Elena is a princess in an African tribe that has a cultural tradition of fighting, making her a warrior princess. She may have been born in Kenya, but her fighting style is Capoeira which utilizes her long, strong legs with dance-like moves and fancy legwork. Her father, the tribe's chief, is a witch doctor. However, he also has a PhD in medicine obtained from a French university. Elena's views of fighting and martial arts differ from most, due to her light-hearted personality allowing her to befriend people and sometimes annoy others. She wants to travel around the world, meeting new friends along the way. She studied as an exchange student in Japan, where she met her best friend Narumi. She later continued her studies in France.
Elena has white hair, blue eyes, and dark skin. She is barefoot while fighting and has long, powerful legs. Her attire consists of a white two-piece bikini-like outfit with pale red, sky-blue, gold and purple bands on her neck, arms, wrists, shins, and ankles.
Elena's fighting style consists entirely of kicks and leg throws, even when the player uses a punch button command. She was the first Street Fighter character to use just kicks, in opposition to Dudley and Balrog who only use punches.
Elena is the only Street Fighter character who has the ability to use Healing, a Super Art which allows Elena to regain up to 1/3 of her life energy bar if given the opportunity.
Elena appears in the non-canon crossover game Street Fighter X Tekken (as a DLC character in the console versions and as default in the PS Vita and PC versions) making her first 3D debut. Her partner is Dudley.
She also appeared in Ultra Street Fighter IV, which would be her chronological first appearance, seeing as how Street Fighter IV takes place before Street Fighter III.
- Elena's voice actress speaks English with a Japanese-Australian accent, despite the character being Kenyan.
- Elena often greets her opponent at the beginning of a match with "Jambo!", Swahili for hello.
- Her multi-colored bangles were a good showcase of Capcom's new hardware at the time; CPS-3. The earlier CPS-2 allowed each sprite to be colored from a palette of only 16 colors.
- Much like Gill's asymmetrical body, the numerous colorful bands which adorn Elena's body allowed Capcom to display the graphical power of the CPS-3 board.
- A character resembling Elena makes a cameo in Dhalsim's stage in Street Fighter Alpha 2, lying on an elephant.
- Elena makes light of her unusual accent in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike during one of her win quotes, saying, "My accent? I must have picked it up during my travels!".
- Standing 6 feet (183 centimetres) tall, Elena is the tallest female to appear in the history of the series.