A broken family and years of childhood mental abuse have a huge impact on a person. Without the encouragement of the people they look up to, children often become reclusive, turning to alcohol or drugs as they reach adolescence to escape the torment. They are doomed to follow the same paths as the parents who inflicted the pain on them.
But occasionally, a free spirit shines through and that person stands up, using their pain as a motivation to achieve, to chart their own life and create their own destiny. They become so strong that nobody dares to mess with them. They are outlaws. Defying the norms, going against trends and bulldozing a path that others can follow.
That’s why we’re honoured to introduce Elissa, a true Outlaw Valkyrie.
Elissa is excelling in several male-dominated areas, Heavy Metal, Heavy Lifting and Viking Combat. Combining heavy music with heavy lifting, and sharing this with other people. Most men feel threatened muscular, free-spirited women, who can probably lift more than they can and are combat trained to boot. So Elissa had to push through all kinds of resistance on her journey, with very little encouragement.
Deadlifts & Deathmetal is her passion along with the Viking Combat. As a dedicated warrior, Elissa also provides weight training to help other Viking combatants excel in their sport.
An Interview with Elissa
What is your passion?
Combining heavy music with heavy lifting, and sharing this with other people is my passion. Heavy metal is traditionally a male-dominated genre, as is powerlifting/bodybuilding.
To be a woman who is physically and mentally strong, very independent and more muscular than average is an interesting prospect as you find that you either gain respect or people feel threatened.
Tell us about your journey to follow that passion
I’m self-employed and run my own personal training business, which I have been doing for 10 years. Two years ago I started Deadlifts & Deathmetal which is a monthly event for metalheads to learn to lift heavy and learn great technique while listening to the music they most enjoy. Since creating D&DM my business has boomed, and I am now a respected figure, recognised for what I do both in the fitness and the music industry. Now that I am doing Viking reenactment, I wish to combine my knowledge of the human body and lifting mechanics with what I learn in combat, so that I can help other fighters with their programming to gain sports-specific strength and agility.
While the journey has been great, it’s been tough without support. There have been a number of times when I had nobody around to discuss my wins and losses with. I often find the isolation of being a sole trader difficult as well.
What achievements are you Most proud of?
Prior to starting D&DM there was a period where I considered going back to work in marketing/admin. Often during holiday periods and some months of the year, personal training becomes quieter and it is difficult to sustain a steady income. Because I didn’t listen to people who tried to convince me otherwise, I’m now in a position where I’m consistently earning double my break even point and getting paid to do what I love, and to work with the people I love.
It pays to follow your dreams, despite whatever bullshit others will say. And if it doesn’t work out – at least you know. At least you gave it your all. I’d rather try and fail than to spend my life as a coward wondering what might have happened.
What do you ultimately dream of doing?
I want to open my own personal training studio just for metalheads and viking reenactors within the next 2 years. By that stage I will have passed my probation period with the Jombsorg sudhid and be a Drengir (fighter), able to engage in combat in Viking reenactment events. There are massive international fights in Wolin and Moesgard – of which there are very few female fighters.
Wolin in particular is known for it’s intensity and brutality in training, and it is only within the last 1-2 years that they have allowed women on the battlefield. If I can become good enough to hold my own in a line fight at Wolin, this would be a dream come true. With D&DM I also aim to create a YouTube channel which combines lifting sessions and interviews with heavy metal musicians and bands who come here on tour.
I’m quite skeptical of organised religion, to say the least. On a spiritual note I am more philosophical – I like to look at the world around me and ask questions. Questions both of myself, and questioning why things are important / if they are important and what meaning I can derive from things.
My spirituality is, therefore, a bit more internal/introverted than it is a concept that there is a higher power or any external influence on what we do. I think we’re a bunch of ants on a big rock around the sun. Any meaning we derive from life is a reflection of what we’ve decided to make of it. Our priorities and our passions, and our ability to question constantly will drive our experience. I like the concept of the Norse gods as archetypes/examples of personality traits and our tendencies to be imperfect yet still powerful.
So although I do not “believe” in them I do perceive that you can worship them in the sense that they can be used as a concept that helps guide your decisions.