SMC Interview: Elena Strikes!

Since this is being posted on a Wednesday, you may have thought this was going to be a Gwensday feature? We have something even better! We continue on with our weekly feature cosplay interview with the lovely and super talented Elena Strikes. We’ve featured Elena before on the site, but felt it was time to dive a bit deeper into what she is all about. Read up on what she has to say below, and while you do that make sure you’re playing close attention to the awesome cosplay photos that accompany this article. Such epic shots. Which one is your favorite?

Cosplayer: Elena Strikes
Links: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

SMC: Why did you start cosplaying?
I kinda stumbled into cosplay by accident. I would say it started in high school, my Commercial Arts class had a fashion show segment and my senior year our theme was costumes from Movies and TV Shows. Right around the time we were all deciding on what costume we were going to make, I had watched Star Wars for the first time. I fell in love with Padme Amidala’s rainbow lake gown from Attack of the Clones and knew I had to make it. I had very little sewing experience let alone the craftsmanship that was required for that costume, but I was very determined. This was an extremely challenging costume, lots of tears and sleepless nights, but I finished it to the best of my ability and I was extremely proud of it. The day of the fashion show, I became a completely different person, I wasn’t this shy introvert anymore, I was Padme Amidala, the badass queen turned senator of Naboo. I was surprised by this transformation, and I absolutely I loved it. I then learned about cosplay when I came across Hendo Art’s Instagram page. I had been to cons before and seen people dress up but I didn’t realize that this was an actual industry. I knew I really wanted to try this lifestyle out, so I finally started my Instagram in the Fall of 2017. I didn’t really get serious till this past fall of 2018, but the reason I do cosplay stays the same. Cosplay is an opportunity to become someone else for a day, to live out our childhood fantasies for a few hours. We deal with so many factors in our daily lives that can be so stressful, so sometimes we just need to throw on a Stormtrooper costume and become an agent for the galactic empire.

SMC: What was the first convention you attended in cosplay?
The first con I went to in cosplay was NYCC 2017, I made a Little Sister costume from Bioshock 2.

Elena Strikes
Photo by: John Kim @candidjohnkim

SMC: What has been your most memorable convention moment?
It’s really hard to pinpoint one particular moment because I’ve gone to so many cons this past year and have had such an amazing time at most of them, but I think the one time I really felt like the coolest freaking person in the room was when I rode around on my friends screen-accurate R2D2 droid as Princess Leia. I was at Heroes and Villains Fan Fest NJ and he said to me “Hey do you want to hop on R2 for a ride?” and I, of course, was like “heck yeah I do!” so I was piggy-back riding R2 throughout the con floor and just hearing people saying “omg that’s so cool!” and whipping their phone out to film me and even getting the attention of some of the celebrities made me feel like a superstar.

SMC: What is your favorite thing about cosplaying at a convention?
I think to put it simply; you kinda feel like a star, when people come up and compliment you and ask for a photo, you feel pretty cool, and I would equate that to feeling a bit like a celebrity. I can’t deny that I love getting attention, because I put a lot of work and money into my costumes and it’s really reassuring when people acknowledge it.

Elena Strikes
Photo by: Alex Vigna @alextakespicturestoo

SMC: Where can fans expect to see you next?
East Coast Comic Con, Cradle Con, Yeti Con, Garden State Comic Fest are some!

SMC: What cosplayers inspire you?
A lot of the friends I’ve made so far in the community have really inspired me in many different ways. The cosplay community has given us an amazing platform to empower one another. To be more specific, Hendo Art has definitely been my biggest inspiration, I probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her. Babs Butcher, who’s a dear friend and so incredibly talented. JediManda, who is an outstanding seamstress. There are so many others I could go on forever!

SMC: Which is your favorite cosplay you have created?
A cosplay that will forever have a special place in my heart is Princess Leia from A New Hope.

SMC:What cosplay are you best known for?
 I think most people will say Spider-Gwen.

Elena Strikes
Photo by: John Kim @candidjohnkim

SMC: If money was no object, what would be your dream cosplay creation?
I think about this a lot actually. I think a fully functioning Boba Fett cosplay, lights, sounds, smoke, I want it all!

SMC: Do you have any new cosplays in the works?
Like any cosplay I have an enormous list, currently I’m working on Princess Allura from Voltron, a secret Boba Fett mashup, and Gwenom!

Elena Strikes
Photo by: Kevin Abato @grenex_r2

SMC: What are your cosplay strengths?
Would super in-depth research count? I’ve spent 3 months researching a costume once before actually starting it.

SMC: What’s one thing you wish you knew about cosplaying before you got started?
How addicting it is and how much money I’d be investing!

SMC: Any advice for people interested in cosplaying for the first time?
Remember to not be too hard on yourself (I’m guilty of this constantly). Even if you know how to sew or make stuff, cosplays are like reinventing the wheel sometimes because there aren’t commercial patterns or “how to’s”. Don’t let other people dictate or influence what you want to do. Stay true to what you enjoy and what makes you happy. It’s very easy to fall into this tendency to please others, remember cosplay should be fun and enjoyable for you.

Elena Strikes
Photo by: Sean Hale @halecosplayphotography

SMC: What do you do in the real world for a job?
I’m currently in school for Studio Arts with a minor in Graphic Design, but at the moment I’m an Office Manager at a DJ Company (no I don’t know how to DJ)

SMC: What is something your fans may not know about you? Other hobbies?
I think the one thing people wouldn’t expect is that I’m a pretty outdoors-y girl. I grew up in Northern New Jersey riding dirt bikes, fishing, and bush whacking in the woods for hours. I’m also an award-winning artist, I’ve been exhibiting and selling artwork since I was 8 years old.

SMC: What part of “geekdom” is you favorite avenue of entertainment (i.e. comics, movies, video games, anime, etc?).
This is hard! Especially when talking about Star Wars, I love all the content that is offered in all the various forms, but I think I have to say movies. It’s probably one of the most immersive experiences, and when it’s at a movie theater, it can be a huge event where you go on an opening night with friends and it’s super special.

Elena Strikes
Photos by: Alex Vigna @alextakespicturestoo

SMC: What Comic Books are you currently addicted to?
Star Wars! It’s the only comics I can kind of keep up with. I’d love to read a bunch of Marvel runs but I don’t have the time or money, and it adds up!

SMC: Any favorite TV shows, movies or cartoons?
This is a very hard question for someone so embedded in the geekdom. Anything Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Alien, Jurassic Park, Marvel, I have too many I love them all.

SMC: What is your gaming system of choice?

SMC: What are you currently playing / upcoming video game releases?
I am currently playing Anthem, Battlefront 2, and Assassin’s Creed Origins (I’m behind, I want to get Odyssey too!)

Elena Strikes
Photo by: John Kim @candidjohnkim

Did you enjoy this post? Let us know which shot was your favourite and also what other cosplayers would you like to see us feature in an upcoming post. Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Want your cosplay featured on Contact us. Check out our Submissions page, email us or DM on Social Media.

We appreciate your support, please visit our Support Us page to find out how you can help. Every bit helps.

As well check out our subreddit. A great place to post your newest cosplay creation!

Photo by: Marlon David @mdavidphotography