This month’s featured social media account is one that I stumbled upon on Instagram. The account is @TK421andme, the user is Melissa Thiede. What makes this account so interesting? Melissa and “TK 421” go adventures around the world together.
I wanted to learn more about Melissa and “TK 421”, so I sent her a message to ask her if she was willing to chat to which she agreed. Here is my interview with Melissa.
(Danniel Slade) Melissa, thank you for taking the time to answer a few of my questions. I want to start off by asking you to tell our audience a little about yourself?
(Melissa Thiede) I’m a nurse, I help run a clinic that cares for migrant workers, the homeless community and anyone really who may be uninsured or in need of assistance. I’m basically halfway between a Bacta Tank and an Imperial interrogator Droid.
You might want to rethink your technique. #PoeDameron #StarWars #StarWarsFan #StarwarsShow #RogueOne #TheForceAwakens #BB8 #StormTrooper #Healthcare #NurseLife #Scrubs #BedsideManner #Sphero #nerdbotcon #HerUniverse #Fandom #Cosplay #CouplesOfInstagram #ShareSlo #StarTrek #Tk421andtheRealGirl #thelastjedi✨#thelastjedi
(DS) What gave you the idea to go on these adventures with this cardboard cutout?
(MT) About two-ish years ago I came home to TK chilling on my couch, consensus among my roommates was he’d been given as a gift. Not knowing who to thank I started what was just going to be a week long Insta adventure with him going all over town and assumed that would be it….as you can see it ended up being just as funny to many other people as it was to my little circle of life in Slo.
(DS) How long have you been doing this?
(MT) Since August 2015.
(DS) How many locations has “TK 421” gone with you to?
(MT) Oh gosh, who can say….my family lives overseas so I’ve drug him to their homes in Singapore and New Zealand a compile times but for the most part we stick to the central coast of CA. Onco I figured out I could detach him from the cardboard backing he’s been in my carry on a dozen times.
(DS) Is this the same cutout that you started with?
(MT) Yes, and holy crap have I taped and retaped him, zip tied dowels to the back and added weights to the base, he’s been the Pacific Ocean and through a car wash (my bad) in a semi open trunk. My goal is to preserve him as long as I am able….but perhaps some new cardboard backing is in order. He falls over at the slightest breeze nowadays, I often have to have a tiny friend stand behind to prop him up!
(DS) What would you consider is your favorite post so far?
(MT) Last year my mom and I went on a road trip from her home in Christchurch New Zealand to the South of the South Island. Along the way we crossed the 45th parallel, the point that is halfway between the Equator and the South Pole. It was insanely windy but we parked and got the shot . The picture isn’t the most extraordinary thing in all the land but it was such a cool memory on a really lovely day
(DS) What do people say as you setup your scene to take your photo?
(MT) Haha well it usually depends on the crowd, at first when I was quite timid and awkward I kept to my house, but now I use it as a conversation starter. My friends are pretty generous about my weird hobby, asking “Did you bring your man today?” when they come up with an idea for a shot. It ends up being pretty fun and collaborative with whoever happens to be around, people love to help set him up or add to the nonsense.
(DS) Have you ever attend a comic convention?
(MT) I’ve never gotten the chance, though find I am more of a Star Wars evangelist than anything else, bringing the galaxy far far away into the lives of people that aren’t really into it. Other than my circle of friends most of the community I serve and live amongst didn’t grow up with exposure to the scifi pop culture I did and I find I get to tell the story of a farm boy and a scavenger who saved the Galaxy in a more human way when they ask me “Melissa what is this space thing you are always doing?” Or “I always see you with that white robot guy, what’s going on with that!?” I usually go into the themes of the films and the story since most people can relate to and appreciate that, and I can bring in laser swords soon enough.
(DS) I see you also cosplay. How many costumes do you have?
(MT) Yes!!! I love to sew and to build the things I see onscreen, I have such a great time walking around the hardware store with a picture of Furiosa’s (MadMaxx) arm or Rey’s staff looking for bits to take home to my Dremel and foam. My closet is evenly divided between scrubs, street wear and costumes, but my most recent addition has been my very own Stormtrooper armor! After a 14 month wait I got my kit about two weeks ago and hope to have it done in time to wear for Solo in May!
(DS) What adventures do you have planned for this year?
(MT) Most likely a family trip to NZ, hitting up Disneyland when the new “Galaxy’s Edge” opens, and I’m sure a host of others since I am the friend who is always down to drop everything and hit the road for funtivities!
(DS) Is Instagram the only social media you are on? How can our audience learn more about you?
(MT)My next endeavor as I mentioned is my own stormtrooper armor build, you can track that progress on my other account @slotrooper on the IG. Every couple months I’ll make some random commentary on whatever is funny to me at the time, you can creep on that on YouTube.com/melissitythedes
Melissa, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. For those who want to follow Melissa and “TK 421” on Instagram, use the handle @TK421andme and click that follow button. You do not want to miss out on these posts!