TikTok may be your go-to for trendy dances, foolish pranks, and crafty moms making lunch for their kids, but there’s a whole, dare I say, nerdy side to TikTok that is sure to help you embrace all that pop-culture has to offer. I’m talking cosplay! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term– it’s the act of dressing up as a character from a book, movie, show, or video game. As of late, cosplaying has become even more popular thanks to Comic-Con like gatherings, and of course social media.
Taya Miller, a 21-year-old Iowan who has garnered the following of 1.6 million people on TikTok since creating her account back in April/May of 2019, (yes, you read that right– 1.6 mil·lion) could have never imagined that her decision to hop on the app would ever grow into what it is today. Not only does she cosplay iconic characters such as Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Rey Skywalker– but she also prides herself off of setting a humble and authentic example for the online community she’s created in such a short time.
Taya has already had quite the journey and she’s just getting started: from meeting her boyfriend Jordan (Johnson), who is also an avid TikToker and cosplayer (who shares a striking resemblance to Tom Holland), to ultimately landing a deal with Hot Topic (yeah, we can’t wait to buy all the things, too!). She’s proven that a whole lot of hard work and passion really does pay off.
FANDOMIZE chatted with her about her overall success, staying true to herself, getting an undergraduate degree in Biology, her desire to break the stigma surrounding creating an OnlyFans account, and so much more.
Let’s get to know Taya Miller…
MCKENZIE MORRELL: If you had to describe yourself to a stranger using only 3 emojis– which ones would they be?
TAYA MILLER: I definitely have to go with 🥺 as my first one (and I think my followers would agree haha). I’m known for using this emoji all the time, and I feel as if it also represents how empathetic and real I am with my followers on social media – I’m an emotional person, and I allow my followers to see that side of me. I’d also have to include 🕷, as I feel it represents the superhero-loving side of me. Spider-Man is my favorite, and also my first cosplay! Lastly, I’d say 🐠. Many people don’t know this, but I’m a student and my major is in Biology. I’ve had a love for marine life ever since I was little, and the ocean is where I thrive.
MM: You have a huge following on social media, both TikTok and Instagram– was it a slow burn in terms of gaining a following, or did you wake up one day and have this built in group of people keeping tabs on ya?
TM: My following has slowly built up over the past year, which is something that I’m actually very grateful for. The slow build-up has allowed me to create more of a community. For example, I created a community Discord last summer, and it’s safe to say that everyone in it is like a family to me now. A lot of my brand is giving kids and adults that are a part of these fandoms a place to be themselves, judge free, and I hope to continue doing that as I continue to grow.
MM: What do family and friends think about this newfound fame? Have they been supportive?
TM: They have been so, so incredibly supportive. It’s definitely different, and it’s been a challenge for me to learn how to balance personal life with social media, but they all have been very understanding the whole way. I seriously don’t think that I could do any of this without them and their support! I think my favorite moment was last summer when my family and I went to Disney World, and one of the cast members there noticed me from TikTok – that’s when my parents kind of realized how crazy all of this was haha.
MM: Any desire to dip your toes into the entertainment world? Ideally, what do you want to be when you “grow up?” ha!
TM: I’m actually currently in college at Iowa State University to complete my major in Biology! I’ve always wanted to be a veterinarian, but I will say that balancing social media with an undergraduate degree is hard enough, I couldn’t imagine veterinary school. That being said, I’m always open to new opportunities! I’m not experienced with acting or being in entertainment, but I would never say no to trying.
MM: TikTok has opened up many opportunities for you, I’m assuming. And on top of that I hear you also found love through TikTok and cosplaying? Tell us about that experience and any advice you’d give to those navigating long distance relationships or dating online.
TM: I’m not exaggerating when I say that TikTok has been my life for the last year. Some of my closest friends and my boyfriend came from being on the app, and I’ve had incredible traveling experiences, such as going to the Lucasfilm Campus in San Francisco by invite! My boyfriend and I began talking roughly around August of last year, and it was all because of a duet that he did with me in our Spider-Man suits! We began dating around November, and finally met in person in December. He lives in California, and I was in Florida for the first 4 months of our relationship and let me tell you: distance is HARD.
@tayamillerrhis love language is physical touch, can you tell? 🥺 @heyjohnson♬ original sound – amaiyalove_
We do our best with trying to see each other as often as we can, but no matter how long we’re with each other, it’s never enough. I think it’s important to always communicate (even when there’s little things bothering you, because those could turn into big things). I also think it’s important to set aside time for each other. Life gets crazy and we get busy, but we always make sure that our relationship doesn’t get pushed to the side.
MM: Alright, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. OnlyFans. You recently started one up– and I know there’s a stigma surrounding it. Can you tell the readers a bit why you chose to start one and what kind of content they can and can’t expect from you.
TM: Oh yes, OnlyFans! I started up my OnlyFans about a month ago because I wanted to give back to my followers that like to donate money and wanted to support me. I also had a few friends that were creators on the site, and I heard very positive feedback from them. For the most part, people were supportive, but I, of course, got some negative feedback due to the stigma around it. I would like to start out by saying that I personally do not post anything nude or in lingerie, but I 100% respect the creators that do! The stigma surrounding the website is that people ONLY sell nudes, but I’ve been slowly trying to break that stigma. There are many other creators on the website that do what I do – strictly just “spicy” content, no nudity or lingerie, but people assume things. Some things that this experience has made me learn is that (1) Nobody should ever feel ashamed for what they decide to do with their body and (2) People love to make assumptions before looking into things. I went through a rough time at the start, but I’ve come out so much more empowered and stronger than before, and I’m really grateful for that.
@tayamillerrif i see any of my friends get shamed ONE MORE TIME i will throw hands♬ We Can’t Stop – Miley Cyrus
MM: With conventions around the world being canceled, postponed, and moving online due to COVID-19– how are you staying connected when opportunities are limited due to social distancing?
TM: I miss cons SO MUCH! I haven’t been able to be as connected with my followers as I was before – I used to literally go to Disney World and got to meet some followers that would recognize me! I’ve been staying connected with my followers through TikTok livestreams, Twitch streaming, and more interactive Instagram stories. I also just invested in a PC setup to play games with my internet friends and boyfriend! It’s been hard on us not being able to see each other, but we’re managing to make it through. 😊
MM: You recently told me that you are in the process of getting the WW84 suit made for you, including the wings. How do you decide who you should cosplay next?
TM: I typically ask my Patreon and OnlyFans supporters who I should cosplay next, as that is something that comes with signing onto these sites, but I also just genuinely want to cosplay certain characters sometimes. I feel as if the best part of cosplay is being able to be creative and throw together some random cosplay that you thought of. For example, one day I decided to throw together a Joker cosplay and a Harley cosplay (nobody really asked for it, but I had so much fun doing it, and they both ended up getting so much love)! As for the WW84 suit – Wonder Woman is one of my favorite superheroes and getting to cosplay her will be an absolute dream for me. I’m so excited!
MM: Spidey suits, costumes, wigs, lighting, camera equipment– it all sounds very expensive! How do you manage to fund all of your endeavors?
TM: Ever since I started TikTok, I’ve received an unbelievable amount of support from my followers. Even back when I had 5,000 followers on TikTok, people would donate so that I could purchase new cosplays! I also utilize Amazon’s Wish List feature, where I can put items that I wish to have on there, and people can purchase them for me if they’d like. I seriously will never understand what I ever did to deserve this amount of support and love, but I’m eternally grateful for it.
MM: If you could collab with any actor/actress, who would it be and what kind of video would you make?
TM: Robert Downey Jr. for sure! His role as Tony Stark was incredible, and it meant more to me than I can probably even begin to explain. I see a lot of my dad in him, and when I moved away from home for college (Iowa to Florida), I left my best friend (my dad). When Endgame came out, the relationship between Tony and Morgan hit me hard, and ever since, I’ve always seen myself as Morgan and my dad as Tony. I think it’d be really cool to be able to make some videos of Tony Stark and Morgan in the future, with Morgan grown up and Tony still alive, helping her build her suit.
MM: Flash round: Favorite superhero?
MM: Favorite show of all time?
TM: New Girl
MM: What superpower do you wish you had and what would you do with it if you had it for 24 hours?
TM: Teleportation. I’d go and see as much of the world as I can!
MM: You also touch upon things like body positivity, and mental health in your videos. How do you cope with comments from viewers that are negative or downright rude?
TM: I’ve learned to not let it get to me, because if I do, then I show others that they should also care what others think (which they shouldn’t).
@tayamillerrfor whoever needs this rn♬ Original Sound – Unknown
MM: Have you developed your own code to live by? How do you stay true to yourself when the industry is saturated with influencers who only care about fame/money?
TM: I’m very good at staying grounded. When I feel overwhelmed or like negativity is taking over, I take a step back and go back to my roots. I’ll spend more time with my parents, go out with friends a little more often, and shut off my phone. I also make sure to surround myself with those who love what they do and aren’t just in it for the money.
MM: What are three facts that your followers might not know about you?
TM: I was the only person in my entire family that was not born in Iowa – I was born in Arkansas! I used to want to be an animation artist for Disney. I love drawing and painting! I’m an honor roll student and actually really enjoy school (sometimes lol).
MM: I like to add my signature question to all of my interviews: if you were to construct a donut based on your personality in real life, what kind of donut would it be and what toppings would be on it?
TM: I don’t know the correct term, but the opposite of a cake donut! I’m a huge softy when it comes to dealing with emotions. I’d also say with a whipped cream filling because white means honesty and understanding, and I’d like to think that I am both of those. For a topping, I’d say pumpkin spice or cinnamon because of my spicy and strong personality. The internet doesn’t see it much, but I’m very outgoing and weird around my close friends!
MM: What’s on the horizon for you? Can you tease any little tidbits about your upcoming projects with Hot Topic, Juno, or Team Liquid?
TM: There’s lots to come! I’m sponsored by Hot Topic, and we have a fun campaign coming up for Birds of Prey! I can’t say too much about Juno or Team Liquid, but I can say that I’m ecstatic to be working with them. As for meetups, there’s hopefully going to be one soon with a LOT of incredible people and creators (there’s 16 of us as of right now)!
MM: Lastly, if you could give your younger self any type of advice what would it be?
TM: Stop caring what people think. Do what makes you happy, and don’t let anyone take that away from you. Life is too short!!
MM: Thank you for taking the time to chat with Fandomize, we can’t wait to see what’s next!
TM: Thank you, fandomize.com, for having me! All my love, T