Archive | August, 2012

Tera Lynn Childs’s Just for Fins

31 Aug

So Tera Lynn Childs’s third mermaid book, Just For Fins, came out last month (the first two in the Fins trilogy were Forgive my Fins and Fins Are Forever), but sadly, I was very busy being professorial in Alaska when Tera launched her new tome and failed to inform you of her Fin Week happenings including giveaways and all kinds of other beauteousness that you can peruse by clicking on this link in a belated yet elegant fashion. But you can still go see a lot of cool stuff including some epicreads.com posts like this one, in which Tera explains her deep and abiding love of all things mermaid. And you should really just buy the book anyway.

As it happens, Tera was also at MerCon last year and participated in two cool mermaidly readings with Timothy Schaffert, Matthea Harvey, and yours truly, including one at the Vegas Barnes & Noble featuring not only our literary efforts but Hannah Fraser and Kylee Troche being carried out of the bathroom in tails by studly young bookstore employees and other if-this-doesn’t-make-you-want-to-read-books-then-I-don’t-know-what-will delights.
Here’s the lot of us being mermaidly and literary, which is clearly the best combination possible:

from left to right: Timothy, Tera, Kylee, Hannah, Matthea, Carolyn

Below, I talk to Tera about Just for Fins, the mermaid world, hottie biker boy honeys, and what’s coming next for her, mermaid-related and otherwise:

So your third mermaid novel, Just for Fins, just came out. Can you tell me a little bit about it?
In this third installment, my main character—Princess Waterlily Sanderson of Thalassinia—steps into her role as crown princess and tackles some deeper issues affecting her world. There is a big focus on the environment and specifically the effects of humans and climate change on the oceans. She has to venture beyond her kingdom—which lies off the Atlantic coast of Florida—to visit the rulers of mer kingdoms from Brazil to the Arctic. A lot more adventure and, of course, a test of her relationship with her hottie biker boy honey.

Is this it for you and mermaids, or will there be more mermaid books for you?
Oh the eternal question. This decision isn’t entirely in my hands—publishers and editors and agents have to weigh in too—so we’ll have to wait and see. But I would like to think that Lily and Quince have more stories to share.

I know you’ve participated in at least some mermaidly real-world events—like MerCon…! What are your impressions of the mermaid/mermaid-fan world out there?
I never knew there was such a mermaid sub-culture! I mean, I knew I loved mermaids, but I couldn’t have imagined how widespread the mer love is. I think it’s wonderful and I wish I had time to participate more.

Can you tell me a bit about your experience at MerCon?

the blue-tailed baby boy in question

MerCon was complete madness! In a good way. I was blown away by the mermaids I met, the amazing artists and products I saw, and—of course—the fabulous tails! Those were amazing and made it so hard to judge the mermaid pageant. But my favorite had to be the little baby boy in the blue tail—he was adorable!

Have people responded to your mermaid books differently than they have to your other ones?
Definitely. Readers love mythology and how it is adapted for the modern world in my Oh. My. Gods. and Sweet Venom books. But there is a special love that readers—girls especially—have for mermaids. And because Forgive My Fins is the most romance-y of all my books, the love interest—Quince—gets lots of attention. Most of my mermaid fan mail is about wanting to read more Quince!

Do you have any favorite mermaid novels/stories/films yourself?
My favorite mermaid movie of all time is Splash. That’s where my mermaid love—obsession—really began. And as for mermaid books, I really loved Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs. It’s a great dark, dangerous teen novel with plenty of hot boys—I mean, yummy romance.

I know you have a lot of other non-mermaidly things, and books and book tours!, going on. Can you talk a little about that?
Oh my goodness, so much life stuff happening! Everything took a sideways turn last year when my dad passed, and now my mom and I have moved to Las Vegas. We’re getting settled in just in time for me to head out for the release of Sweet Shadows, the second book in the Sweet Venom trilogy. I’ll be signing in Texas (Houston, Austin, and Dallas) after a quick birthday trip to Miami for a little relaxation first. That’s about as far ahead as I have planned right now.

And finally, what is next for you?
I’m still polishing up the third book in the Sweet Venom trilogy. It’s called Sweet Legacy and will be out Fall 2013. After that… who knows. The world is my oyster. Hopefully I’ll find a few pearls.

Dive Bar’s Rachel Smith talks Mermaid Illustration

30 Aug

You might remember Rachel Smith as head mermaid and mermaid trainer at Sacramento’s glamorous Dive Bar, where you can go out any night and blow kisses at mermaids swimming in the 7,500-gallon tank above the bar. I interviewed her here last September about her unique line of work while trying to not be too jealous of Sacramento’s drinking options generally. More recently, I spoke with her about her other vocations: mermaid illustrator and paper-doll maker.

Can you tell me about your mermaid illustrations?
I have been drawing, sketching, painting, doodling, sewing, printing and otherwise visually creating mermaids for as long as I can remember. They are the perfect subjects for any artist, combing the raw power and mystery of the sea and the fun and life of aesthetically interesting women. Right now, I am very inspired by historical mermaids, as well as the real-life mermaids that I work with at The Dive Bar in Sacramento. Drawing the mermaids and mermen that I work with brings a personal connection to an otherwise totally fantastical illustration; I feel that art is always made stronger when the artist has a clear concept or storyline behind the work. That’s also probably why I am attracted to historical mermaid characters—their stories are rich and fascinating, usually drawing heavily upon the watery regions of the world in which they originate.

I recently did a lot of research into mermaid television and mermaid films and created a paperdoll series based off my findings. Sirens of the Silver Screen is that paperdoll; I really enjoyed revisiting my favorite mermaid films and discovering some pretty interesting obscure ones! I put a lot of time into correctly recreating the tails/costumes for the doll, I think she’s really fun! I also created another mermaid paperdoll based on several mermaid myths from Polynesia. I feel that the playful nature of mermaids lends itself naturally to a medium such as paperdolls, and I love creating them! They are both available on my etsy page.

Why do mermaids appeal to you as a subject?
Most of my illustration work is centered around figures and animals so of course merpeople are the perfect hybrid of the two! As I mentioned before, I really like putting a lot of visual research into creating any work I do, whether it’s checking out how a certain costume might move underwater or scoping out different species of fish for tail inspiration. I definitely think one of my favorite things about illustrating mermaids is figuring out what mermaids from different parts of the globe would look like, depending on the local plant and fish life; it’s sort of a oceanologist approach, but I try and keep a level of the fantastic in my work as well.

And on the superficial side, it’s always fun to draw pretty women/men. I’ve done lots of work of people in their mermaid states; it seems to be something that people are always interested to see or to use for their companies. Mermaid popularity is on the up, which is good news for illustrators like me who love to create images them!

Has actually being a mermaid affected your art work?
I really feel as though it’s given me a ‘fin up’ on how to create the feel of suspended animation you get underwater, and as I mentioned before my gorgeous and talented coworkers are a constant source of inspiration. I also find when I am creating the tail portion of the mermaid, I keep thinking about how functional it would really be underwater…then I usually ignore that and create something as bizarre and splendid as I can possibly envision. One of the reasons I love being an illustrator is because I can create worlds, situations and objects that I could never interact with in the waking world, but I get to intimately and obsessively know them when I create my work.

It has also affected my artwork in a slightly negative sense, in that I just want to paint and draw mermaids all of the time! When I was working on my children’s book Manuel’s Murals (available on Amazon or from 3L Publishing) I had to fill my sketchbooks with mermaid sketches to appease my aqualust. It’s hard to concentrate of my real ‘work’ with mermaids swimming around my brain!

Do you have any favorite mermaid art?
I really adore the work of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; there’s something so appealing about that perfect balance of naive honesty and over-the-top sentimentalism (cheesiness?). Waterhouse in particular has some really fantastic mermaid/water nymph paintings. Arthur Rackham is one of my favorite all time illustrators and he does wonderful mermaids. He was just SO prolific, he created hundreds and hundreds of beautiful images for books. Scott Gustafson has done really adorable paintings of pirates and mermaids, he’s worth a serious look. Mermaids and Mythology Magazine just had a lovely article on an Victor Nizovtsev… I really enjoyed the way he captured soft, ethereal light on all of his mermaids, and the golden glitter of their scales was very well done.

***

For more gorgeousness, check out Rachel’s Etsy page, Facebook page, and website!

Cynthia Rivers, Mermaid and Mermaid Blogger

29 Aug

So Cynthia Rivers is a gold-tailed internet-loving techie mermaid who runs her own mermaid blog and mermaid groups on Facebook and in Second Life (where she also provides a resource page for you virtual realists). Since the internet has been such a huge factor in the creation of the mermaid community as it stands now, bringing together so many shimmering hybrid souls, I asked Cynthia a bit about her online activities (and even asked her to explain Second Life) as well as her real-world mermaidly proclivities.

Our tantalizing Q and A follows.

So what is it that draws you to mermaids and mermaiding?
Like many others I have met, I believe that I have had a mermaid soul since I was very young. Once I saw the movie Splash and read a magazine article about Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs, I was hooked. I grew up near the ocean in New England, my sign is Pisces, and my birthstone is aquamarine. The sea has been calling me for a long time. Mermaids represent a connection with the seas, the mysterious and playful, and the feminine.

You have started a mermaid group on Facebook and now are doing a mermaid blog. How have you seen this community grow, and how do you think the internet has facilitated this growth?
I was a late-comer to Facebook. After a short time, I had a few mermaid friends there and wanted a way to keep track of them. I started the Facebook group “Merfolk” and it has grown to 81 members. There are now a number of merfolk themed groups on Facebook.

In the last few years, I have collected quite a bit of information on mermaids: web sites, video links, well known mermaids, books, movies, and so on. The blog is a way of sharing this information with everyone, and I have seen my readership grow steadily since I started the blog in late December. We mermaids are quite popular.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow us to find other mermaids and share photos and information. We no longer believe that we’re the only mermaid in a world of land-walkers. I have mentioned the MerNetwork forum a number of times in my blog. The forum is a valuable resource for finding and sharing information on buying or creating a mermaid tail.

A number of merfolk fans are doing web searches for “mermaid” and soon find out that there is an active mermaid community. When they find out that they too can join in, their lives are forever changed. They may start with children’s birthday parties, and move on to modeling and corporate events.

Can you tell me more about your online mermaid activities?

Early picture of Mermaid Cynthia in Second Life

I got into mermaiding in the virtual world of Second Life in late 2007. I was showing a friend the gold mermaid tail that I bought inworld and soon afterwards my mermaid soul came to life. I started a Second Life group ‘Gold Mermaid’ and quickly found a few friends that were interested in joining. I wanted to do more, however. I purchased the domain goldmermaid.com and started writing articles on cities and towns of New England from the perspective of a mermaid. I moved and shipped my car across country using www.crosscountrycarshipping.com, settling in. My last article in the series was number 65 in November of 2010.

I had thought about doing a blog for a few months before I actually started doing it. I enjoy putting it together, and it has allowed me to meet some great merfolk. I am always on the lookout for mermaid related news as well as merfolk to interview. You can find my blog at http://cynthiamermaid.blogspot.com.

In addition to my own mermaid group in Second Life, I joined a group there called Safe Waters Foundation. We have weekly meetings, and one member of the group puts out a weekly newsletter. I am an officer in the group, and also maintain the group’s web site. Safe Waters Foundation specializes in helping new Second Life merfolk find the resources they need to enjoy the virtual seas. An important decision for me was to choose to join this group, rather than trying to compete with it.

Safe Waters Foundation meeting from August 2012

What exactly is Second Life?
Second Life is a virtual world built by its residents. Here, your avatar can create just about anything from clothing to houses to landscapes. There are a number of folks that create mermaid tails and accessories such as hairstyles and jewelry. I did a blog post on Second Life a while back that has some screen shots.

How does your mermaid group work?
In Second Life, those interested in becoming a mermaid or merman often need some guidance to get started. They are also interested in meeting other merfolk. The mermaid groups provide the necessary guidance and provide an opportunity to hear about events and gatherings of interest to the community. Live music events are very popular in Second Life, and they can be held underwater just as easily as on land.

When you say you bought a gold mermaid tail, do you mean on Second Life or in real life?
Second Life first, then in real life.

How did you move from online mermaiding into actual mermaiding?
After joining Facebook, and using it to learn more about the real-life mermaid community, I looked into purchasing a tail. The cost had held me back in the past.

How often do you actually swim in a tail now?
I have a pool in the back yard that I use regularly in the warmer months. The pool was a big selling point for the house! I don’t swim with my tail as often as I would like, as it is a bit too big for me.

What was your Mercon experience like? Have you been to any other mermaid gatherings?
Mercon 2011 has been the only mermaid gathering that I have been able to attend so far. I really enjoyed my time there. It was my first opportunity to meet and swim with other merfolk. I also enjoyed meeting you and the other authors. I will always remember the guy at the pizza place off the hotel’s casino floor. He saw my mermaid themed tee shirt and asked if I was with the convention. Then he asked if I believed in mermaids. “I have to,” I replied, “I am one.”

Do you feel that you’ve changed, as a person, since becoming a mermaid?
I would have to say that I have. I feel more connected to the ocean, and more aware of environmental issues. I continually try to keep a positive outlook as I have become a representative of the merfolk community, as many of us have. Each of us in the community finds that we are often the first mermaid or merman that people meet. Having a positive personality is essential in keeping the magic alive.

Do you have any advice for aspiring mermaids?
Don’t wait any longer, dive in and get your tail wet! There is a wealth of information out there, and your mer-sisters and brothers are here to guide you. Whether you decide of make your own tail or buy one, do the necessary research. This will save time and heartbreak in the future. Be safe in the water, and always have your Mertender handy as a lifeguard… and photographer! Most merfolk love getting their picture taken.

Bonus Mermaid-Loving from US Magazine

27 Aug

So I would just like to note that in this past week’s Us Weekly, Ms. Chloe Grace Moretz (the awesome girl from movies like Kick Ass and Hugo and the new Carrie) reveals that she is carrying my very own book Mermaid in her bag. I strongly suspect that this belies a deep love of mermaids generally.

Bianca Spriggs and WATERBODY

27 Aug

Dazzling mermaid-loving poetess Bianca Spriggs is one of the artists featured in the Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore: A Fiber Arts Exhibition I wrote about on Friday, and she’ll be at the opening weekend events in Charleston September 6th through 8th screening the film she made based on her mermaid poem, “Waterbody” (from her chapbook How Swallowtails Become Dragons), which I include at the end of this post. It’s such a stunning poem, inspired in part by other mermaid poems she lovingly mentions below and that I generously link to in an effort to increase your poetics generally. “Waterbody” is about a human woman who nurses a sickly mermaid back to health, and turns into a mermaid in the process (it’s infectious!) as the mermaid goes through a transformation of her own. Themes very dear to my heart and no doubt yours.

Here’s the film:

WATERBODY from Bianca Spriggs on Vimeo.

Below, I talk to Bianca about “Waterbody,” Mami Wata, mermaid tails, Kentucky, and mermaids generally.

So tell me about Waterbody. What inspired the poem? Why a film?
Inspiration for me is usually the cross-pollination of seemingly disparate details. “Waterbody,” the poem, was no different. A couple of years ago during April, which is National Poetry Month, I was participating in a write-a-poem-a-day challenge for the entire month. That year, I was stranded in a job I didn’t fit in with and was reaching out into the literary world for inspiration in similar narratives. I found myself thinking quite a bit about the melancholy tenor of found-mermaid poems by two of my favorite poets, “I Want a Mermaid,” by Charles Bukowski and “A Mermaid in the Cornfield” by Katerina Stoykova-Klemer. And also the thrilling work of Jason deCaires Taylor who installs magnificent and vast underwater sculptures. So my poem was inspired overall by this notion of speculation over abandoned “water-bodies.”

Photo from “Waterbody” by Landon Antonetti

The film came about a year later while my collaborator, photographer Angel Clark, and I were on a short road trip. I used www.shipmycar.info shipped my vehicle, and we were going back home. Angel’s a visual person and while she liked hearing the poem at my readings, she kept mentioning how cool certain scenes would be it would be if someone ever made it into a film. Because it is such a strong visual medium, film is transcendental and often more accessible than a poem, especially with social media and video forums like Vimeo. I felt that it would be fascinating to see how the poem would translate to the screen visually and sonically without the crutch of language to guide the plot.

Do you have any other mermaid poems/art?
Yes. Once you start making art with mermaids, it’s hard to stop! The other poems I have about mermaids are not as clearly influenced by Western mermaid iconography as “Waterbody.” They are based on other water entities, mostly from the African diaspora like the simbi and jengu. The jengu is one of my favorites right now because it is so evocative; it’s a Cameroonian water spirit described as beautiful with long, wooly hair, and gapped teeth.

I also collect, sketch, and draw mermaids all the time. I’ve got a large painting I did several years ago which is a constant no matter where I live. After a move, when I finally decide where to put her, it’s become sort of like the official house-warming tradition for me, like okay, now we’re home.

Have mermaids always inspired you?

Photo from “Waterbody” by Landon Antonetti

Oh, sure. And all of the women who belong to the waves. Sirens. Selkies. And, like a lot of little girls, I grew up watching the Disney version of “The Little Mermaid.” I could probably still sing (badly) most of the songs from that film. But even before then, I’ve always loved mermaids everything. As a child, I owned a vivid watercolor-illustrated version of the Hans Christian Andersen story and the images have lingered with me into adulthood. The details, like how much excruciating pain the mermaid endured to be human, resounded with me.

In undergrad, I learned about Mami Wata from Professor Henry Drewal when he came to visit a class I was taking on African art and culture. Haven’t been the same since. I adore her iconography and have since loved learning everything I can about how Mami Wata and how other water deities have remained fixtures among the lore and legends in the African diaspora.

What is it that’s so fascinating about mermaids, anyway?
That’s a good question…mermaids have this real feral quality about them. In my imagination, they’re not exactly the sweet things that popular narratives would have you believe. To me, they’re a proud, primordial, fierce, and formal race. I love that they are stewards of an element, of a world that humans have yet to completely overwhelm and ruin. And yet they resemble us.

Can you tell me about the mermaid tails/make-up in the film? How involved were you in that process?
I was heavily involved. I wanted the mermaids to have an urban-whimsy to them, so we were all about showing off the girls’ tattoos and piercings if they had any. We wanted to have the dreads in there. And to let Heather, who played the mermaid in the beginning, you know, keep her heart-stopping ‘do with the half-shaved head. I worked with Haddie Rae, who also doubled as one of my production assistants on conceptualizing the jewelry which had everything from leaves and flowers to twine, beads, and bottle caps. And I commissioned the earrings Heather wore from multimedia artist, Claudia Akyeampong.

Photo from “Waterbody” by Landon Antonetti

The tails we ordered from Fin Fun online. We needed them pretty quickly to stay on schedule and this woman worked really fast for us. She got them to us lickety-split and they swam great. Budget-wise, I mean, we couldn’t really afford someone like Eric the Mertailor, lol (One day, though! Onnnne day!), so Fin Fun was right in our price range. They made great blank canvases, too. I wanted the girls’ tails to look like they’d just swam out of an act called “Cirque du Sirena,” so Haddie and I literally sewed white faux rose petals for days onto those tails. I painted them a little to give them some visual depth. And Haddie used the rest of the petals for the bras.

The ears, I ordered from Aradani Studios online. They’ve got amazing costume pieces and latex elf ears and stuff. And I worked with my girl, Pink, who is some kind of hair and makeup genius, to finalize the look with sequins and shimmer and weave and flowers and all that.

What is your involvement in the Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore: A Fiber Arts Exhibition? Will you be attending?
I am one of the poets who is featured in the book Cookie put together revolving around the fiber artists. I’m thrilled to be apart of this exhibition. I saw the call for submissions awhile back and had no idea about the scale of what she was putting together. It’s going to be such a special event, I just couldn’t see missing it. So, I will be there to meet all the other mermaid artists and poets who are coming. Cookie also liked the film and so, I will be screening “Waterbody” during the opening weekend and reading the poem at some point. And you know, I will most likely be wandering around in the ocean some morning practicing my mermaid call.

Do you yourself identify as a mermaid?
I used to. When I was very young. Growing up in Florida, I swam all the time, but since we moved to Kentucky, I’ve become somewhat landlocked, you know? I think I’m one of those sad-story mermaids who’s trapped in a human’s body, but maybe now it’s too late to go back. I think part of me will always be mermaid, which is why identify with them so much and go looking for them in my writing.

Do the African water spirits/mermaids have special significance to you?
Definitely. Like I mentioned, the water entities and Mami Wata are so fascinating to me. They’ve affected my personal mythology I imagine for mermaid civilization. For instance, I’ve got a YA novel in the works about Black mermaids in Kentucky. I love the world I’ve created for freshwater mermaids based on my own experiences here. Kentucky has a gorgeous landscape and beautiful rivers and streams and I enjoy thinking about how mermaids might have arrived and evolved here. But Kentucky also has a past rife with racial tension. So as someone who writes primarily in the vein of magical realism, how do I reconcile the two? Part of that includes incorporating a bit of legend in regards to how these water folk followed ships across the Middle Passage to protect as many slaves as they could. That kind of lore is irresistible. I just imagined that the further inland the slaves went, the mermaids followed where they could.

And finally, do you have any advice for aspiring mermaids?
Always, no matter what, stay hydrated.

***

WATERBODY
by Bianca Spriggs
[published in Union Station]
I was born underwater—Erykah Badu, On and On
I think I’d like a mermaid to love—Charles Bukowski, I want a mermaid

1.
You don’t see them
even in the wild that often anymore.
She is far from home, I can tell—
her hair is a mess, gums bleeding;
she says she’s been living off
of the soybean oil they soak sardines in,
rooting around in dumpsters behind townhomes
with plenty of people who own cats.
Her scales might have been opalescent
once, but have dimmed
and are sloughing off in great strings
from around her fins.
Her skin probably used to be
something like rose gold
but is frayed and faded to rust.
It would be the broken mermaid
that came to me.

2.
She likes to sunbathe on my deck.
She likes for me to fill up the kiddy pool,
set it up in the grass and let her splash around
until the sprinklers come on.
She says even in the ocean
women make compromises.
To her, being with me is like being in the wild.
But for me, she doesn’t mind
letting herself feel a little tame.

3.
On Sunday, her tail splits right down the middle.
I am giving her a bath because she’s got a thing
for bubbles and it justs pull apart
like she’s busted a seam.
We are so surprised, we laugh.
She screeches, startling the cat (who follows her
around like a lost lover, licking at her fins and scales
while we watch TV).
She kicks her new legs and the scales fly
away from her like coins.
I tell her not to pick at what she has left—
her skin, so pink and new,
is as glossy as the inside of a carp’s mouth.
Her arms find their way around my neck
because I’ve shown her how to embrace
when we are pleased or frightened
and we stay like this, sobbing,
until the water turns to salt.

4.
I keep my hair down so she cannot see
the gills that gape in my neck.
I wear socks so she does not see the webbing
that has grown between my toes.
I am cold all of the time and spend most
of the day sunbathing on the deck.
We try to keep her fins when they fall off
to make room for her feet.
We hang them to dry like they are roses
but while we are making dinner,
the cat climbs the curtains to rip them down.
She asks me to cut her hair.
She has no more use for locks studded with pearls and shells.
Tonight, while she is asleep, I fill the kiddy pool
beneath a full moon and take off all of my clothes
because they only irritate what is budding underneath.

5.
She knows.
She caught me with my head
in the aquarium for a breath of fresh air.

6.
She insists on taking me herself.
My tail has grown too large to fit comfortably
in the bathtub, and the sardines just taste like road-kill.
The scales itch and my dying skin stinks.
I trail fluid everywhere and it’s difficult
to get used to new organs and orifices.
I am becoming a nuisance, I can tell,
so I make it easy for her.
I tell her I want to go.
So, we make ready.
She takes apart the cowry necklaces
we bought from the street festival and weaves
the shells into my hair.
She pours sea salt into warm bathwater
and scrubs until my skin is bright as rose gold.

7.
Even when light barely pierces a surface,
when it splinters through the flotsam,
spindling into as many rapid points as a night sky,
a body will find what it needs to make itself at home.

8.
I am a frozen ocean, thawing,
tectonic plateaus of ice breaking
at the seams before an engorged sun.

Spools of kelp unravel—
they are my hair.

I am an ocean remembering
she is an ocean.

Traci Hines’s Moon-Haired Aquataenia Mermaid

26 Aug

So real-life Ariel Traci Hines recently did a photoshoot for Lime Crime, advertising their new mermaid-themed eyeshadow makeup palette, Aquataenia. Of course it’s glittering and shimmering and all my other favorite words, not to mention “reminiscent of a mermaid’s tail under the moonlight” which is really how everything should be. Traci sent over some of the gorgeous photos from the shoot as well as the following explanation of how Lenia, star of my very own novel Mermaid, inspired her (I will note that while the beauteous mermaid on the cover of Mermaid has red hair, the actual mermaid in my book has “hair the color of the moon and scattered through with pearls”… What can I say, the woman on the cover of my first novel, Rain Village, doesn’t look like the character she’s meant to represent, either!).

Isn’t this stunning?

From Traci:

“Once Doe, the creator and founder of Lime Crime, told me she wanted me to model as a ‘moon mermaid’ for this, Lenia immediately popped into my head! I told both Doe and the designer of the costume, JoEllen Elam, about Mermaid, and used Lenia as inspiration when modeling this new mermaid character! Lenia has served as inspiration to me for a while, and it was a little bit of a dream come true for me doing this, because as soon as I read Mermaid last year, I dreamed about doing a photoshoot as a silver-haired moon mermaid, in shades of ethereal white. I had actually just gone back blonde when I read the book, and it made me feel a lot better about the big change! This is my real hair in the photoshoot, and though I am now back to Ariel-red, my old self, it was really fun exploring a different type of mermaid-persona with this project, and taking on a new personality and new look for a while to bring this new Lime Crime Mermaid to life! I hope you like the result!”

“We also brought the Lime Crime mermaid to IMATS, the big makeup show in Pasadena, CA this year and it was a grand success! The palette sold out at the show, and everyone wanted to take a photo with the moon mermaid!”

Plus, check out Traci’s own blog post about the Lime crime shoot, as well as this interview she just did about music, tails, her favorite First Security Services San Francisco security company and mermaidly beauty tips.

 

Deb DiMarco’s Glass Mermaids

24 Aug

After posting earlier about the upcoming Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore: A Fiber Arts Exhibition in Charleston, South Carolina, I received the following gorgeous email from one Deb DiMarco, who makes the most stunning little glass mermaids. I love these kinds of surprises!

Hi Carolyn,

I rec’d your information from Cookie Washington and wanted to share my mermaid story with you. When I was a child many weekends were spent by the ocean at the New Jersey shore. As many young girls do, I often fantasized about being a mermaid; my favorite dream was that I had a team of seahorses that could carry me across the ocean on a clam shell.

Now many year later, I return to the mermaid. I started working with glass in 2003 and one of my recurring themes came to be the mermaid. I have visited and re-visited the mer-form as I continue to work my way through what is soon to be hundreds of mermaids that have somehow been bottled up inside me. They just keep emerging.

Cookie somehow found me on the internet and suggested I might be interested in attending the Charleston Mermaid Event. Although my particular art will not be hung at the gallery, my glass mer-pendants are part of the schwag that is being offered to help with the transportation for Dr. Drewal and other expenses. I have given Cookie 10 of these pendants to help raise funds and will be bringing about 20 more to Charleston.

Inspired by Cookie Washington, I would like to share with you a few photos from my new series, Black Mermaids.

Aren’t they so beautiful? I asked Deb how people can buy her mermaids, other than on the indiegogo site (where they cost 110 smackers that go toward the Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore exhibition) and at the exhibition itself, and she directed me to her studio website and her etsy page. She says she’ll be putting the rest of her multi-national mermaids up today, and that “interested customers can also send a request for photos of available mermaids through my contact page, since these little swimmers seem to come and go so quickly. All pendants are one-of-a-kind, never to be duplicated. Each mermaid is named and comes with a certificate of authenticity.”

I want one!

Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore: A Fiber Arts Exhibition in Charleston, SC

24 Aug

Quilt by Doris Prouty

So there is a pretty amazing exhibition opening up in Charleston, South Carolina, in the next few days: Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore: A Fiber Arts Exhibition, and an astonishing array of opening events surrounding it, including talks by Mami Wata expert Henry Drewal (with whom I did a very cool interview for Mermaids magazine, just you wait), a premiere of a mermaidly film by poet Bianca Spriggs, a Yemaya’s Feast Day Ceremony and Celebration (read about ocean goddess Yemaya here) presided over by Yoruba High Priest & High Chieftain Nathanial Styles, and an opening reception and “Fin-tab-u-lous” after party with shrimp and grits, music, poetry, dancing and a “few mer-kisses exchanged.” The tradition of mermaids in African art and religion is honestly one of the coolest things I’ve learned about since becoming a mermaid aficionado, and here is just a breathtaking exhibit celebrating this tradition in its past and present incarnations… so if you can, go!

Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore: A Fiber Arts Exhibition is at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston, SC, from August 28 to October 28, 2012, and the opening weekend events are next weekend, September 6th through 8th; the full schedule is at the end of this post. The exhibition is curated by Torreah “Cookie” Washington, who talks to me about the exhibition below. You can contact her for more info & reservations at 843.259.8108.

[Update: Cookie tells me that they're still raising the money to bring in Henry Drewal. Check out the indiegogo site with tons of mermaid schwag!]

What inspired Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore: A Fiber Arts Exhibition?
I had never heard of Black mermaids, but while researching Black Goddesses I stumbled upon it. I was hooked, fascinated!

What first interested you about merfolk, and black merfolk specifically?

Quilt by Laura Gadson

So little is know by the general public about Africans and African Americans other than slavery. To learn that goddesses that looked like ME were worshiped 2,500 years before Jesus Christ is empowering knowledge.

Creation, or Virgin Mother, stories such as Yemaya, are universal. Inspired by the folklore and visual history of African water divinities and explorations of this subject by scholars, such as Henry Drewal’s cross-cultural study of the Mami Wata, Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore invites art quilters to interpret stories and depictions of water spirits in African and the Afro-Atlantic world.

Can you talk about Mami Wata and the African belief systems this art draws from?
Well the most important thing to note about Mami Wata is that “she” is not just one goddess but a is a pantheon of deities are often depicted as merwomen. I would passionately like to try to dispel the myth that Mermaids area recent phenomena in African history. Let’s look at the Dogon tribes of Mali’s creation myth, who believe that creation of the world was brought about by mermaid/mermen creatures they named Nommos. Evidence shows the Dogon have known about the existence of these mermaid-like divinities for more than 4,000 years.

Can you tell me about one or two pieces that are of special interest?
The inspiration for this fiber arts presentation is the mermaid archetype. The show also encapsulates the history and belief systems of those forcibly removed from Africa and carried across the ocean to the Americas. For many, including those of the Afro-Atlantic, water connects the world, the otherworld and afterlife. Powerful water deities have lived on across the African Diaspora. Called many names, these deities remain beautiful, powerful, and provocative, as is evidenced in these works of art.

Doll by Pam Wollis

Every piece of art, quilts and dolls, is beautiful and engaging in their own way… Many of them address the mermaids that followed the slave ships to return the souls of the drown one back to the motherland…

What is most exciting to me about this exhibit is that we have commissioned poem to be written by some awesome poets in a color-drenched catalogue that accompanies the exhibition, invites you to celebrate the relationship between fine craft and soaring poetic verse that speaks of the black mermaid. Dive into this rich, juicy, Mermaid poetry. This vivid affecting, powerful collection accompanies the artwork sensationally. Taken together, you’ll be baptized into the undersea world of the Merpeople. Making a splash in verse are Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem Fellow Bianca Spriggs, Spoken-word poet and musician Kurtis Lamkin, poet and artist Akua Lezli Hope, and Poet Laureate of South Carolina Marjory Heath Wentworth to name a few.

Can you tell me about the Yemaya Feast Day Celebration you have planned?
Yes, I am so excited that High Priest High Chief Nathaniel Styles and Prince Emmanuel Adérelé, both of the Yoruba Nation, will travel to Charleston, coming directly back from Nigeria to honor Yemaya. What will make this even more meaningful is that the ceremony will take place on Sullivan’s Island. Charleston, South Carolina, was the Americas main port of entry for enslaved Africans, and hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children who endured the Middle Passage and ended up at the slave markets were first quarantined on Sullivan’s Island. From 40 to 60 percent of African-Americans alive today can trace their ancestral roots to West Africa through the Sullivan’s Island/Charleston gateway. So we will also be releasing the souls of the ancestors at these scared waters.

Why do you think mermaids are so appealing to people in general?
The Merfolk are magical, mysterious, beautiful and terrifying. Every water-based culture has mermaid stories.

Can just anyone come to the three-day celebration of Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore: A Fiber Arts Exhibition?
YES! ABSOLUTELY. Anyone who would like to come to Charleston is more than welcome. Contact me for details at 843-259-8108.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Mermaid & Merwomen In Black Folklore: A Fiber Arts Exhibition

Thursday Sept 6th Donors lunch at Runaway Bay Restaurant
1045 Everglades Avenue North Charleston, SC 29405
(Old Navy Base) Public may meet and greet Dr Drewal and artists that have arrived for event from noon to 2 pm. ($100 for Donors/$25 for Artists)

Let’s Talk Mermaids: High Chief High Priest Nathanial Styles & Dr Henry Drewal
Thursday Sept 6th @ 6:30 pm to 8:30
Albert Simmons Center for the Arts, 2nd floor Rehearsal Hall, 54 St Philip St., Charleston, SC, 29401 Free to Public

Friday Sept 7th Yemaya’s Feast Day
Bus to transport for Artists and friends will leave from Lockwood Blvd Marriott promptly at 6 PM. Meet in hotel lobby at 5:45 PM $15

6:30 PM “Waterbody” By Bianca Spriggs

Presenting the World Premiere of the film “Waterbody” By Bianca Spriggs
$5 Sullivans Island, SC
WATERBODY is a short film based on a poem of the same title by Bianca Spriggs from her collection, “How Swallowtails Become Dragons.” In this contemporary urban fantasy steeped in magical realism, a lonely woman finds and adopts a sickly mermaid and nurses her back to health. In the process, the mermaid turns into a human and the woman turns into a mermaid. At its core, this is a narrative about the power of friendship, but also the power of reinvention and the discovery of one’s true identity.

Yemaya’s Feast Day Ceremony/Celebration 7 pm
Presided over by Yoruba High Priest & High Chieftain Nathanial Styles. Walk from Ft Moultrie’s Visitors Center on Sullivans Island, SC across parking lot to “The Bench by the Side of the Road,” Sunset will be around 7:30 PM Bring offerings and please bring a monetary offering for Chief Styles and Prince Emmanuel Adérelé (suggested donation $15 +)

Dinner for artists and supporters immediately following. We will share a meal and fellowship with Chief Nathanial and Prince Emmanuel Adérelé at a local eatery, Gilligan’s of Mt Pleasant. This is a self pay event.

Black Mermaid Tales in the Americas: Dr Henry Drewal speech
Saturday 3 to 4PM
Avery Center for African American Research, 125 Bull Street Charleston, SC 29424 Free to Public. Donations accepted.

Saturday 5 PM The Main Event: Mermaids & Merwomen In Black Folklore: A Fiber Arts Exhibition
Artists Opening Reception
City Gallery at Waterfront Park, 34 Prioleau Street, 29401 Artists Opening Reception and release of the book BLACK MERMAIDS in VISION & VERSE.
5 to 8 PM Free Open to the Public

After Party
Saturday 8:30 PM until 10 PM Celebration of The Artists with catered shrimp and grits dinner, music and perhaps a poetry reading or three! Location YWCA 106 Coming Street
(1 block off Calhoun Street) free parking! Invitation only. $30.

Tammy Nabors Middleton on MerPalooza

24 Aug

So Tammy Nabors Middleton is a glamorous Orlando-based photographer, filmmaker, screenwriter and mermaid. In fact, she is a bona fide Weeki Wachee mermaid camp graduate and attended mermaid camp last summer at the same time yours truly did, an experience I lovingly describe at The Hairpin and which was one of my favorite weekends ever. Here is Tammy in her true mermaid form:
 

Here, too, is Tammy swimming with my own true love the manatee who came to visit us that day and who will forever haunt me in my most longing-filled dreams:
 

Anyway, Tammy was fortunate enough to attend MerPalooza and generously offered to write about it and share some of her stunning photos with us so that we can live vicariously through her. She did not attend the International Mermaid and Pirate Awards ceremony, as it happens, so I will mention that Mr. Eric “The Mertailor” Ducharme won “Favorite Tail Maker,” that his model Ashley Nadine won “Mermaid of the Year,” that Traci Hines won “Best Mermaid Performer,” that Mernetwork.com roodly won best mermaid/pirate web site, blog or recurring column (the nerve!), and that yours truly won Best Mermaid/Pirate Author. I know. Please do not be too jealous. A full list is coming, according to MerPalooza organizers, who are already hard at work on next year’s gathering.

Tammy Nabors Middleton on MerPalooza:

As a Mermaid in my heart, I had to attend the MerPalooza in Orlando, Florida, this year, Aug. 11 & 12, 2012, at the Wyndham Resort. And what an exciting event it was! Mermaids from all over gathered to share their passions, stories, and tails! The Vendor room was filled with every kind of merchandise you could imagine to complete your mermaid collection. Tails, jewelry, figurines, and etc. lined the walls of the conference room. If that wasn’t exciting enough, mermaids lounging on rocks and piers displayed their perfectly made tails available for purchase. The entertainment was spectacular! Opening the show was Mermaid Kylee Troche, who wears the titles of International Mermaid and Mrs. Weeki Wachee. Kyle performed a beautiful and emotional dance routine to promote the pink ribbon, cancer survivors.

Mertailor tails winking and blowing kisses at attendees

Mermaid Kylee with MerPalooza producer Stephanie Sims

Throughout the day, attendees were visited by Captain Jack Sparrow, and Caribbean Pearl, who made quite an impression. Another surprise participant was Thom Shouse, who created the famous mermaid tail for Daryl Hannah in the movie Splash. It was such an honor to meet him! Toward the evening, a MerPalooza backdrop was brought in with a red carpet, so everyone could have a personal photo opportunity to remember this special day. Something peculiar happened that I’ve never seen before—other convention attendees found the MerPalooza so interesting, they stopped by to see what it was all about. There’s always room for more Mermaid passion!

Thom Shouse, Caribbean Pearl, and mermaids

After the talent awards were given, everyone proceeded out to the pool area, where the partying and fun began! Belly Dancers from Hips of Destruction gave us a fantastic show! At the other end of the pool, performer Alexanderia the Great completed her underwater escape artist stunt, by being bound in heavy locked chains then jumping into 11 feet of water and freeing herself! She performed Harry Houdini’s stunt even better than Harry Houdini! Back to the other side of the pool—it was kind of like a 3-ring circus—Liang, a contestant on “America’s Got Talent,” kept plates spinning on sticks and handled 25 hula hoops, blind-folded. Then the best, saved for last, was Sasha the Fire Gypsy. This girl rocked! Once she started her performance, she didn’t stop. Twirling and eating fire, continuously—she was amazing! And she wasn’t just lightly touching the flames, she was “all there to get you” to the flames. At the end of her performance, she expelled huge fire flames high into the air—again—non-stop. It was so exciting to watch her!

Sasha the Fire Gypsy

The remaining of Saturday night, all the Mermaids frolicked in the huge pool, posed for photos, and swam with others who also passionately enjoyed what it’s like to be a Mermaid.


Mermaid Kat

21 Aug

So now that I have returned from the Bahamas and have officially swum and dived with sharks (and mermaids!), it seems only fitting for me to feature gorgeous shark-loving scuba-diving German-born Mermaid Kat, who is one of those worldly and international types who can usually be found deep under water in places like Thailand, where she currently lives and teaches diving, or Australia, where she lived before Thailand, or Singapore or Malaysia, where she’ll be giving mermaid workshops later this year, or in aquarium tanks with sharks, to help support anti-shark-finning campaigns and spread shark love in general. That is, if she is not sitting upon rocks in random exotic locales contemplating the strangeness of the human world.

Photo by Brent Madison

Our scintillating and sumptuous Q and A follows.

So how long have you been a mermaid?
As a child, I always loved mermaids and I always loved being in the water. I’m not the best swimmer at the surface, though, and always preferred swimming underwater. I didn’t have the idea of becoming a real mermaid until my husband Spencer and I were living in Australia and doing a lot of scuba diving. Then in September 2011 we moved to Thailand. Here it is always warm and the water is lovely. I started to work on my own mermaid tail and finished my first one in May this year. After this I would say I realised my dream and really started mermaiding.

What is it like being a mermaid in Thailand?
Being a mermaid in Thailand is wonderful! The water is between 27 and 31°C all year round. The people here are friendly and love mermaids. In Phuket I am already famous. When my husband is out on the boat teaching scuba diving people often ask him, “Your wife is the mermaid, isn´t she?” That is quite funny.

Can you tell me about your recent mermaid camp you offered?

Mermaid camp photo by Brent Madison


I just finished my first mermaid workshop. Actually it was planned with just two girls from Malaysia but somehow people heard about it and so I ended up with six student mermaids. One from Scotland, one from Switzerland, two from Thailand, one Malaysian and one Chinese mermaid. So the whole story turned into “Mermaid Kat´s International Mermaidworkshop 2012” in Phuket. The girls had three days of training, one of which we spent in the classroom and pool. The mermaids got to learn lots of stuff about what it means to be a mermaid, freediving, the environment, equipment and so on. Richard Wonka is a friend of mine and is also an AIDA freediving instructor and has his own freediving school called We Freedive. He showed the girls how to do the perfect mermaid movement under water and what to do to extend their breath holds. Later we practised those things in the pool. The girls also had to do some self-rescue skills like getting out of their tails at the surface and under water. Then we spent two days on the boat and the girls had to practise their freediving and underwater modelling skills. Frederic Juneau filmed the mermaids underwater. The girls had the option to become a bronze, silver or gold mermaid depending on their skills. At the end we had two bronze mermaids and three silver mermaids. One girl didn´t meet the performance requirements for the bronze certification so she became a land mermaid.

Photo by Brent Madison

After the three training days we left for Pattaya to support a big anti-shark finning campaign together with the conservation organisation The Divetribe. My mersisters and I swam in the shark tank of Underwater World Pattaya to show that sharks are no monsters like Hollywood portrays them. It was a really cool event. All girls were happy and they learned a lot! I was already asked to give a mermaid workshop in Malaysia and Singapore this year so it looks like it will stay exciting.

Can you tell me more about swimming with sharks?
Swimming with sharks is awesome! I see them quite often while scuba diving. To see sharks is always something really special. They look so majestic. I try to promote a better image for sharks because I hope that so more people start to care about them and help to protect them. I’ve never had a single moment where I felt scared being surrounded by sharks. They are not aggressive or anything like that. They just swim by.

Can you talk about your anti-shark-finning campaign work?
I do lots of stuff for the environment and animals. I love animals and nature. I really hate to see what humans are doing to our world and other creatures. That is why I also support anti-shark-finning campaigns. Shark fin soup is a tradition in Asia. In China for example every wedding guest will get shark fin soup. I’ve never tried it but I’ve heard that it is almost tasteless. One bowl of this soup costs about $80 but what many people don´t know is that shark fin meat is poison because it has too much mercury. But anyway many people don´t know or don´t care that 72 million sharks get killed every year. Mostly they cut the shark’s fins off when the shark is still alive and then throw the rest of its body overboard. Some of them may die quite quickly but some of them may still be alive for a few days and die slowly and painfully. If you watch the movie Sharkwater you can see how big this market is and how corrupt some countries are. Some sharks reach sexual maturity at an age of 30 years. If you think about the number 72 million it’s clear that most sharks get slaughtered before they’re able to reproduce. That means if we don´t stop this it won´t take long before our oceans will be dead.

Photo by Davlin Court Photography

Many people still think that sharks are monsters who want to kill you if they find you. They got this image from Hollywood and because you would see a shark accident in every newspaper and in every TV show. It is the same with airplanes. Many people are afraid of flying but actually it is the safest way of transportation. But why are they afraid? Because if there is a plane crash there will be so much media coverage that everyone will hear about it. But we rarely hear that there are many more deaths each year on the streets in cars. It is the same with sharks. If there is an accident you will hear about it. People don’t realise that there are far more fatal dog attacks each year. And if you think about five or six fatal shark accidents each year in the world as opposed to the 72 million sharks that are slaughtered every year for shark fin soup, the question would be “who is the real monster”? The shark population has declined up to 90% in the last 15 years. Sharks are the top of the food chain if you kill them everything will get out of balance and at the end we will die, too.

Can you tell me about your other activist work? Who is Paul Watson, for example?

Photo by Adriano Trapani


I did this campaign to free Paul Watson. Paul Watson is the founder of the organisation Sea Shepherd. He and his crew are fighting against illegal whaling, shark finning and all kinds of other issues affecting creatures living in the ocean. Some countries call them eco terrorists because they go hard against the people who do illegal whaling for example. They accept huge risks to protect our oceans and I respect them for that. Anyway Paul Watson got arrested in Germany because of an old warrant from Costa Rica. If you watch the movie Sharkwater you will find out what happened back then. The problem is if he had been extradited to Costa Rica his life would have been in danger. Paul Watson has done so many things for the ocean, the animals and our planet. That is why I did this campaign. But anyway he fled Germany a few weeks ago. No one knows where he is now and I think that is good!

Are there any other memorable mermaid experiences you can tell us about?
A few weeks ago, I went down to 18 meters on a single breath and swam through a ship wreck which I normally just visit when I go scuba diving. It was an awesome moment! I love to scuba dive but if you do something like this just on a breath hold it feels completely different.

You were at Mercon, weren’t you? How was that event for you? Had you ever been surrounded by other mermaids like that before?

Kat at MerCon, third from the left


I was at the Mercon last year in Las Vegas. It was my very first time meeting mermaids like this. I was right at my beginning of becoming a mermaid and really hoped to get a good mermaid tail at this event. To be honest for me this event was really disappointing. There were no latex or silicon tails to buy and most of the mermaids I met were girls I wouldn´t really call mermaids. Of course there are different definitions of being a mermaid but for me being a mermaid means being a freediver and an ambassador of the ocean. Getting into a mermaid tail, putting on goggles, pinching your nose and putting your head under water for 20 seconds in a swimming pool is not my way of being a mermaid. But it was really nice to meet Hannah Fraser in person. She was the first mermaid I heard of and therefore was my inspiration during my first attempts of being a mermaid.

You are an accomplished diver aren´t you? How has your diving affected your mermaid work, and vice versa?
That is right. I am actually a scuba diving instructor and also love freediving. That means that I am quite often under water. I love the underwater world and have some really good friends down there at some dive sites I go to regularly. On the other side I often see things I don´t like, like pollution, fishing and corral bleaching. I always try to give my students as much information as possible about the environment and hope that all of them try to help our world.

Photo by Davlin Court Photography

Would you recommend that aspiring mermaids learn to dive/get scuba certified?
In my last workshop I had a good mix of girls. Some of them were scuba divers and some of them have never really been under water. Of course you could see a difference. You can see who feels home under water and who doesn´t. If you don´t really like being under water people will always see this in your photos and videos. From this point of view I think it is not a bad idea of becoming a scuba diver just because it makes you more comfortable under water. But I think as a mermaid you should practise your freediving skills. Normally you should be able to do your shootings and stuff just with your freediving skills. If you have a photoshoot on a shipwreck at 20 m depth for example you may need the help of scuba. That means you take a few safety divers down and they will let you breathe from their alternate airsource. But to do this you must really be an experienced diver!!! There is no margin for error. So please don´t do this unless you have the right training and the right team. By the way, to get this training you can come to me as I am a scuba diving instructor! ;)

What does being a mermaid mean to you?

Photo by Davlin Court Photography


To me being a mermaid means being happy in the water. It means being a freediver, an underwater model and ambassador of the ocean. I love the feeling of being under water and am still practicing my freediving skills. I have a little advantage with the modelling part as I was “Miss Germany International 2006” and got lots of modelling experience. But to be honest I guess out of ten models there will usually be only one who has the skills to become a good underwater model. But on the other side of it, you look slimmer underwater and you also don´t see any wrinkles. So many girls who wouldn´t fit the requirements for a fashion model still have a chance to become an underwater model. Being an ambassador of the ocean means a lot to me. The standards for my mermaid workshops even say that I won’t certify any student if I see him or her coming out of the supermarket with a plastic bag, throwing a cigarette butt on the street or beach, touching anything underwater, feeding any wildlife or doing any other thing that isn´t role model behaviour for an ocean ambassador.

What do you think the strong appeal of mermaids is, anyway?
I think mermaids have a strong appeal because on the one side they are beautiful creatures. On the other side they are half humans but they are able to do what the most humans can´t do. They are able to hold their breath for a really long time, see clearly under water and live together with all the mythical creatures in the ocean.

Photo by Davlin Court Photography

Do you have any advice for aspiring mermaids out there?
My advice for everyone who wants to be a mermaid or merman is to take some time off, come to Thailand and come to my mermaid school! I will give a few big mermaid workshops again this year—I’ll post dates on my Facebook page—but I also give courses for just one or two people. So if anyone is interested the best thing is to contact me via my Facebook page. They can learn what it really means to be a mermaid. They’ll get classroom sessions, training in the pool, exams, photos and videos of themselves underwater, freedive training—and have lots of experience and fun!

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