Listen to the audio of this article here: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-msb3v-ead5f7

Hello and welcome to Week 17 of the Wise Not Withered Character Showcase! This week I’m excited to present Elizaveta (Liza), our 64-year-old Pop Star CEO! This character’s story was written by a Russian writer, and so she herself is Russian as well. The illustrator I originally had do the drawings of Elizaveta unfortunately disappeared, so we will have to use our imaginations until I find a new illustrator.

It was important to me to have a pop star in the Wise not Withered project: not only a woman who is still going strong in her career, but also a woman who has climbed the ranks and risen to the top and now owns the company and runs the entire business. The writer for this character, Anna, did such a fantastic job of adding in details about Elizaveta’s daily life that I definitely could not have come up with on my own.

I found Anna on Instagram while searching with a hashtag that was something along the lines of “kpop writer” or “kpop blogger”. When I was searching for the writer for this story, I wanted that woman to have a solid background and interest in the music industry, so she could write a convincing story. I was immediately drawn to Anna’s page, with posts promoting self-love and a generally warm and positive vibe.

Anna’s story that she wrote for Elizaveta, titled “The Woman With Wings”, is not just about her life as a performer and businesswoman; there are also strong themes of reconnection and second chances. In the beginning of the story, Liza advises a newcomer artist that she must work together with her bandmates rather than steal the show herself. After this pep talk, Liza reflects on her younger days as a band leader and realizes that she did exactly what she was advising the younger singer not to do. She then tries to reconnect with her former bandmates, showing that it’s never to late to learn from and make amends for your mistakes, even if it takes decades to realize them.

The second half of the story focuses on Liza’s performance at a special commemorative anniversary concert where she met a man who was at the time the love of her life. Family disapproval (basically racism) led to the couple’s breakup, and Liza is hopeful that her old flame will show up at this special concert.

In addition to being a strong authority figure and business owner, Elizaveta’s close relationships to her sister and niece are also shown in the story, where Anna wrote about Liza going to get a custom dress made for her performance. In all of the Wise Not Withered stories, it was important for each character to be well-rounded, not only in personality but also in lifestyle and relationships. In a society where women’s romantic relationships seem to take priority over relationships with themselves and others, it was really important for me to build a solid community around each character.

I think that romance is exciting to read about because it’s unpredictable, and you’re really never sure exactly what’s going to happen. That air of mystery is very enticing and thrilling to read and experience. But it’s not a sustainable source of love and happiness, and real, true love and friendship comes from a place of solidity and there actually isn’t all that much mystery on a day-to-day basis. There’s a level of dependence and trust that replaces the uncertainty, and while there are still conflicts, it is such a beautiful thing to have deep, loving bonds with people.

Elizaveta’s story does include some romance, though just like the others that do, it is not the primary focus. The story is called “The Woman With Wings” because that’s the name of her new song, but it also represents Elizaveta as a character and a person. She chooses to not be tied down by the mistakes of her past, and chooses to learn from her experiences and grow.

When I find the illustrator for Elizaveta, I want to make sure she has GLASSES! Aside from my regret of not having enough LGBTQ+ characters in this project, I also didn’t remember to put enough of them in glasses. I myself wear glasses, my mom wore glasses, so do many other people in my family, especially older folks.

As I’ve done in previous showcases, I’ll end this one with an excerpt from Elizaveta’s story:

“Not for the first time, Elizaveta was glad she had remembered to bring her sunglasses and hat, though she still often got recognized. It’s not that she minded the attention; she just didn’t have the time or energy for idle chit-chat with strangers more than once or twice a week. Between directing music videos, sitting in on recording sessions, and counselling her staff and beginner performers on a daily basis, she needed a few minutes to herself every day, where she could sip her cappuccino in peace and feel the chilly breeze on her face while sitting on the benches outside her office building.

There was nothing special about that day – meeting with sponsors, a couple of business calls and the final rehearsal of the new girl band The Lilia, whose debut was scheduled for the following week.

Elizaveta confidently entered the office building and took the elevator to the seventh floor, where her own cabinet and the huge meeting room resided. She still remembered how hard she worked to get a whole building that was now proudly marked with the neon sign with her name on it, ‘Elizaveta Sokolova’.

Through the elevator glass she saw vivid life at the office: young celebrities and backup dancers were practicing their performance pieces in large studios, singers were taking vocal lessons in well-insulated booths, managers were answering calls and e-mails trying to organize meetings and interviews for her actors and musicians, fashion designers were making mood-boards with the most modern ideas for future shows. As a creator of all of this she was very proud and grateful for such a hard-working and loyal team.”

That’s all for now! Stay tuned for the next episode of the Wise Not Withered character showcase!

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