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The FHQ

Elena Strikes

What city are you based in?

Northern New Jersey

Tell us a bit about yourself! 

I started cosplaying 4 years ago when I was a sophomore in college, what started as just a hobby has pretty much consumed my life! Things really kicked off for me more seriously when I was featured on the cover of Marvel's Gwenpool Strikes Back comic, Issue #5. I gained a lot of new followers and met lots of new people in the community/industry. I am also part of a non-profit organization so I get to enjoy costuming in a charitable way. In my muggle life, I am a graphic designer for a publishing company.

What fandoms are you into?

My first love as a child was Lord of the Rings, in middle school the MCU had just formed and was hooked immediately, and in high school I discovered Star Wars! I have plenty of other obsessions, and since the start of the pandemic I've binge-watched a looooot of other series/movies/shows. I just love sampling a little bit of everything in this great nerdy world.

Can you tell us about your first cosplay?

My first cosplay was Little Sister from Bioshock 2. I made it for NYCC and I was excited to cosplay at a con for the first time. The experience was slightly disappointing because not a lot of people knew who I was supposed to be but it didn't stop me, I made a Princess Leia costume a month later and that's the one that really got my cosplay career going.

Do you have a cosplay piece that you are most proud of?

I've made a handful of technically-challenging costumes but my latest is definitely one I'm proud of! I made a huttslayer bikini mashup of Leia's A New Hope white dress from scratch. I made it in like, a week in preparation for Star Wars Celebration this past month.

What do you hope to achieve through cosplay?

As an artist I've always had a hard time finding a creative outlet that I genuinely enjoyed, and I found it with cosplay. I love that I can use my platform to showcase my creativity as well as relate to other people in the community. I've had open conversations about personal body image, dealing with online hate, and much more. The cosplay community is still a bit like the wild west so it's important to have difficult conversations to help everyone feel included and seen.

If you could give any piece of advice to new cosplayers, what would it be?

Cosplay is for anyone and everyone! Cosplay is cosplay whether you made it or you bought it. The key is to do what you want to do, not what others tell you. It's easy to feel influenced, but don't lose yourself to appease others. If you want to be a professional cosplayer, be prepared to spend a lot of money and time, it's almost like a full-time job in itself!