INTERVIEW: Serena Kerrigan

Interview by Brynn Wallner, photos by Cobey Arner 
MAY 2021 
          Serena Kerrigan is the Queen of Confidence. At age 18, this native New Yorker may or may not have legally changed her middle name to “Fucking” and ran with it. Since then, she’s evolved into the most confident person I’ve ever met and has forged a successful, independent career off of that very essence. She’s the creator of the first-ever IG live reality show, Let’s Fucking Date, and, on top of that, she has her own card game and coaching business. I was lucky enough to speak with her just after her 27th birthday, when she was buzzing off of the energy emanating from that meaningful milestone. To Serena, turning 27 was more than just a birthday. We’ll expand on that later, but, spoiler alert: to commemorate this more-than-a-birthday she couldn’t settle for any regular gift. She went out and bought herself a Rolex. So without further ado, Serena Fucking Kerrigan:

DIMEPIECE: Okay, okay, first. Tell me about the name. Tell me about what it means to be the Queen of Confidence.

SERENA FUCKING KERRIGAN: At 18, I created this persona for myself called Serena Fucking Kerrigan who was larger than life. She made the sidewalk her red carpet, and she was just a bad bitch. I kept channeling her and tapping into her energy and, eventually, I really became the confident person that I am today. I realize that not everyone is going to make their own persona and change their middle name to “Fucking”, but what it really came down to is that it was a dialogue with myself.

DP: How so?

SFK: I was hyping myself up through the name… like, you’re Serena Fucking Kerrigan. I was hyping myself up the way I would a best friend – and I realized that, in order to become confident, it’s about nurturing that same relationship with yourself. How would you speak to your best friend if she was feeling down? If she lost out on a job opportunity? As a confidence coach to 125 women now, I tell them it’s all about the dialogue – to speak to themselves in the mirror with that kind of attention. To acknowledge her, love her, nurture her… all the time.

DP: That’s amazing, I need to try that. Okay, so tell me about the watch.

SFK: I think we should start with my grandmother, my father’s mother. Her name is Grace. She is my everything. She actually grew up on a very, very small island off of Canada but then got a job as a stewardess for Pan Am – so she traveled the world and became so sophisticated and ended up in New York, where she met my grandfather. On their honeymoon, she got a watch… the first Oyster Perpetual watch from Rolex. She gave it to me when I was in high school, but because it’s so old – from the 1960s – it didn’t work. We tried getting the parts replaced, but it just wasn’t happening. I still have the watch... it’s my only family heirloom ever. And for her, it signified how she was an empowered woman who went from living in one of the most isolated places on the planet to traveling the world. To think eventually I was born as a result of that is really touching to me. There was a moment reflecting on that when I was like… someday, I’m going to buy a watch for myself.

DP: Wow, what a wonderful person to be inspired by.

SFK: Definitely. So on top of that, there’s my mother. She’s an immigrant from Argentina. She went to medical school and did her residency as a psychiatrist. Working as a doctor, she decided she wanted to pivot and do something creative – but she was living under a dictatorship. So as soon as she finished her residency, she decided to ditch that and move to the states to go to NYU film school, and that’s where she met my dad. There’s a lot of moving in my family! But something that’s always stuck with me… she told me that, when she turned 27, that’s when she really felt like she knew who she was. She risked it all to go to film school, truly grew into herself, and now she’s now a TV executive.

DP: What a boss.

SFK: Growing up, the main lesson my parents bestowed upon me was this: value time over money. You will spend the majority of your life working, so do something you love and the money will come. I think we spend so much time being unhappy or worried about insignificant things. One of my best friends passed away last month, and I thought about time – he was 24 years old and he ran out of time. Time is something you’ll never get back. Living and being alive is the most precious thing in the world.

DP: I am sorry for your loss, but I can see how that really impacted you – how you absorbed all that life experience and would want something to tangibly represent this concept of time.

SFK: Absolutely. How else to commemorate time than with a watch? It’s very poetic.

DP: So when did you wind up getting the watch? 

SFK: In April, my 27th birthday was approaching. I’d been saving for a while, and I was wondering what I could spend my money on. And it just clicked. I had a couple hours alone in Soho and googled “Rolex”, and I walked into Watches of Switzerland just to browse. The first watch that was presented to me gave me this feeling… like, woah, this feels like my watch. I texted a friend and I was like, what do you think? Is this too extra… with the diamonds? And she was like, yes, that’s so extra. That’s insane for a first watch. What are you thinking? And I was like, you’re right, this is crazy, I’m leaving. And of course, after that, I was like… she was just jealous of my Rolex! You never call a friend about a guy or a watch, apparently [laugs]. So I left and decided to sleep on it. But I’m an Aries – I’m super impulsive and tend to make impulsive purchases… and I kept looking at photos of the watch, and I was like, no. There’s a reason why I’m 27, and I have the money, and I have the free time, and I walked into the store and saw something that immediately spoke to me. There was so much significance to that moment, and I really do believe in destiny… so within the hour, I walked back in and bought the watch.

DP: How does it feel to wear it?

SFK: When I look down at my wrist, I see so many things: I see my grandmother, I see my mother, I see my best friend, I see myself, I see my future, I see who I am. I see the significance of the year 27 and how this birthday felt different. Similar to what happened with my mother, I feel like, for the first time in my life, I know who Serena is. Of course, I’ve always been evolving, but I’ve never felt more secure in myself than at this point in my life. I was taught not to value material things because they’re replaceable (I’m not replacing this watch, though, I’ll tell you that much!). But that being said, this is so much more than a watch. This is a story.

DP: Did you post about it online?

SFK: I had second thoughts about posting it. With the global pandemic, I didn’t want it to come off as tasteless or insensitive. But I want to remind people that this marks such a significant milestone in my life. I quit my low-paying job in February 2020 to start my own company, and since then I’ve launched a TV show, a card game, and a coaching business. I’ve earned the money and earned the right to buy something nice for myself. I was like, fuck yes. I deserve this.

DP: That’s so essential to what I’m trying to do with Dimepiece. By telling stories like yours, I’m aiming to show people that watches are more than just objects, more than just a flex. For women, especially, there’s so much intention and meaning behind our watches.

SFK: Yes, and we’re relatively new to the workplace! Women work and make their own money and they aren’t reliant on anyone else. So for me – buying this for myself was saying, I’m an independent, smart, successful woman who does not need anything but myself and my time.

DP: Fuck yeah.

SFK: Fuck yeah!

DP: When you DM’d me the picture of your watch, I got so excited.

SFK: Yes, I was so excited to show you! Your account was the first time I’d seen watches portrayed in a way that resonated with me. I had always wanted the watch, you know, it’s always been at the back of my mind. And, look, I have expensive bags, shoes… But a watch felt different, like such a bigger purchase. It almost felt too showy, and I was second-guessing myself, like is this okay for me to want? But seeing your content really empowered my decision. I was like, wait, look at all these bad-ass women wearing these watches (that they probably bought for themselves)! Seeing myself within this narrative really reframed how I looked at watches as a whole.

DP: Well, that means the world to me. And I love your Rolex. It captures your essence completely.

SFK: It’s so me. It’s perfect. And it’s a funny thing about my friend who said it was too extra. Like, do you know me? I’m extra! I love the two-tone bracelet – I wear a lot of gold, but didn’t want it to be fully gold. I love the white dial. And the sparkle of the diamonds! That’s SFK. SFK is the sparkle and the diamonds in my life, and Serena is the foundation.

DP: You always gotta have a little sparkle in your life!

SFK: Always.