Critical Blast Bombshell Tina Tom-El Brings August Heat to Cosplay

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Bombshell 2019 08 - Tina Tom-El


Look! Up in the Sky! It's a new Critical Blast Bombshell of the Month!

Every month the staff at Critical Blast combs the cosplay community for up and coming cosplayers who deserve to have a broader audience for their work, taking into account not only costuming skills and spirit, but also how they use that ability in service to others. Through this, we've not only met some talented cosplayers, but also some fine human beings.

This month, we expand our reach to Krypton (No, we don't believe it either, but we also can't disprove it) for a cosplayer whose scope ranges from capes to armor. So without futher ado, we are happy to introduce  you now to our...


Critical Blast Bombshell, August 2019

Tina Tom-El

Supergirl (DC COMICS)
Laura Kenneson Photography

What is your interest in cosplay?

I love cosplay because when I put my tights on, or armor, or wig, I’m not me. I’m that character. I forget the worries of that day and live the life of a superhero, or villain, and just have fun being that person. I also love seeing others in cosplay and learn why they chose those characters they are, and why they love them so much. It’s like walking pieces of art. Everyone is so creative and having fun, and that’s the whole point!

How did you get into cosplay, and what was your first cosplay experience?

Well it started with quilting, actually. I couldn’t sleep. I have generalized anxiety disorder and sometimes it would get so bad I wouldn’t be able to sleep for days on end. Things that help are things that occupy your entire brain, like puzzles and such. So, I took to sewing. I had the pleasure of going to New York City Comic Con back when it was unpopular to be into geek culture (2010? 2011? I don’t remember) and I saw people in costumes, and in my head I’m like, wait…..YOU CAN DRESS UP!?!?! I WANNA DRESS UP!!!!! So the following year, that’s what I did and it hasn’t stopped since. 

How has your cosplay evolved since you began?

I’m like many others in my evolution I believe. I started out buying stuff at thrift stores and piecing stuff together (cuz who hasn’t done that stuff?)

I then moved on to making my own costumes. I now am pretty proficient at sewing costumes. I make my own jump suits, gloves, and boot covers. And now I’m making props, and muscles suits and armor. I used to think, "Eh, I suck at art," but when I step back I’m like, "Wow, no, I’m actually pretty good."

Gabriel Belmont (Castlevania: Lords of Shadow)
Zorra Cosplay and Photography

What is your "secret identity" outside of cosplaying?

My secret identity….well I’m a postal worker. I work running the automated machines that sort the mail.

What kind of social or charity activities do you get involved in with your cosplay?

I do anything and everything possible to be in costumes outside of conventional costume stuff like cons and Halloween. I’ve done cosplay events at bookstores, I do charity events like superhero themed sporting events, the lupus walk, autism walk, and Big Brother/Big Sister. Anything I can get my tights on for! Making people smile (especially the wee ones) makes you feel so good.

Xaldin (Kingdom Hearts 2)
Photo: DH_DigitalPhoto

Do you make as much of your own costume as possible or rely on purchased materials -- and is that important overall to cosplaying? 

I am a cosplayer who has evolved to making nearly 100% of my costumes (except for shoes, because I’m not an elf). I just like looking at something and going, "I can make that!" I like the challenge. I like making a costume that custom fits me. To me, making my stuff is important, and a lot of my friends and I collaborate on making stuff because we all have different strengths. In general though, there are some who don’t sew, and buy their costumes, and that’s totally fine with me. Cosplay is about being that character and having fun, and if you buy your costume just to do that, then do it!

What's your favorite cosplay, your "go to" look that you just love to put on and act out?

My favorite cosplay….it’s kind of tough to choose (as all my characters look at me judgingly). But I have to say Supergirl is my go to. She’s the most comfortable and just easy to throw on and go do stuff with! She’s also the most recognizable (although I get called Wonder Woman a lot dressed as her…). She’s the one I don the most for children’s events and I get the most smiles with.

Where can people go to find you online?

Facebook: @KryptonianCosplay
Instagram: @Tina_Tom_El