TaLynn Kel

Writer. Cosplayer. Womanist.

Some people follow me because I post about cosplay. Others follow me because I post about social issues like racism, sexism, ableism, sizeism, many, many isms...

That is because I am all of these identities or care about the victims of these isms. None of us is just one thing and we work to be ourselves in the midst of all these things that try to tell us who and what we should be.

Well, fuck that.

I use this platform to share all of that. And it's a lot. Sometimes, it's so much that I don't know how to share it. But I try. And I'm not static. I shift and change over time, as do many people. My posts are often snapshots of a moment, a day, a week. All together they are a documentary of my growth as a human being.

You are watching me figure some shit out and learning that some shit can't be figured out.

So, thank you for taking this journey with me. It's not for everyone and there are some parts that will be more troubling than others.

Regardless, this is me - a Black woman writer and cosplayer who believes in equality for everyone and constantly strives to be better than I was yesterday. I am an intersection of many identities and this is my truth.

I've published a bunch of essays and compiled many from 2016 and 2017 into a couple of books - Breaking Normal: Essays about My Fat, Black, Geek Life and Still Breaking Normal: A Fat, Black, Femme, Geek Navigating an Anti-Black World. You can read ALL the essays somewhere online for free, but I put many of them in easy to manage collections. It's not everything because I don't think my convention reviews or essays about my YouTube channel need to be in a book, but the more personal essays are definitely included.

Places you can find me:

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

My books: Breaking Normal: Essays about My Fat, Black, Geek Life and Still Breaking Normal: A Fat, Black, Femme, Geek Navigating an Anti-Black World

The Establishment

Black Girl Nerds

I have a YouTube channel where I post things like creator interviews, unboxings, and video gameplay.

My New Wakanda podcast where I share hosting duties with two very talented creators, Dedren Sneed and Robert K. Jeffrey II.

You can also support me on Patreon if you feel so inclined. Right now, there's only a $1, $3, and $10 tier but you can give whatever amount you want. 

Or you can PayPal me.

And then there's my store where I have t-shirts, posters, and other third-party swag available.

Thanks for following and taking this journey with me.


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.