When I got to the Her Universe booth Ashley was busy talking to her booth manager and his family and you could tell that chatting with them was important to her. I also watched her take pictures and chat animatedly and with focus to each and every person who walked up to the Her Universe booth.
You shouldn’t be surprised, Ashley Eckstein is one of the coolest and kindest people you’ll ever meet at Con. I got to spend a few minutes chatting with the Star Wars: Clone Wars voice actress (she plays Ashoka, Anakin’s feisty apprentice, as if you didn’t know) about New York Comic Con, that Darth Maul isn’t dead rumor and how Her Universe has made Ashley into a geek royalty!
Boomtron: Thanks for creating Her Universe, for making a line for women that doesn’t suck. It hasn’t been too long since you started all of this and it’s so popular already!
Ashley: Well, I’m glad it’s passed the test. It’s been a year and a half, yea. Ya know what, I’ve been showing up at cons through Star Wars: The Clone Wars, [prior to Her Universe] but we only launched in June of 2010 at San Diego Comic Con.
Boomtron: Can you give us any hints as to what is going to happen to Ashoka in Star Wars: The Clone Wars?
Ashley: Well, if her fate is decided yet, I truly don’t know about it. I don’t think It’s been decided. Last I heard it hadn’t and that was just a couple months ago. What do they say? “Always in motion is the Future.” Of course, I’m very attached to Ashoka so the thought of anything bad happening to her makes me sad, however, I trust [Director] Dave Filoni more than anything and I know that whatever eventually happens to her will be the right thing for the overall Star Wars storyline and that is all that matters.
Boomtron: Well, knowing what we do about how the Star Wars Universe will end up prior to the events of the Original Trilogy, do you think maybe whatever is in store for Ashoka is bad?
Ashley: I don’t know. I’ve heard theories both ways. Both theories make sense, and would fit in the storyline. I’ve heard every demise or future that could possibly even exist. So who knows, the thing is we were supposed to do 100 episodes and we just recorded our 100th episode 2 months go, so it continues!
Boomtron: Alright, so tell me do you know anything about Darth Maul? Any secrets?
Ashley: I do know about Darth Maul! It’s been a secret we’ve all had to keep for the past year! It’s been a long time. We recorded some of the episodes about 6 months ago. The only thing I think I’m allowed to say is, well, I really feel that Dave Filoni who is amazing at his job, and he’s a true fan. He loves it more than anyone else I know. He really wants to do it justice. I know people are skeptical about Maul coming back but Dave has done an amazing job. The storyline really does the character and the story justice. He was tasked with a difficult job and it’s come out great!
Boomtron: Let’s talk about Her Universe. You are like a geek ambassador for all the female fans out there, why did you create this and have you seen any changes in the attitudes towards female fans since you started Her Universe?
Ashley: Definitely, I think the changes were already happening before Her Universe even existed but that’s why I thought this needed to happen. Girls were showing up at conventions in droves and they weren’t being recognized. I certainly don’t consider myself an ambassador [she said this very bashfully], there are a lot of girls that know way more than me and are more involved, but why I did this is you have to know people and I already had my foot in the door at Lucasfilm and I could catch the ear of the people who could make the decisions. I heard all the stories and went online and did my research of all these girls and I thought, these girls need to be given a voice and people have to hear their stories. At least I can let their voices be heard! I can let the right people know about it and that’s what happened.
Boomtron: How did you get those ears to listen?
Ashley: I was actually in the Lucasfilm offices doing press for The Clone Wars when this all started. Mr. Howard Roffman, the head of licensing walked by, and I was telling the head of PR about my idea and she said “hold on” and she went to Howard’s office and came back and they said “OK, you have ten minutes to tell us why Her Universe needs to exist”. Literally on the spot I didn’t have any chance to prepare and that’s how it all came about – from 10 minutes on the spot! He gave us a shot. I feel that we’re all in this together but at least I can get our message to the people that makes the decisions.
Boomtron: Can we look forward to anything new from Her Universe?
Ashley: We actually are making some headway, we just got approved for a new license [They currently offer licensed items from the Star Wars franchise and the SyFy Network] – can’t say yet b/c it’s not signed but we just got approval, it’s pretty major.
Boomtron: Excellent! So, I see you at so many conventions and I know that can be grueling but also really rewarding and fun. Do you have a favorite Con?
Ashley: My favorite con is Star Wars: Celebration. Obviously, because of my work with The Clone Wars but even before my favorite franchise was Star Wars. That is what drew me into genre when I was a little girl, I used to play Star Wars with my brother in our living room. Celebration is really the Mecca for all Star Wars fans. You can feel the passion amongst 50 thousand people and that’s really special.
Boomtron: I know for NYCC this year you have a few special edition items, one of which is a Halloween tote, which I love. Can you tell me about how that came to be?
Ashley: It came about last minute. We have a lot of Halloween fans at Her Universe. We’re sold out of the tote bags! Completely sold out! We have a lot of Halloween fans at Her Universe. It happened beginning of September we were all just talking, and we were like “Man, Halloween is coming up and we’re such duds, we don’t have anything for Halloween” and brainstorming we decided we needed a trick-or-treat bag. And I’m a huge fan of Katie Cook, her art is just adorable, and I said “Wouldn’t it be great if Katie could do us a tote bag?” So we thought why not, let’s just try it and I called her up and she did the art in 24 hours! Lucasfilm helped us make it happen. We didn’t know if people would like it but we sold 450 bags in 7 days and so now we’re definitely doing more. I was just talking to Katie and a Valentines Day tote is definitely coming. It’s trial and error we don’t know what the fans want always, we ask them sometimes. Everyone kind of spoke up and said they like the tote bag so we’re doing more!
Boomtron: NYCC has reacted well to the stock you brought this weekend?
Ashley: We’re all out of our swag! NYCC is just.. major right now. This place has just gotten huge!
Ashley and I concluded our conversation by talking a little bit about how much New York Comic Con had grown in just a few years, seriously, it is huge now. I checked out a few more items for sale and if you can’t get a tote bag I suggest looking at the Boba Fettish tank and underwear set because it is ridiculously cute! Please check out Her Universe’s website, http://www.heruniverseshop.com for more amazing girl-friendly t-shirts and accessories and remember to check out Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Fridays at 8:00pm on Cartoon Network.