited when I saw it work that I had to share it,” she said.

Four designs later, Guajardo was selling ChaCha Covers on Etsy. Since, she’s developed everything from Morrissey and Tupac to Rocky Horror Picture Show, lucha libre wrestlers, Lotería cards, skulls, even Dodgers and Spurs nail covers. All her materials are made in the USA, she said.

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Photo courtesy Ana Guajardo, ChaCha Covers / Etsy

Tanya Mayeux blogs about nail art on her Tumblr, Bora Lee Nails, and stumbled upon ChaCha Covers when she saw other nail artists using Tupac Shakur covers. She said not only does Guajardo make personalized nail art covers, but there’s something for everyone: musicians, sports teams, the moon, hamburgers.

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“It appeals to the social media lover in us. It appeals to our desire for things to be available instantaneously,” Mayeux said. “For example, during the Trayvon Martin debacle, she was very quick to come out with hoodie decals. The turnaround is amazing.”

Urban Outfitters now sells her products on its website. Her “Jaws” nail covers were also featured on Good Morning America’s “Shark Week” accessories show.

Desiree Guzman is a self-described ChaCha Covers “loyal fan” who first discovered them via social media and immediately ordered the Frida Kahlo decals; she has ordered them frequently since to give away as gifts. In her opinion, Guajardo’s unique selection of designs is what makes her stand out against a growing market of nail art products.

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“Ana offers nail decals for the women that desire to stand out against mainstream and show love to their cultural background and influences. Her selection cannot be compared to nail decals found in big box or chain stores,” Guzman said.

Guajardo credits her artistic instincts, for guiding her to create culturally relevant products, whether it was light switch covers or nail decals.

“Our generation is all sharing a language: I know what Latinos want, I know what’s going to speak to them, and youth, too. It’s such a youthful product.”