As the voice of Jedi padawan Ahsoka Tano on the animated The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels shows, Ashley Eckstein inspired young girls to believe they too could wield a lightsaber and battle the dark side.
As the founder of the Her Universe fashion line, she inspired women and girls in our galaxy to flaunt their geekdom with style, pride, and playfulness.
Now Eckstein is putting her galaxy-shaping philosophy down on the page with the new book It’s Your Universe, which is part autobiography, telling her own story of being a little girl who longed for the stars and stardom, and part inspirational guide.
Now, Entertainment Weekly presents a cover reveal and excerpt from the illustration-heavy book, which will be released May 8. And we’re also featuring a gallery of Eckstein’s latest Black Panther and Disney Princess clothing for kids.
At a time when some male fans are trying to put up a “No Girls Allowed” sign on Star Wars fandom, Eckstein’s book reminds young female fans that they don’t need anyone’s permission.
“I grew up in Orlando, Florida, and my dad worked for Disney, so we went to Disney World all the time,” Eckstein tells EW. “My mom and I, our favorite song was ‘When You Wish Upon a Star,’ so she always encouraged me to make a wish, and make a dream.”
But they also emphasized the hard work involved in fulfilling such dreams, which is another element of her book. ”
They said, okay, all of those wishes that you’ve been making upon all of those stars, now you have to do it,” Eckstein said. “You have to take action. You have to work hard to actually be it, and to do it. Those dreams and those wishes aren’t just going to fall in your lap.”
Sci-fi and fantasy gives people an escape, and allows kids to expand their own imaginations, but it also makes them dream bigger and aspire for more. It gives kids … hope.
“It’s an inspiration to say, ‘No, I’m never going to be Ahsoka Tano in a galaxy far, far away. Like, literally be a Togruta alien,'” Eckstein says. “‘But I could be a real-life version of Ahsoka.’ And actually it was Ahsoka who inspired me to create Her Universe. I did think, ‘What would Ahsoka do?” Ahsoka would stand up for the female fanbase and offer them more.”
For the longest time, she says, female fans were expected “to be happy with a men’s size small T-shirt because women would not buy merchandise meant for them.”
She decided to fuse her love of skirts and dresses with Star Wars, and quickly expanded to Marvel and other genre. “We can be geeks, and we can look cute while doing it,” Eckstein says.
Here’s the excerpt from It’s Your Universe. And check the gallery here for images from Her Universe’s new Black Panther and Disney Princess-inspired active wear.