Tanya Tate is an actress, model and one of the most recognizable Cosplay personalities at comic cons. She brought many of those costumes here to First Comics News in a column “Justa Lotta Tanya” but how did this all begin, what made Tanya dress up in the first place?
First Comics News: As an adult what was the first time you started wearing a superhero costume?
Tanya Tate: San Diego Comic Con 2010. I got a glimpse of Comic-Con from the year before when I happened to be in San Diego at the same time as the convention. I was there for a shoot and was taken aback at how much was going on in the city and wanted to be a part of it. The next year I planned for it and went dressed as Emma Frost.
1st: Did you make it yourself?
Tanya: No. I bought it off the net. I was very lucky that I choose one that fit like a glove, showed off the right stuff and worked well with my body type.
1st: What type of reaction did you get?
Tanya: Overwhelmingly positive. Guys were so friendly, but I guess a girl in a boob top and mini skirt can expect that. When I first wore the Emma Frost costume in public, I was a little apprehensive but everyone was really cool to me. I had a lot of fun with it.
1st: How do you pick which character you are going to portray?
Tanya: Mostly, based on how convincingly I look like the character. I don’t think I’ll ever do Wonder Woman because I’m not a tall brunette. But I can pass for Electra or Susan Storm from the comics. It helps that a lot of super-heroines are busty blondes. Then there are some I just do to have fun with, like the Thor one.
1st: I ask because Electra Woman is a little obscure, were you a fan of the show?
Tanya: I had no idea who she was until I came to live in America, about a year ago. One of my friends is really into the Krofft Tv shows, and I took a liking to it because it was Disney-esque, but uniquely it’s own. By that time I had started to cosplay and when I saw Electra Woman, I fell in love with the fun character and knew that’s who I wanted to dress up as at Comic-Con.
1st: Did you make the Electra Woman costume?
Tanya: No, I had it made for me. But, I did design it.
1st: Why update the original costume?
Tanya: I didn’t want to do the same one as the 70’s because it looked like it was from the 70’s. I wanted to have my own take on it and make it as if Electra Woman were around today, how she would look. Like most female heroes, she would be sexy. So I vamped it up a little, gave the costume some cleavage, lost the leggings. I met Sid and Marty Krofft, the producers of the original TV show and loved my take on the character.
Tanya: Great. This was a hybrid of sorts. I liked the movie costume, but I also liked the version Pamela Anderson wore in Superhero Movie, with the plunging neckline. So, I had the two combined.
1st: Do you think it is more fun for you to dress up or more fun for the fans that get to meet you as a real life comic character?
Tanya: Both. It’s fun to dress up and play the part, and I’m sure that fans enjoy having someone there dressed as their favorite to take pictures with and such.
1st: This summer the big box office fight was Thor vs. Green Lantern, what made you decide to dress as Green Lantern Arisia Rrab?
Tanya: That was spur of the moment. I bought the costume on a lark. I had it altered, to look more like the comics. One of the pics of me wearing it has been bouncing around Tumblr for the last several months because of the “side boob” cleavage that can be seen.
1st: You have to be a pretty hardcore Green Lantern fan to know who Arisia Rrab, do you follow Green Lantern?
Tanya: Somewhat. I’m aware of the characters. but it’s tough to keep up with monthly books. I have to get trades.
1st: With Thor, you created a female Thor costume. Do you prefer creating your own take on the character or appearing as an established character?
Tanya: Sometimes. I do try to stay true to the character, but still, would like the costume to be somewhat uniquely my own.
Tanya: I’d tell them to have fun with it. Choose your costume, take your time putting it together and just have a great time with the hobby.
1st: Are there groups or organizations of cosplay fans?
Tanya: There are. I’m not affiliated with any but visiting related message boards would be a good way to start. One should find helpful people there. That’s one thing about cosplayers, they are generally very helpful and enthusiastic about their craft.
1st: Where can fans expect to find you next?
Tanya: In costume? I think the next convention I’ll be doing in costume will be Wizard World L.A. But I plan to stop by D23 in Anaheim for fun. I’m also making a signing appearance at Exxxotica L.A. at the and of August.
1st: What characters are you planning?
Tanya: Right now, I have no more new costumes in the works. I’ve toyed with the idea of Power Girl, Ms. Marvel or Black Canary. But nothing is set in stone. I’d love to hear suggestions, though. If anybody has one, they can tweet me – @TanyaTate.