Leaving the world behind to join an underwater Atlantis of like-minded (and tailed) individuals with nothing more to do than sit on a rock brushing your hair and looking fabulous…and getting paid for it…
It would seem that this fantasy is now a reality for some, with over 1000 humans now working full time across America as professional mermaids (and mermen)! Having originated in America, "mermaiding" basically enTAILS us bipedals cramming our legs into predominantly homemade fishtails which are then used to dazzle and surprise at various aquatic shows and pool parties galore.
The idea has also gone global with some students turning to the world of Mermaiding to supplement their studies. One such Mermaid is Claire from France who is studying to be a teacher. She designs her own tails and is at the forefront of mermaid culture in Europe. She has acquired many paid gigs from her regular show at a local aquarium, swimming with poisonous fish and stingrays for the ‘oohhs’ and ‘ahhhs’ of the crowd, to private paid appearances around the world. Clarie recounts one such occasion: "The craziest party I attended was probably last year on this Greek island. Some billionaire was throwing a birthday do for his daughter and I was supposed to be sitting down by the shore, dressed as a mermaid welcoming the boats as they arrived."
Back across the pond in the US the lure of the ocean is strong for many of those with their sights set on a fresh career idea. Some celebrities (they would be involved somewhere), such as Shia Lebeouf and Jessica Alba have booked mermaid performances for their birthday parties and in these instances, the merperson in question can leave with £160 per hour tucked under their fin.
It isn’t work to be taken lightly however, Rachel Smith, Head Mermaid at mermaid themed lounge Dive Bar in Sacramento, during an interview with Fast Company, addressed this misconception:
“It’s really hard, which is something I don't think people fully understand because we want it to look so effortless. Our legs are tied together, the fish are running into us, and it's dark… our tails can weigh up to 35 pounds, but the saltwater makes us float, so we have another 5 to 10 pounds strapped between our legs.”
But if this all sounds right up your current, but you fear you may not have the credentials to take on this lifestyle, help is on hand…a quick jaunt to Spain and you can enroll at the first Academy of Mermaids and Tritons! Their ‘‘Sirenas Mediterranean Academy’ was born from a dream, and it offers the possibility to live a unique experience,[…] for all those whom like the water, play, feel healthy, laugh and dream.’