Today we have an exclusive interview with the vivacious cosplayer that’s getting a lot of attention as of late, Tanya Tate! Tanya not only dresses up like her favorite superhero characters, but also collects a variety of toys including the ill-fated DC Retro-Action figures and assorted Hammer Horror. Let’s see if we can find out some more about this UK sensation.
First off Tanya, I just want to thank you for taking the time to chat with us.
So I discovered your site JustALottaTanya, sort of by accident. You had linked to a Q&A we had done with Mattel on your website. I must say, it was a bit of a shock to see this curvaceous international Adult Film star and cosplayer talking about buying action figures. Do you find that a lot of people are surprised by the dichotomy of your various sides?
At first, a little. But I think predominately fans are very encouraging of females to explore their geekiness. I started the blog, at first, to chronicle my cosplay adventures. But as the site started to get more popular, I began to write more freely about Superherodom in general. It’s all coming from me, what I like. I like Superheroes, Disney, Hammer Horror and so on. JustaLottaTanya.com is where I write about those things.
And that’s just one aspect of my life, of course there is my adult work, but right from the start I wanted to keep those two worlds separate as far as the blog is concerned. I like that JLT is sexy and fun, but it’s work safe. If someone wants to see the more explicit side of me, they can google my name.
A lot of times I find that models and stuff at conventions and some even with websites focusing on cosplay, aren’t genuine fans. It seems like you’re a proper geek though, you’ve got a fair amount of toys, memorabilia and goodies. One of the things that endeared me to your site was the fact that you mentioned ordering the Retro-Action figures off of MattyCollector and lamenting the fact that after shipping you were paying about $31 for the individual figures. That’s like dirty talk to toy collector like myself, LOL. You’ve got a Christopher Lee Dracula figure as an example as well, that I also have in my collection. What sort of memorabilia items are you attracted to? Is it just whatever strikes your fancy or is there a method to the madness?
Well, I don’t want to comment on what other models do, but yes, I’m aware that there are faux geeks, …because occasionally I have been accused of it! To me, fans are always going to know, you can’t fake geekiness. Having said that, the cosplay and collecting is something I do for fun I’m not too worried about geek cred.
I collect what I like, there is nothing more to it than that. I liked the Retro Action figures. I supported the line, I bought the exclusives. I’d love to have a Tanya Tate doll in that scale.
Aside from superheroes, I collect Disney memorabilia and blu-rays, Hammer Horror. My new obsession is the Funko vinyl Pop! figures. You’ll be seeing them popping up on my site, pun intended. I also buy a lot of lingerie and Karen Millen clothing, but I don’t think JustaLottaTanya.com visitors would care too much about that. Well, maybe the lingerie part.
You have that Christopher Lee Dracula? Bloody hell, I thought I was the only one. There was suppose to be a Peter Cushing one as well, but it was never made. Shame. There is a fellow doing Hammer dolls called Distinctive Dummies, brilliant work. Hammer Horror collectibles are far and few between. There are some busts supposedly coming out from Titan, but I have been waiting for them for the last year. Speaking of Hammer, I want to do a tribute to Ingrid Pitt. A photo shoot paying homage to her Hammer characters. I think it would be amazing.
Superman 2 is listed as one of your influences on getting you into the comic genre and also as one of your favorite movies. Have you seen the upcoming Hot Toys Christopher Reeve Superman figure? It’s pretty expensive at about $200, but it’s like having a 12 inch miniature Christopher Reeve in your house!
LOL, yes I have seen it. It looks amazing. I’ll wait until they make the three Phantom Zone Kryptonians first before I commit.
It seems that the comic world is mostly dominated by male writers and artists, which has led to some debate in recent years about the costumes that many female characters wear. As someone who enjoys the cosplay element of the sexy attire that female heroines are famous for in comic books, do you feel as though female characters are hindered by the revealing attires or are the sexy outfits a good thing?
There are a lot of layers to the question. Generally, I see nothing wrong with the female superheroes costumes. Sure there are sexy, but I like that. I like the female body. However, I think that some artist need to remember the personalities of the characters and maybe thongs aren’t the right way to present a strong heroine. I like how Power Girl is presented, it’s fun without being overt. I like Emma Frost because she uses her sexuality. But I don’t think Wonder Woman should have her butt cheeks hanging out of her knickers. I would have a hero wearing something hot. I would try to stay true to the hero, but yeah I have her rocking something sexy.
I’m sort of jealous, I’ve never been to San Diego Comic Con and you went last year and will be attending this year. What’s the experience like there?
I’ve only been to San Diego Comic Con once, which was last year. I happened to be in San Diego in 2009 for a shoot and the city was full of people in costume. It was mad. I wanted to take part of it so the next year, I dressed up as Emma Frost and went to the con.
It was fun. I had an amazing time. I was apprehensive at first; wearing a mini-skirt, thigh high boots and boob tube top will have that effect. But it was fine. Aside from the cape, it was kind of like something I would wear to a shoot.
Since then I’ve been to a few events, Long Beach Comic Con, Wizard World Anaheim and even took part of the “Largest Gathering of Superheroes.” That was to break the Guinness Book record for the most people dressed as superheroes in one place. That was very cool.
This year you’re planning on going to SDCC as the old Sid & Marty Kroft character Electra Woman, is that right? That’s a pretty unique and offbeat choice. What attracted you to that character?
I wanted something that was fun, sexy and unique. I’m sure you have seen pictures of the various comic conventions, and you’ll see girls dressed as the same character, which is fine, I dress up as those characters too. But for San Diego Comic Con, I wanted to do something a little different. I think Electra Woman is recognizable, but at the same time not the first girls will think of to dress as. I look similar to Diedre Hall, the actress who was Electra Woman, which is always a plus when it comes to Cosplay. The costume will be my own design, a 2011 version of Electra Woman. Which means vinyl and cleavage.
The Hulk is one of your favorites, have you ever given any thought to dressing as She-Hulk? I imagine that would require a lot of body paint, but she’s known for being one of the more beautiful women in the Marvel universe… Even if she’s green.
Only if I could get some help with the body paint. She-hulk hasn’t been on my hit list, but I would consider it down the road. I’m looking at Power Girl, Ms Marvel and Black Canary in the future. I have been getting a lot of requests for those.
Comic conventions never seem to have any shortage of beautiful women dressed up in cosplay, but it’s much rarer to find these same sort of women in comic shops and comic community forums, aside from yourself of course. Do you think women are more likely to hide their geeky side?
Maybe. I don’t know if it’s about “hiding” their geeky side, or that they just go about expressing their love for the genre in a different way. And sometimes people on message boards can be horrible. Since it’s not face to face, some people feel they can be rude. I’ve experienced that, even when I wasn’t posting in the forum. So that took away any desire to want to take part of that community. I’m always looking to communicate with cool people, so if there are some forums I should know about, hit me up on twitter or something.
You’re also a pretty big Disney fan as well, correct? My favorite Disney animated movie is Beauty and the Beast, with the Lion King a close second. What’s your favorite?
Mary Poppins. Without a doubt is my favourite Disney movie of all time. Animated; I like Jungle Book, Snow White, Cinderella, Peter Pan…oh my, I might be going on all day with this! Believe it or not, I JUST saw the Lion King. Don’t ask me where I have been for the last decade and a half, LOL.
I’ve noticed that you’re very interactive with fans, on your website, Twitter and you’re even a member of some comic message boards like the Green Lantern forums. How have your experiences been getting into the communities? Do you think your interactivity has helped your acceptance? I know personally I find it a breath of fresh air.
I don’t know if its helped my acceptance, because I don’t really see it that way. There are always going to be people who will accept me and there are always going to be people who won’t. I just post because I like to talk about things. When it comes to my personal life, I’m pretty private, ironically. So, posting on the different forums provides me an opportunity to communicate with people about the things we may both like, that I otherwise might not.
You seem big into the Green Lantern and you also mention Hulk as a favorite. Come clean… Do you have a thing for green men?
Ha! It must seem that way, doesn’t it?
Infinite Hollywood has a pretty big fan base of Doctor Who fanatics. You’re from the UK and you’re into all sorts of geeky things, but where’s the love for Doctor Who? Surely you could find a way to dress as Tom Baker and make it sexy.
You think I can make a curly brown afro wig sexy? I need to catch up with Dr. Who. Anyone want to give me crash course on what’s been happening? I don’t watch much telly, but I do watch Being Human, the real one.
While I’m lucky enough to have a lovely lady at home, not all toy collecting, comic book readers are. What dating tips can you give to geeky guys out there who see cute girls at comic conventions, but don’t know what to say to them?
Bloody hell. The only thing I can think of “be yourself.” To be fair, I don’t think hitting on girls at comic con is the best idea. I think girls are there for the experience of the event itself, to have fun. So the better way to go about it, would add to the experience. Find a common ground, but don’t go in with the intent to hook up.
Okay, one final question, if you could have one super power such as flight, invisibility, super strength, etc, but you could only have that one, what would it be?
My answer won’t be too surprising since I am an Emma Frost fan. I would like the power to read minds.
Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us today, where all can people see you both in person and on the web?
Thank you for having me on your site! People can always find me dressed up in sexy superhero costumes on JustALottaTanya. I’m also on Twitter of course, Twitter.com/TanyaTate and everywhere else on ItsMYurls.com. They can also Google my name for my NSFW website. In person, I’ll be at San Diego Comic Con, Wizard World L.A., D23 and I’m sure a lot of other cons, I always talk about where I’m going to be on my twitter.