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What's Your Inner Spirit Animal? An Interview With SpiritHoods Co-Founder Alexander Mendeluk

Squirrely the Koala

We all have something primitive lurking within us.  Tell me… how would you describe your Inner Spirit Animal?  Feel free to answer in the comments below:

Adaptation » Peace » Clarity

Balance » Solitude » Strength

Brave » Adventurous » Loyal

Brave » Curious » Gentle

Confident » Aware » Respectful

Fierce » Powerful » Protective

Guardian » Caretaker » Strength

Intelligent » Free-Spirited » Leader

Loyal » Social » Teacher

Mysterious » Shapeshifter » Beauty

Silent » Mindful » Independent

Trickster » Humor » Cunning

Trickster » Articulate » Lucky

Wisdom » Power » Introspection

Wisdom » Truth » Clairvoyance

Each one of these trait combinations relate to a different Spirit Animal represented through SpiritHoods, the manufacturier of a unique line of handmade, animal-inspired faux fur accessories.  Their focus is to create a bond with our wild natures while helping endangered animals in the process.

Whether you love video games, fashion, adventure, animals, music, festivals, nightlife, the outdoors or are simply wild at heart – they’re fun to wear and express yourself.  They have a REALLY ADORABLE kid’s line, plus matching sets for “Mom & Me“.  Also, when you purchase a SpiritHood with the PRO BLUE logo, they donate 10% of net profits to a non-profit organization dedicated to helping that particular Spirit animal.

For Level Up readers, you’ll get a 15% discount at checkout if you purchase a SpiritHood online when entering the code:  8BITY

As Gamers, we’ve seen Spirithoods popping up at Gaming related conventions everywhere, all the way from PAX to Wondercon.  And after seeing them first hand at Blizzcon and E3 –  I HAD TO HAVE ONE.  While undergoing surgery in December, my boyfriend surprised me with the Grey Wolf.  I gotta say, from a healing perspective, this thing has helped me in ways I’ll never be able to fully describe.  Every time I where mine, it elicits a positive reaction from complete strangers, and that my friends, gives me +18 Charisma and +10 Emotional Resilience.

Even if you live in a warmer climate, it’s all about expressing individuality… and furry ears 😉  I live in California and just got the Grizzly Bear Spirithood.  This is me – all “Instagrammy” – after getting it in the mail, along with my new Lady Sylvanas from the World of Warcraft TCG (we all know my love for Sylvanas):

But even if you’re not a Gamer, Spirithoods have been spotted at fashion shows, music festivals and art openings:

Magic in Las Vegas

Coachella 2012

A team of four cool dudes created the SpiritHoods concept as we currently know it:  Alexander Mendeluk, Ashley Haber, Marley Marotta and Chase Hamilton.  I recently got a chance to talk with SpiritHoods co-founder Alexander Mendeluk AKA “Squirrely” — turns out he’s an avid Gamer!! He’s also an actor from Twilight, NBC’s Grimm and a new horror movie called The Terror Experiment.  Horror genre and video games – can’t go wrong!

In our interview below, find out the true meaning of the SpiritHoods logo, Squirrely’s love for World of Warcraft and Gamer headphone technology inside a new line of ‘Hoods:

Alexander Mendeluk AKA "Squirrely"

Hey Squirrley!  What is your first video game memory?

Late ’80s Mario, level one, on the floor bargaining with my parents not to force me to bed until I kicked Big Bowser’s ass!

Ah yes, I think we all remember those days!  Being that you started with Super Mario Bros., what have been the most important games in your life and how have they influenced who you are today?

The real game changer was EverQuest.  I was so entranced with that game for years after I quit… I would have dreams about it… and I remember over the years always trying to get back to that original feeling through different MMOs.  Then World of Warcraft came out – that was the game that brought me back… it’s absolutely brilliant.  I’m a true nerd at heart.  For those outside of the Gaming world, it’s all about imagination and story telling. When you watch a good movie, you’re transported to a different world to be able to escape.  And a good video game takes entertainment to a whole new level.  It allows people to BECOME someone else — anything they want to be.  Most importantly, it keeps our imaginations alive and allows us to be kids.  I’ll never forget that first feeling of knowing that there was a whole new world out there for me to explore.

Agreed.  Whole-heartedly.  Are there any games that you’re particularly looking forward to?

I’m really looking forward to the new World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria expansion.

Me tooooo.  I’m dying to add the Panda Spirithood to my collection for that very reason:

Video Game YouTuber "TradeChat" in Panda SpiritHood

Okay, so… there’s a burning and exciting question within the Gaming community regarding the SpiritHoods logo. Obviously your symbol of the phoenix is historical – I’ve personally seen renditions of it in Egyptian, Greek, Chinese, Arabic and Native American mythologies.  But with your Gamer history, did you intend to pay homage to The Legend of Zelda’s Triforce and the Hyrule Family Crest?

Our logo is the phoenix and we were inspired by many different sources, like this ring:

We own our trademark and the design, it’s simply a coincidence that they look similar.  But I do love The Legend of Zelda series and I would like to think now, on a personal level, that we’ve paid homage to the games.  However, that wasn’t the original intent.

E3 is around the corner!  I hope to see you guys there.  Any fun plans lined up for SpiritHoods?

Well I’m always looking to top our Vindictus collaboration… last year hundreds of people were fighting and ripping at each other to grab one of the special limited edition ‘Hoods.

We also have an awesome collaboration with Guardians of Luna which will be giving back to our ProBlue.  We are always looking for amazing ways to incorporate SpiritHoods into the Gamer’s experience.  You’ll see us running around E3 for sure.

For Gamers that want to have fun with their families, I’m in love with SpiritHoodsKids – the new “Doodle Hood” is too cute!  What a great way for kids to express their creativity.  But you also recently released Muppet SpiritHoods — can we expect to see another collaboration from you and Disney in the future?

We will be releasing a “Classic Disney Collection” for kids and perhaps a few for adults, but I can’t let the cat out the bag on what characters we will see. I love the nostalgia of the classic Disney characters so we are really excited to see this come to life.

We have a lot in common, Squirrely:  both Gamers, both from the Pacific Northwest and both actors – specifically in the horror genre!  You’ve been in Twilight, New Moon, NBC’s Grimm, and your new movie, The Terror Experiment, just released on Blu-ray and DVD.   Huge congrats!   How do you like being an actor in the realm of horror/fantasy?

I actually grew up on sets, as my father is a director.  I was very fortunate to of traveled and experienced a world of story telling and imagination in many different countries.  While in film school at the Art Institute of Portland, I had to take an acting class as part of my directing curriculum and I truly fell in love with the craft.  I began with commercial work, and then Twilight came to town.  I remember auditioning and not knowing what Twilight was, then I realized how big of a deal it was.  I was called in to audition for Catherine Hardwicke for the role of Emmett, Edwards brother.   I couldn’t sleep or work from anticipation, it’s crazy how quickly your life can change.  When I moved to LA, I worked on NBC’s Grimm.  I picked up both my directing and acting hats when making The Terror Experiment with my father.  It was awesome to be working together as a team; I shot second unit and also played the role of Ryan.

I love the paranormal fantasy world.  When I think of the bottom line, that’s what it’s all about, story telling and entertainment. Every genre and film has a purpose, not all are meant to be the next Oscar winner and that’s why I like B movie genres. You can laugh, you can be scared, you can take it seriously or not. But I like films that don’t take themselves too seriously – or if they do that’s part of the humor in it all.

Squirrely the Koala

Great story, great perspective.  It’s true about how quickly your life can change.  So, what can we expect to see from SpiritHoods in the future?

Wow, that’s a loaded question.  A lot!  But this fall is definitely going to be a whole new SpiritHoods. We have really taken the time and creative energy to further define our products and branch out.  You will see the classic SpiritHoods line revamped, along with built in headphone technology – so you can take you calls, play your Games or listen to music all in your ‘Hood. You will also see new styles outside of your traditional SpiritHoods – we are all very excited!

We’re excited, too! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me, Squirrely.  Anyone who makes furry hats, plays video games and loves horror movies wins all the points in my book.

Grey Wolf SpiritHood with my kitty/marsupial Samus Aran

What SpiritHood are YOU?  If you get one, make sure to send me a photo or post it on the Official SpiritHoods Facebook Page!

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