Talented teen earns acceptance into NIDA

IT STARTED as a playful hobby, making cosplay costumes for herself and a few friends.

Little did Stephany Eland know that her creative passions would land her a position in Sydney's elite National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), one of only six Australians and the only Queenslander to gain entry.

"I'm pretty stoked, and a little overwhelmed,” she said.

"Growing up, I never wanted to do anything creative.

"I wanted to be a doctor or nutritionist but I found I was spending all my time studying - up at 6am, school and then study until 10 o'clock at night.

"So I thought, 'what else do I enjoy, what else makes me happy?'.”

Finding her calling, the 19-year-old enrolled in an Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Technology at TAFE Queensland East Coast in Mountain Creek, where she worked hard to get some hands-on experience.

She helped out when her former high school, Nambour Christian College, put on a musical and has recently involved herself in a fantasy web mini-series led by a Brisbane director.

To gain entry into Australia's most prestigious drama academy, Stephany had to provide a detailed portfolio of previous work, sit a sewing exam and charm a panel of interviewers.

In spite of all her achievements, she said her proudest creations are her cosplay costumes.

Stephany's proudest cosplay design, a Captain America-inspired dress worn by her sister Emily Eland.
Stephany's proudest cosplay design, a Captain America-inspired dress worn by her sister Emily Eland. Contributed

"Last Supernova (pop cultural festival), I did costumes for a couple of people and all up, that took me about 60 - 70 hours,” she said.

"I like to help out my friends and do group cosplays together.

"If I help them, my costume looks better then anyway.”

Stephany moves to Sydney for NIDA's first term in late January.

One of Stephany's cosplay designs, an Iron Man-inspired dress complete with light-up arc reactor, worn by herself.
One of Stephany's cosplay designs, an Iron Man-inspired dress complete with light-up arc reactor, worn by herself. Contributed

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