Model, entrepreneur, and vanguard as a leading force in a traditionally male dominated industry
Mary Catherine Mikula tells all on her fashion inspiration, date night looks, and creating romance at Salinas
Mary Catherine began her modeling career at a young age, after being discovered at her senior prom by IMG. This discovery lead her to move to New York City from her native home of Knoxville, Tennessee. As her modeling career launched, she traveled the globe as the face of a series of campaigns for J Crew. As fate would have it, while on set, Mary Catherine met her now husband Donald Mikula, a celebrity hair stylist for over 25 years. Donald and Mary Catherine spent their courtship traveling through Spain exploring their love for great food and wine, and they quickly fell in love.
After moving back to New York, they found themselves wanting to share their love of creating a romantic atmosphere while entertaining their favorite guests at home, and they decided to open a restaurant, Salinas. Salinas is an extension of their love of Spain, Spanish cuisine, wine, and entertaining. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we had a chance to sit down with Mary Catherine to learn what inspires her for date nights, her personal style and the secrets behind creating romance at Salinas.
What must have items do you think every woman needs in her closet?
I always have a well tailored little black dress that can be worn year round, black 4-5 inch leather heels in a classic style that are well made, and a great pair of jeans that accentuate your body but are still comfortable.
What inspires your personal style?
New York City always inspires my style! It’s the fashion, the food, and multicultural stylings of the city that is an ongoing inspiration to my personal style.
Who is your personal female icon and why?
My mom! She is the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful person I have ever known. She always inspires me to be a better person. In the fashion sense, she always taught me never leave the house without looking your best. “You just never know what might happen.”
What is your go-to date night look?
I have two go-to looks, one for winter and one for summer. If it's winter, a great cashmere sweater, form fitting black leather pants, and knee high boots. If it's summer a long flowy dress with a gold sandal. And no matter what the season always big gold hoop earrings to finish the look.
How did you put the romance into Salinas?
It's a combination of elements that make Salinas so romantic. I research the marketplace for the best Ecuadorian roses and create a new playlist everyday for the restaurant.
The ambience begins with the flowers, they are unique with huge blooms and lovely aromatics. We set the perfect mood with amber candle lights that are dim, soft, and sexy. And finally the seating, it's luxurious and comfy, it makes you feel right at home. These three elements are the key to Salinas feeling romantic, comfortable, and sexy all at the same time.
Ecuadorian Roses at Salinas