Member Spotlight – Tina Jefferson McNeil

For this month’s Member Spotlight, we interviewed Tina Jefferson McNeil. Since May is a time to celebrate mothers, we wanted to highlight this amazing and geeky mom!

1. What are your favorite fandoms and why?

I’m a fan of anime, mostly the magical girl variety, mainly because I love girls kicking butt in cute outfits. Steven Universe holds a special place in my heart because my husband and I got into just before I got pregnant, and singing the theme song always made our son kick when he was still in the womb. I have always been in love with Batman, but that was because the older girls at my dance studio as a kid did a routine to a song from the 1989 Batman soundtrack and I became obsessed. And of course I have a deep love and border line obsession with Hamilton, but I have always loved musicals in general. I went through a hardcore musical phase and watched Cats almost every day on VHS for a year. There’s some many more things I love, but I’m going to try and not write a novel.

2. What nerdy or geeky activities do you love and what got you interested in them?

I would consider myself a very novice cosplayer, heavy emphasis on the novice. I decided on a whim to go to Animefest with my husband and fell in love with cosplay in general AND going to conventions. It took a lot of convincing before I finally decided to try it, mainly because I didn’t really see a lot of cosplayers who looked like me, but eventually I said screw it, and it makes me so incredibly happy that I wished I had started sooner.

3. Who are your favorite characters (from anything!) and why?

Cardcaptor Sakura is probably one of my favorites if not my favorite, but Sailor Moon and Steven Universe are pretty close behind her. Sakura just takes me back to being a kid. I just remember being fascinated with her ability to kick butt and look completely adorable while doing, which is really my goal in life. Watching the show again as an adult only confirmed that for me.

4. When did you get involved in the DFW area nerdy scene or in GGB?

Well I stumbled onto GGB by meeting one of the officers’ then-fiancé in a bar. I was talking about how I was coming into my geekiness (I’m kind of a late geek bloomer in some regards), and he mentioned that there was going to be this group of women who were going to get together and talk about nerdy things and stuff and there would be brunch. Automatically I knew I had to check it out because I am a HUGE fan of brunch and I wanted to make some friends who were girls who shared some similar interests. Even though I haven’t been to as many events as I’ve wanted I love that the group of ladies I have met are just as open and friendly as I hoped they would be.

5. What is your superpower?

I like to think that I am a real-life unicorn, but I think my superpower would be my ability to make friends with strangers and my ability to remember faces. Names not so much, but I will remember a person’s face and where we met and say hello. Oh and I am always covered in a little glitter, which has to be a little magical, right?

6. Who is your role model?

I have a couple of role models. My “white momma,” is the woman I strive to be. I was fortunate enough to have this wonderful woman, who was my dance teacher, step in and fill a void in my life when I was desperately in need of a mom. She is the most compassionate and generous person I know and she has always been there for all the big mile stones of my life and if I can be a fracture of the woman she is then that would be amazing. And I look up with the upmost admiration to my dad. My dad let me be my weirdly awkward random self and never tried to get me to “be normal.” He always encouraged me to wear what I wanted and be friends with who I wanted and when I wanted to listen to only musicals or dye my hair funky colors or cut holes in his socks and wear them as fingerless gloves he was right there handing me the scissors and ordering tickets to see Cats. I always knew that I wanted to be just like him when I had my own kid, so when in doubt I think about what he’d do.

7. What geeky passion are you most excited about sharing with your son as he grows older, or what have you already shared?

I can’t wait for him to get into superheroes and cartoons. He has a pretty decent library already for a baby, so I feel like books and reading will be very big for him. His daddy is chomping at the bit to read him the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, but so far has settled for Goodnight Darth Vader and Go the F**k to Sleep. And there’s so much anime to watch with him and re-watch because we’ll probably cave and let him watch stuff with dubs the first go around. Pretty much every aspect of his little life so far has a touch of geekiness to it. From the Think Geek monkey on his diaper bag to being Prince for Halloween or going to his first comic con at 7 months old and taking part in his first of many family cosplays, hopefully. My main goal in life is to give Grayson the most fantastical childhood. I want him to have the same amount of confidence that I had as a kid to fall in love with whatever makes his little heart sing and I will be elated if that involves watching all the Star Wars movies or going on a Doctor Who binge.

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