Elie Spot is a name well-known in the fashion world of SL. The co-owner of Mon Tissu and Celoe, now both on their dedicated and stylish region of Mayfair, she’s also the subject of episode 9 of The Drax Files.
Involved in Second Life since 2006, Elie is very much an example of the way in which the physical and the virtual can blur together and complement one another. Given her father designed games and her mother is a graphics artist, it is perhaps not surprising that Elie herself is a designer in the digital domain. But to leave things here would be to miss out on the most interesting part of her story.
Having joined SL at nineteen as a means to escape a very hectic daily routine, she has not only established two successful brands in-world, she’s found the additional skills and understandings she’s gained through running those businesses have helped to enable her to take-up business opportunities in real life, such as with Cake & Whiskey, which she co-founded in Spring 2013, following-on from the creation of Offbeat and Inspired in 2012.
As one might expect from both a content creator and long-term resident of Second Life, Elie has an understanding of the nuances of the platform, and the reasons people find it so attractive and appealing. The ability to create almost anything you want, for example, or to be able to create and build a business or brand, to share with others in a myriad of ways, and the opportunities for escape and to be whomever or whatever you want.
In discussing this and Second Life, Elie touches on one of the stigmas attached to Second Life from the world at large.
“It’s just a very common misconception that if a person sits down at a computer and starts talking to other people online that they’re hiding, or that they don’t have social skills.” she says. “I mean to take a personality type and look down on it like that and to project that on an entire culture of people? It’s just a little bit strange.”
It’s what I’ve been known to refer to as the “Star Trek syndrome”: the views that people involved in Second Life and platforms like it need to somehow “get a life”. Sad to say, the attitude isn’t necessarily restricted to people on the outside looking into Second Life; there are a lot of examples of people engaged in the platform taking a stance of perceived moral / social / intellectual superiority over others, simply based on how those others like to portray themselves within SL, even though in doing so they do not impinge upon the lifestyles or in-world activities of those looking down on them.
That people do is really a shame, because Second Life can be liberating, and allows us all to reach past barriers and inhibitions defined by circumstance and / or society, and enjoy a freedom of personal expression and freedom of interaction with others from around the globe whose interests overlap with our own. The fact that some people are unable to accept others purely on the basis of how they seek to express themselves through their in-world appearance, perhaps speaks more to the prejudices of those unable to give acceptance, and to their own limitations of imagination and creativity.
Elie’s insights aren’t restricted to the unfortunate habit of stereotyping SL users, however. She is, first and foremost a very successful businesswoman in Second Life, and as such has some very clear and practical advice to give to those wishing to start-up a business of their own, as well as touching (again) on the wealth of opportunities presented in SL for doing to and the freedoms one can experience which are in may respects unique to the platform.
This is another excellent insight into Second Life and the broad potential of the virtual medium. Elie’s narrative is both clear and direct, but also carries a warm passion for the platform which is a joy to listen to, marking this as yet another outstanding piece in what is already an outstanding series.