Elena Boyko, 22

Water Taxi Beach, Long Island City

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Elena Boyko
Elena Boyko

Sunbathing? Yes. My boyfriend and I are checking out the beach.

Where are you from? Moscow.

Think there's another Cold War setting in? Well, there's always been tension. But the press manipulates things. Even with the Georgia and Russia thing: What's said here and said there are two totally different things.

So what's being said there? In Russia, nobody takes it as deeply. Here, everyone's like, Oh my God, there's a war. But it was just a game between governments.

But weren't there hundreds of people killed in South Ossetia? That's been happening for years. It just hasn't really been in the press till now. I have thoughts on why but I wouldn't want to talk about it.

Fair enough. What do you do? I'm in school for marketing and I bartend. I don't want to say where.

Wouldn't want to clue in the stalkers. [Laughs] Oh my God. I would rather not.

Does your marketing degree inform the bartending? Bartending is a great school of communication. You have to understand what a customer is there for and what they want to get out of the conversation. And how to keep a distance between you and—

The stalkers. [Laughs] Exactly.

Do Americans have stereotypes about Eastern European women? They really do. They think that we all come to the U.S. to find husbands. [Laughs] But it's just a stereotype.

Does your boyfriend wish it were true? [Laughs] I don't know, I'll ask him.

More from Elena

"Capoeira is very artistic. I first started doing it because it's a lot of music and great people. The first time I saw it, I was like, Oh my God, I will never be able to do anything like that. But then you get better."

"My favorite drink is the pineapple and jalapeo margarita: Muddle a couple pieces of pineapple with one or two wheels of jalapeo. Add one part lime juice, one part agave nectar and two parts tequila, shake it and pour."

Elena says: "I think everyone's heard about the education system in Russia. It's very intense. I was going to school six days a week, from 8am to 7pm, and then I had homework. Here, school is like three days a week—it feels like vacation to me. Growing up in Moscow was absolutely fine for me—my parents took good care of me. But it makes you probably a little bit tougher."

--Kate Lowenstein

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