We had the good fortune of connecting with Elena Pineda and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elena, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Back in 1993, I had just graduated high school and college was the “next step”. Although, I was never a star student and school was definitely not for me, I only did one semester and decided, “I shall become a chef!” Food is one of my greatest loves and at the time I had a passion for it, Now, mind you, this was way before The Food Network and Iron Chefs, a 20 yr old female chef in the third world was NOT a good choice! So I became a bartender! And eventually a wedding and event planner! It was like something creative wanted to come out and I just couldn’t figure it out! It wasn’t until 2010 when I visited a Bead and Crystals convention in Oklahoma and I bought $50.00 worth of crystal beads that I realized; THIS! This is what I’ve been searching for! Pretty soon my house was filled with crystal necklaces and headbands that my husband urged me to start a business with it before becoming a bead hoarder! Once you grab a hold of your creative side and are able to unleash it, the ideas start to flow like a river, pretty soon I met a professional photographer that introduced me to the “fashion world”, I signed up for Fashion Week Las Vegas, which turned out to be a huge scam but the scandal that ensued catapulted me and my name into the publication world, prompted me to start my own fashion magazine: Vegas Runway. My event planning background helped me launch Magazine releases with combined interactive fashion shows that helped showcase my statement jewelry and launch the career of many up and coming photographers, make up artists and models. Today I see many of them succeeding in their respective careers and gives me great satisfaction to know that in a small way I opened the doors for them to shine bright.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I specialize in statement pieces, whether it’ll be jewelry, photography concepts or art pieces. Each piece is hand-crafted by me, turning each piece into “one of kind” , there’s no mass production or drop shipping from a factory in China, each piece is as unique as each idea that pops on my mind.
It was not easy to get where I am, I’ve been robbed, swindled out of thousands of dollars, mistreated and worst of all; disappointed by people I called friends. And I’ve learned for example: ” contracts are meaningless if you can’t enforce them” “Never wire transfer money directly, always use a mean like PayPal that can get your money back in case the contract is not fulfilled.
I want the world to know that despite all the disappointments and tragedy, I kept going! And maybe one day, even if I’m not on this earthy plane, people will know how to recognize a Haus of Hellen one of kind piece, I made my corner of the world shine and sparkle very bright.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I made my name and brand in Las Vegas, although I’m currently living in Washington State, In Las Vegas one of my favorite restaurants is Firefly, the food is delicious and served as hor’s doeuvre so you can eat as much or as little as you want! After dinner I would take you to the conservatory at The Bellagio to check their seasonal installation, perfect to take pictures and take as souvenirs. In Seattle, I would take you to the ferry, sail across to Pikes Place where you’ll find plenty of entertainment, food, and tourist attraction’s near by, like the Space Needle.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Helena Lagos, my daughter, who had the entrepreneurial drive of Mark Cuban, she was my muse, my model and my manager during her short pass through this earth. My husband, Kash Christopher, who always supports every crazy idea I have by being my financier. My best friend; Natalia Casco who helped me launch Vegas Runway Magazine. And every single creative that has helped me receive the recognition that I have now; Jessica Resendez (MUA), Michael Bui (Hair Stylist), Claribel Tovar (MUA) , Amber Marie Morsicatto( Body Painter), Scott See(Body Painter), Jose Burrola (Photographer), Mario Ramirez(Photographer), Cindy Hunsucker (Photographer) Ashok BK (Photographer) and the list goes on and on, this is just to name a few.
And special thanks to every single person that once told me NO! All those “no’s” gave me the push to do everything for and by myself.
Event Photography by Ashok BK, Studio photography by Roger Talley, Mario R Ramirez and Jamie Lim All photos were published by Vegas Runway Magazine.