Russian-American world explorer, artist, photographer, author and humanitarian Elena Levon, was born in Moscow, Russia on International Theatre Day - 27th of March 1984, into a multi-ethnic family.
She studied in Russia, UK, Cyprus and USA; Dance Academy in Russia, in the 90's Elena spend several years, studying at the American Academy in Larnaca, Cyprus and at the Dean Close School in Cheltenham, United Kingdom. Her teen years were spent at a Dramatic Theatre in Moscow. In her spare time Elena was working as a model and studied Tourism & Hospitality business in Moscow for 2 years.
In 2002, her father Eduard Leonovich Ayrapetov -- world-renowned scientist, author of numerous books and formulas, recipient of several international honors, awards and medals from Russian presidents, passed away after an extended battle with cancer. Elena had just turned 18. A year later at the age of 19 Elena Levon came to USA, by herself and worked as an actor and model in Los Angeles and New York. Her home bases are in USA, Russia and Turkey.
Elena Levon has acted in a few films and TV shows, from up-and-coming directors and actors, to Hollywood legends. She was part of some of the world's top events in fashion, entertainment and charitable causes. She has met and became friends with a few of the most famous of our worlds personas. Elena Levon has spoken about international issues, with presidents, royalty, most wealthiest and most famous icons in music and entertainment industry.
"I speak to presidents, royalty, thieves, billionaires and beggars in the same manner" - Elena Levon
Elena's interest in continuing working in Entertainment industry in Hollywood and New York, was replaced by her hunger and passion to discover and touch vulnerable cultures and rituals around the world, that are disappearing with the age of electronics and artificial intelligence. Elena's undying enthusiasm in sharing her knowledge with the rest of the world and inspire others to be more curious about our world, reflects in the work she does. Main focus is to be less judgemental and more compassionate towards cultures, traditions and rituals, that are different from the ones we grew up in.
Elena Levon still works with directors and photographers when she is not in the middle of an expedition, where there is little to no contact with outside world.
Elena's photos in artistic nude genre, including her numerous art, created with a legendary photographer, Robert Farber, have been exhibited in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Paris and South America and are published in several photography books by international artists.
In 2012 Elena Levon became a dual citizen of Russian Federation and United States. She continues to lead a nomadic lifestyle traveling mostly as a solo woman to 70+ nations on 6 continents, living alone in far away and dangerous jungles with tribes, who accept her as part of their own and allowing her to participate in ancient rituals. Elena's focus is helping poverty-stricken communities around the globe and bringing light to the issues, that tribal communities and different unique cultures face in the 21st century.
"When I travel, every single community profits from me being there. I bring supplies, medicine, gasoline, foods, clothes, toys, numerous gifts and pay every single community a fee for my stay. I can return to most of the countries I visited and I have a home to go to, a family, who treats me as their own. From Sicily to the depths of jungles in Americas and Africa." - Elena Levon
In 2016 Elena Levon survived a category 5 Cyclone "Winston" on one of the small islands in Fiji with locals and refused to evacuate with the rest of tourists, peace corps and resort owners, to safety, because; - "My life is not more important than the life of a local person" - Elena commented, when asked about her decision to stay. In event of natural disaster in Fiji locals are not allowed to be evacuated from islands by law. She managed to also rescue a badly injured infant and take him and his mother on the boat with her, so they could reach the hospital in mainland, 3 days after Cyclone passed. If it wasn't for Elena, no boat would agree to take any local, no matter how badly he or she is injured to mainland for at least another 2 or 3 weeks.
"I will always stand with people. I will never evacuate if the people, who were born on this land are forbidden to do so. Full stop" - Elena Levon
In 2016 at the famous Madang tribal festival in Papua New Guinea Elena Levon became the first foreign woman to embrace the tribal customs and joined dancing groups bare-breasted, painted and was crowned by tribal women, with a crown made of exotic bird feathers. Many people from the spectators, were coming over to Elena, in order to hug her and thank her for embracing their culture in the way she did.
In 2016 Elena Levon reached the least visited country in Southeast Asia - East Timor. Where she traveled by public transport across all country alone towards a small village. It is a home to rarely seen, ancient cave paintings. She lived there with a chief of that village and his family.
"In all the years I have been a chief, not a single foreigner came and helped us directly, by staying with us and not in hotel. You are the first one." - Chief of Tutuala village, Antonio Da Fonseca
In 2017 Elena was allowed to capture and document the daily life of young monks inside a monastery in Myanmar. One of the elders shared with Elena his concerns for the future "I see them hiding their phones under pillows with Facebook accounts. I wish they studied more and not be on those phones all the time".
In 2017 Elena Levon became the first foreigner to ever (confirmed by the village's leader) live at one very rural villages, that you can only reach by foot and is not located on the map, deep in Madagascar. She was invited by a local family to celebrate the famous Malagasy funeral ritual "Famadihana" (Turning of the bones).
"I did not just dance with the dead (with their bodies around the crypt) .. I (being a woman) was invited to dance with the heads of families (which are all men) on the roof of the tomb holding the flag of Madagascar. It is not easy to find this ceremony, and especially to be invited to it by the family. Beneath me in the tomb bodies and souls of 6 men and 6 women, danced and drank this life with me, with every hit of my cowboy boots and the heartbeats of 500! people, who danced around the crypt. Dust drenched in eternity of this "red land" traveled all the way to infinity and back.
They believe that their deceased family members, have healing and special powers. They ask for guidance and blessings. If husband and wife were somehow in different crypts, they are being reunited at those ceremonies. Without tours, without guides, without a driver with a car (as a white person usually moves here) and translators. I experienced this otherworldly Malagasy tradition from A to Z with Malagasy family (whom accepted me as their own) Without knowing the language. I slept with them on the floor in the cold without electricity (only 30% of houses in Madagascar have electricity), pushed the car and plunged into a real Madagascar, instead of the one that you are shown on the TV and sold in tour companies. After a couple of days, children and adults yelled my name from all corners of this village." - Elena Levon on famous Malagasy Famadihana ritual, in Madagascar, Africa 17.07.2017
In 2018 Elena Levon became one of a few people in the world, who with the help of her Nicaraguan friends, locals and even local police, managed to locate one of the most ancient Pyramids of all Central and South Americas. - "Garrobo Grande" Pyramids and shine a light on the most unbelievable theft that have happened in Nicaragua, but never been published anywhere or spoken of before Elena did in any media or by any journalist.
"On the Internet there is very little information and just a couple of photos of poor quality. There is also no exact information on how to get to it. Next to this pyramid there are 4 small ones and other ancient traces carved from stone. Archaeologists worked here 25 years ago for the first time. And for the second time, just some 18 years ago, an archaeologist named George (speaking Spanish and English) came to this area with a guard that was armed. He persuaded the local people in the villages to work and dig pits in all 5 pyramids, the local people were paid well and were fed 3 times a day. This was the beginning of one of the biggest thefts in Nicaragua and Central America.
This is not written and not told anywhere. This information you can get only from the lips of those who 18 years ago witnessed this story. There are myths that these pyramids are being taken apart by local people to build their houses - this is a lie. Many local people live in barely standing wooden huts, without electricity, toilets and they try to survive. There are farms, young children on horseback chase cattle, mountains, mud, rain. On the field, you can even see young cowboys playing baseball. Those who were hired as "security" near the excavations 18 years ago, were not allowed close to the pyramids. One day helicopters flew in and robbed a huge amount of gold from all 5 pyramids. In this theft, a local archaeologist was involved, working for those who stole gold on helicopters." -- Elena Levon
In Nicaragua Elena was also able to discover one of a very unique and rarely seen petroglyphs depicting an ancient sacrifice to the gods.
In 2018 Elena Levon became one of a few foreign women and first Russian/American woman to ever travel solo deep into the most dangerous jungle in the world - The Darien Gap. It is famous for being the main drug road from South America to North America. A lot of foreigners have been captured and killed here by the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). Director General of SENAFRONT (specialized and permanent police force, structured and organized to protect Panama's land borders and protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity and to protect life, honor, property and other rights and freedoms of individuals) gave Elena a signed document, that gave her permission to enter a rural zone, where Elena lived with Embera tribe, researching, helping and documenting their culture for about 2 weeks.
In the Darien Gap jungle Elena Levon lived outside of where tour guides and tourists are allowed to go, without written permission from SENAFRONT in Panama city, foreigners are not allowed to travel through that area. On her journey to the most dangerous jungle in the world, Elena Levon was befriended by the local 3rd Pacific Battalion of SENAFRONT, inside the Darien Gap and was told by the captain and lieutenant that "We have never seen a woman by herself in this part of the Darien Gap"
In 2018 Elena saw 12.500 year old cave paintings in Colombia, that are not often seen by public, because it is inside the region, that is still by many considered a "red zone", because it was a FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) nest. In this region Elena also spend some time with the last nomadic tribe of Colombia Nukak-Maku and brought supplies and foods that were very much needed in that tribe. She saw them hunt with poisonous arrows and documented their daily lives.
In January and February of 2019 Elena Levon became one of the very few women and westerners ever to live for almost a month with one of the most unique tribes in the world - Yanomami/Yanomamo tribe, who still practice endocannibalism, deep in the Amazon jungle. She is the first Russian/American woman ever, to be invited by the chief of Yanomami tribe, into the deepest of amazon jungles (4 day journey on boat, one way, crossing 2 rivers) in order to participate in their famous death ritual, which lasts 3 weeks, and includes dances, songs, shamanism, hunting and at the end of which, the tribe burns the body of the deceased, crushes the bones and then consumes those crushed bones with the porridge made of bananas.
While living with this tribe, Elena found herself inside a very dangerous "Red Zone", where 99% of people of this tribe had Malaria. Elena was accepted as their own and the chief Geronco, gave her a Yanomami name "Adorini". (In the Yanomami legends, Adorini was the most beautiful and dangerous woman of Yanomami tribes) All members of this Yanomami tribe were calling her "Elena Yanomami".
Elena Levon is the first Russian woman ever and one of maybe only a couple other foreign women in the whole world, to whom shaman and chief of a very traditional Yanomami tribe, with very strict rules, have allowed Elena to participate in "men only!" Yopo (Parika) ancient ritual, while living with them deep in the Brazilian Amazon jungle.
Elena Levon traveled to Yanomami tribe with her friend, Antonio, who is from South American, Guyanese Wapishana tribe and she became the first westerner ever to whom this particular Yanomami tribe, allowed to stay with them. Even though only a couple reporters, photographers and journalists reached this tribe before, the chief and the elders of this tribe did not allow them to take a single photo or spend even one night there. The chief told Elena that it is her home now and that they are waiting for her return.
Elena Levon fearlessly and most of the time solo, dives very deep into the very soul of countries and cultures on her journey, by choosing public transport (sometimes extremely dangerous and brutal), shoulder to shoulder with local people, over carefully planned, guided tours, as most of journalists, photographers, filmmakers and explorers travel in 21st century, in order to aid themselves. This new breed of explorers and filmmakers, often times portray their sometimes very expensive, carefully guided and planned tours, that can be purchased by anyone who can afford it, as "one of a kind explorations into unknown and uncharted" and as something "Never done or seen before" to the public, when in reality a lot of times, those places and people see hundreds of tourists every month and sometimes even every week.
Elena Levon is one of the few true independent explorers. A lot of times in jungles she lives in her hammock, with no electricity or toilets. She washes and swims in rivers, that are full of caimans, anacondas and piranhas, as if it was her birthplace. Sometimes she sleeps on cold cement floors or wooden planks, side by side with locals, who accept her into their tribe, as their own. Many call Elena "The Human Chameleon" and "World's Soul" because of her ability to become the very people and cultures, that she lives with in the most honest, authentic and pure way.
Elena Levon races on horses with cowboys through the biggest wetlands in the world, gallops through deserts like a true outlaw, can gallop on a horse easily without a saddle, dances passionate tango in tango's birthplace, walks with lions side by side in the savanna, that is part of the rehabilitation center in Zambia, gets touched by wild gorillas in jungles of Uganda, gets in a fight with Russian mob, skydives out of planes from 4000 meters, lives with Berbers in the Sahara desert, helps at local farms, lives a cowboy life on ranches, hangs on edges of the biggest waterfalls in the world, travels solo by local transport through the most dangerous parts of our world, swims like she was born in water, feels at home in jungles, as if she was a jaguar, eats all kinds of exotic foods, that are not for the faint of heart and then can be ready for a photo shoot or a red carpet event in a blink of an eye and without much preparation, money or effort.
On her journey Elena Levon has taken very unique photos and video footage, that is not seen often by the outsiders. With all the gifts from all the tribes and far away communities, that Elena Levon has lived with in her life, she can open her own multi-cultural museum. Elena spends her life, creating in front of the camera, behind the camera, writing poetry and stories (in two languages) that touch and inspire thousands of people from all corners of the world.
People from more than 190 countries have been reading Elena Levon's stories on her websites and many were inspired to never give up on their life and dreams, they were inspired to follow their hearts and live their lives more fearlessly, freely and passionately. Artists paint Elena's portraits, that are shown and sold in international galleries and poets dedicate their art to her.
More information about above dates, events and Elena Levon's chosen life journey as a world explorer and artist, you can find on the pages of her official websites and social media. (includes; stories, videos, photography, poetry, art and musings)
Source - IMDB