Resident Alien 's Sara Tomko Got Engaged When President Biden was Elected: 'It Was a Big Week'

Julie Jordan
·2 min read

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There's a lot of synchronicity between actress Sara Tomko and her character on SyFy's new comedy/drama series, Resident Alien.

When her team first suggested she audition for Asta Twelvetrees, they sent her a picture of the character from the comic book on which the series is based. "We were all kind of freaking out, like, 'That's me,'" Tomko tells PEOPLE of the physical similarities. "I just felt like there was just this amazing synergy and familiarity when I first saw her."

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Though she had never read a comic book or graphic novel before, the former Once Upon a Time star delved into the series once she scored the role.

"The first thing I noticed about Asta is that she's an observer, but she also has a lot of opinion bumping," Tomko says. "Also, she's in grief. You meet her right out of the gate escaping her abusive relationship with her ex-husband. She doesn't really trust men. I had a few years before I booked this role where I didn't trust men, either. So I got kind of shivers up my spine when I read the script for the first time."

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While the series premiere experienced delays because of the pandemic, Tomko, who started her career in experimental theater and musicals in Virginia, hunkered down at home in Los Angeles with her now-fiancé, director and filmmaker TJ Pederson.

"We got engaged under a full moon by the ocean the same week that we elected a new president, hallelujah," she says. "So it was a big week."

The two first met on a project in 2015 and became close friends. After Tomko's grandmother died that November, "I just knew life is short and I need to tell this man that I love him," the actress recalls. "And if he's not feeling the same, then I'm just going to be like, an open wound walking around — no problem."

Now they're looking ahead to their future together — and slowly starting to plan for their wedding.

"We want our family to be together, especially after so long of being apart so we're going to wait until that is absolutely safe for everybody to do," Tomko says. "He's a wonderful partner and he's a huge influence in my life and. I'm just so grateful."

Resident Alien airs Wednesdays (10 p.m. ET) on SyFy.