So I get a lot of very lovely emails from aspiring and actual mermaids and mermen, and a few days ago I heard from one 23-year-old Ashley, who wrote to say that she decided to go on the mermaid portfolio workshop diving trip (see the official flyer here, I believe there is one spot left!) this summer after reading about it on this very blog—a trip that will make her dream of being a mermaid come true. Come July, Ashley will be hanging out in the Caribbean, wearing a mermaid tail and lounging about in mystical hidden grottos and on glittering white sand bars and around shipwrecks swarming with sharks.
So I thought it would be interesting to interview Ashley for this blog and then follow up in a few months to hear how her trip went and see photographic proof of her astonishing transformation. If you yourself are undergoing a similar transformation, or have anything else mermaidly to share, please email me and maybe I will throw more stories up on this blog, if I am not too lazy.
Here is Ashley pre-mermaid:
So tell me why you’re going on the mermaid trip this summer. What appeals to you about it?
I’m going on the trip this summer because it’s a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to be a mermaid. The idea of learning how to apply make up, pose for pictures, and swim in a tail from people who love this as much as I do just seems magical.
Have you always loved mermaids?
Yes! My house is less than 10 minutes from Weeki Wachee Springs so as a kid I dragged my mom there all the time. I pretty much grew up at Weeki Wachee. I’d go over and watch the shows and then run to Buc Bay and try as many tricks as possible. I was also convinced the spring was pure magic and the more time I spent in it the more likely I would be to grow a tail.
I love to swim and I love the beauty of the ocean. I believe I have always been a mermaid at heart, I have just lacked the know how to fully become one. My mom still loves to tell people that, when I was a kid, I only had one wish every year when I blew out my birthday candles: to turn into a mermaid.
What do you think the appeal of mermaids is for you, anyway?
The appeal of mermaids for me started from birth. Obviously Weeki Wachee had a huge part of it and I watched the Little Mermaid movie at least once a day when I was little but I think the biggest part of it is how magical they were to me. I have asthma and it was really bad when I was a kid. I remember not just be memorized by the beauty of the mermaids but I always thought how lucky they were that they didn’t need lungs. I always thought that I would turn into a mermaid and not only would my legs disappear but so would my asthma. Luckily I am much better now and almost never have attacks.
How are you preparing for the trip? Do you have a tail?
I am preparing for the trip by attempting to make some cute tops to pose in. Also I have been trying to run to help build up my stamina and of course swimming. Once the spring semester for school is over I will be going down to a place called Rogers Park on the Weeki Wachee River to do laps out there. And I do not have my own tail. Sadly I am a broke college student and cannot afford it!
What do you expect from this trip?
I except this trip to be a bunch of things. I know it will probably be one of the hardest working weeks of my life and I also know I will love every second of it. I am hoping to find a way into the mermaid world with this trip and also to make some friends.
Do any professional mermaids out there inspire you?
I am definitely inspired by Hannah Fraser. She was the first mermaid I heard of outside of Weeki Wachee and she still amazes me. I also love her conservation work.
Any more mermaid plans in the future?
As of this second there are no plans but I am hoping the trip will inspire me to be more daring in finally going after this dream. As well as help me find ways to be a mermaid. Becoming a professional mermaid isn’t exactly a mapped out profession. I know it is going to be a lot of trial and error, but hopefully I will find my way.