Eleanor is a flyer for the South Carolina, Pine Hills High Black Ravens and she loves being a Lady Raven. She and I have been watching a lot of cheer videos lately and here are a few of our favorites!
HOW COOL ARE THEY?? They go HARD.
I could watch this one (one directly below) over and over again! So awesome that it made it into the book! You can officially see/read this stunt during the pep rally scene in Black Satin.
I wasn't a cheerleader in high school (I was the awkward loner drifting from group to group) but my mom was! A cheerleader, I mean.
She was the popular girl with lots and lots of friends. I was born the exact opposite, LOL. Oh well, I still LOVE cheerleading even if I didn't participate in it.
I didn't do crap really in high school except survive it. I was on the Lifesmarts team though, because yanno, I was a little "geeky/nerdy" or whatever.
So yeah, Eleanor is a cheerleader because I have a deep admiration for it and it's also my way of experiencing it. Like, I did a cartwheel once and just . . . no.
I'm really glad I decided to place Eleanor back on the cheer team in the new edition of Pretty in Black because it has really helped round out her character more. You see, because after her sister dies, she's this really sad girl who uses cutting and self-harm to deal with her emotions. (It's not just her sister's death she's having to deal with, but her messed up home life too.) But what I didn't know until I started rewriting the book was that, before she made JV her sophomore year, she used to cut then too, but stopped for a while after making the team—thanks to her sister encouraging her to tryout for cheerleading; her sister was also a cheerleader. But after her death, Eleanor goes back to her addiction as a coping mechanism. Also, Eleanor is "dark" or "goth", both words which I immensely hate, so let me describe to you who she is: the cemetery girl, the one who frolics among the tombstones and reads Edgar Allan Poe, and dark romanticism in general. Yeah, she likes dead roses and skulls, and coffins, and music like The Cure. And in the book, this doesn't stop her from being a cheerleader, like at all. I asked myself, why can't she be a cheerleader and still be the cemetery girl too? Like, why DO people always separate everyone into categories and limit their likes/dislikes? I mean, she really loves cheerleading and she really loves Poe too, so why can't she do both, be both? SHE CAN and SHE DOES and I LOVE IT.
At the beginning of the book, we learn that she's not on the cheerleading team, but she used to be, and that she's a cutter, and misses being a flyer.
This contrast/ combination proposes an internal struggle/challenge for her. Yes, she has a few scars on her arms so how is she going to hide those from the other girls on the team, etc? How will that work out if she rejoins? CAN she rejoin because of this? Will cutting keep her from doing what she loves? All of this is answered in the book :)
Eleanor doesn't fit the stereotypical trope that continues being used in books/movies where the cheerleaders are the mean girls/bitches or the perfect girls with perfect lives who don't have problems. I'm tired of that trope. Eleanor is a combination of who I was and who I wished I could've been. I'm sure you can figure out which is which.