Featured Cosplayer: Tina X

Q: Hi, Christina! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do and how long you have been doing it?
A: I started cosplaying back in the 90s when I really didn’t know it was an actual hobby. I would make the costumes, like Sailor Moon (back then, it was my fave anime), and sew pieces together. I would go all out when the time was right because then I could really shine. I have been in the cosplay scene on and off throughout the years, but I had some time during COVID to really streamline my brand—the two things I love the most, cosplaying and video games. So, I have been doing both constantly for three years.

Q: Do you make your costumes by hand?
A: Yes and no. For conventions, I like to make my own costumes. When I do live streams with viewers, I will get a basic costume and add flare to it.

Q: How did you start getting into cosplay?
A: I think I have always liked “dressing up!” When I was younger, I did ballet and tap. The costumes back then were not made for you, so my grandma had to sew them. I loved the process of making the costumes. Seeing the fabric transform into the final costume was such a rewarding feeling. When I got older, I started making my own costumes.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration from with each costume/look?
A: That’s a great question! I love anime, so I pull looks from there a lot! My favorite is DC Comics! (I have a whole tattoo sleeve of DC heroes and villains). Harley Quinn was fun—the old one from Batman: The Animated Series, as well as from the video game, Arkham Asylum. I also like to challenge myself with cosplays that transform me into someone I don’t even look like. The funniest ones are gender-bending, where I can transform a character into their alter ego of feminine or masculine.

Q: What are the products you use most often?
A: I use a bunch of FX makeup and eyelash glue! Yes, you read that right! Most people use spirit gum to adhere things or prosthetics glue. I can’t tell you how many times I have used eyelash glue to stick a horn onto my forehead. Another tip is I use paint brushes to apply actual makeup instead of makeup brushes—they last longer and are more durable. Face paint is also a great way to get that look of deep color. And lastly, safety pins. Hear me out: if you lose your prop or ribbon and you can’t sew a new one, a safety pin will hold that item for dear life until you can get it fixed.

Q: For someone looking to do what you do on a budget, what are your recommendations?
A: Get one piece that you can add several looks to. For example, spend the extra money on a corset. You can make that corset transform into several different cosplays. I can’t tell you how many times my white corset went from Pennywise to a fairy, then finished as a person from the movie The Purge.

In addition, Goodwill and Salvation Army are your friends! You can rip shirts up or tear apart dresses to add to your cosplay! I have done it so many times! Not only does it save time, but it’s way cheaper.

Q: How long does it take you to put a costume or look together?
A: Depending on the look, it can take up to four hours or as quick as one hour. The Nezuko (demon form) cosplay took about four hours. I had to do the demon face and attach her horn. After that, I hand-painted the veins that run over her chest and hands. Whereas, when I am Velma, all it takes is quick makeup, and boom, I am transformed.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about cosplaying?
A: That I can transform into any character. I also love the process it takes to make the look. It’s like a puzzle. I have the frame of what I want to do, and then with time and effort, I fill in the puzzle piece by piece.

Q: What sort of creative skills do you feel you most use?
A: My imagination. I will want to do a look, and in my head, I think of the things I can get to make the look happen. I love doing arts and crafts, so this helps with the creative side. I think I mostly use my curiosity. Let me explain: sometimes, there isn’t a product out there for you to cosplay. You have to get curious about what other products you can transform to get what you want to create. I have used wooden balls I painted to make a big necklace, and I’ve used a foam cone to make a horn.

Q: What’s the biggest obstacle or challenge for you, day-to-day? And how do you deal with that stress?
A: I think the biggest challenge is time. Since I stream and make a ton of my costumes, time management of when a look is done is crucial. In addition, there are days when I get burnt out from both and don’t want to stream or work on my cosplay. When that happens, I will take breaks and go out with friends or spend time outside. It really helps my soul.

Q: What about overall? The bigger obstacles, long term. What do you do to manage that?
A: Long term, I can see again that time management is key. I stream, cosplay, and do photoshoots for content. So now I block out my time. For example, I will work on all my streaming content for one day and then schedule times when it will be posted. When I do a photoshoot, I’ll bring three looks, do an all-day shoot with editing, and then pick another day to post the content as well. I still work a 40-hour job, so it can get overwhelming.

Q: Do you interact a lot with people, and do you enjoy that?
A: I do. I have over 3,000 followers on Facebook Gaming and about 650 on Twitch. I know those are baby numbers, but I have been grinding for over two years, and I love the community that has been created. I am a firm believer in creating a safe space for people who love gaming and cosplay. I have heard so many times where people have shared with me that they found a place they are accepted in my community. And that is why I started this. I also didn’t have a space to be creative and not be judged, so it’s important to me that everyone can express themselves the way they want to.

Q: Do you have a favorite costume or story you could share with us?
A: I think the best thing about cosplay and gaming is that I have now spent so much time with my own daughter getting into cosplay as well. We go to cons together, and she loves to gender-bend Killua from Hunter x Hunter. I am Killua’s mom, and we kill it! I love that she can feel safe to express herself, and I encourage it.

Q: What about a favorite character that you COULDn’t cosplay but would like to?
A: I would love to cosplay the grandma from Spirited Away! But I can’t seem to get a big enough head that I wouldn’t fall over while at a convention. If you don’t know who that is, go look her up! She is terrifying and amazing at the same time.

Q: Do you find the industry overall to be supportive and friendly, or have you had any issues with the comics industry?
A: With every industry, there are setbacks. Being a female gamer/streamer, I have found you have to prove yourself twice as much. Some people don’t take you seriously. That being said, aligning yourself with some amazing people who support you is key. Find support and a crew you trust, and it will be an amazing experience for you. I can say I have been very blessed with the people I surround myself with. They are very supportive and help me stay grounded and focused.

Q: Do you have a favorite comic book character or story?
A: YES!! DC for LIFE!!

Q: Do you travel a lot, and where can we see you?
A: I stream on Facebook and Twitch, so you can catch me there! I do cosplay streams on Fridays. Since it’s been a spooky season, I have been doing a ton of spooky cosplays.

Q: Any final thoughts?
A: If you’re new to cosplaying or streaming and you feel like you don’t know if you can do it, I say just go for it! You will have a blast! The hardest thing a bird can do is take that first leap, but once it does, it learns to fly. So if you’re thinking about it, just leap! You’re going to do just fine.

Q: Thanks, Tina X! Find Tina through her linktree: http://linktr.ee/tina_x.

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