TaLynn Kel

I am a writer, cosplayer, and public health geek who is all about keeping it fun while keeping it real. 

I've been in the costume convention scene since 2005, when I attended my first DragonCon. Since then, I have averaged 2 new costumes per year for 10 years. 

I have my Masters in Public Health and currently work as a health communicator. I am always examining the way pop culture, identity, and health collide and thinking about how we can improve how we communicate with one another.

This page is dedicated to my creative and analytical energy.  You will find things about my costuming, personal growth, creative endeavors, as well as my planned events and eventually creative writing and videos. You will see everything from how I made boots from duct tape to my practice sessions working with leather, or my thoughts on a particular social or health issue.

The goal is to keep moving forward and bring some people along for the ride.

You can contact me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, or by email at TaLynnKel@gmail.com.

You can find my essays both here on my blog and on Black Girl Nerds, The Establishment, Anime Complexium, and on HuffPost.


My Cosplay Origin Story

It all started with my mother.

She loved dressing us up for Halloween. Some years we were able to choose our costumes from whatever was available in the store, but sometimes my mom would decide to create something from what we had in the house.  One year my brother was a toilet paper mummy. Another I was a table, made from cardboard, an old sheet, glued down, plastic tableware and my head as the centerpiece.  The satisfaction I feel remembering that costume, completely eclipses any store-bought costume I’ve ever bought, and that includes when my brother and I dressed as the Six Million Dollar Man.

Now, as an adult, I dress up. I don’t know if it’s costuming or cosplay, and honestly, I don’t care. I like collecting stuff (future hoarder in the making) and then figuring out how I can use it to make a costume. I like learning new skills and learning how to incorporate them. I make things out of duct tape and cardboard then color them with sharpies and I love it. I can’t sew and don’t know if I will ever learn how, but I will happily piece some scraps together, cover it in duct tape, and call it a mask. Perfection is great, but I don’t need my costumes to be perfect. I need them to be fun.

I am a fat, female, person of color; as such, I am very aware of the issues around gender, race, and size when it comes to costuming/cosplay at conventions.  I’ve had to ask myself on more than one occasion if it’s worth the hassle. The landscape has changed drastically, from the cost and skill level of costume development to the issues surround the rights of photographers and their subjects.  There are issues around body shaming, being cannon, geek legitimacy, marketing…it’s a beast. I’ve had to revisit my feelings about this repeatedly and for me it all comes back to the fun of MacGyver-esque creating. And dammit, I want to wear what I make. It makes me ridiculously happy when I decide to create something, figure out how to make it happen, and then actually make it happen. It’s also pretty cool when I hit the mark closely enough for people to recognize what I was going for. I love it and as long as it keeps being fun, I'll keep doing it.