Always be yourself, unless you can be a mermaid. For some, this is just a popular saying, found on t-shirts, home decor, and Instagram bios. For others, these are words to live by.
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a professional mermaid? Not just cosplaying Ariel from The Little Mermaid for Halloween, but actually living year-round with fins instead of feet. Every day, these pros are financially, physically, and creatively committed to their roles as mermaids.
After watching The Little Mermaid, Aquamarine, or any of the other countless amazing mermaid films, some young girls wonder what to do to become a pro mermaid. For the luckiest among us, this isn't just a dream anymore.
However, a day in the life of a mermaid entails more than just singing to fish and discovering lost treasure. A mermaid tail is a real financial investment, especially if one splurges on the silicone model. Beyond the superficial aspects, professional mermaids must also undergo the proper training, market themselves, and cultivate their unique mermaid persona.
Real-life mermaids share stories so the rest of us can understand just what it takes to be a part of their world.
If you’re thinking about buying your own mermaid tail to sample the lifestyle from the comfort of your home, don’t. Becoming a mermaid requires actual training, just like any other water sport that requires specific equipment.
Just as you wouldn’t go scuba diving without the proper preparation, diving headfirst into the mermaid life can be dangerous. As one professional mermaid explains “There's no stretchiness [in the tail] and it's really tight so if you were an inexperienced swimmer and got into trouble you wouldn't be able to get out of it easily."
She goes on to explain "It's really important you have the right technique and the right training. I'd never recommend that you try swimming with a tail without being properly taught. It's like any kind of water equipment, if you're not using it correctly, it can be dangerous."
What would a mermaid be without her tail? A human... Having a tail is an integral part of being a lady of the sea, which is why professional mermaids tend to be very opinionated about what constitutes a quality tail.
For anyone who wants to give the whole mermaid thing a try without completely committing, there are places where you can rent a tail. However, anyone who is serious about being a mermaid will splurge on purchasing a tail. And it really is a splurge.
A fabric mermaid tail will set you back a couple hundred dollars, but the most serious mermaids will spend a couple thousand on a tail made of silicone or neoprene. While this may seem like a lot of money to spend on a fake tail, the fin is an integral part of the mermaid’s persona. One professional mermaid says that her glow-in-the-dark tail helps her book gigs so frequently that it’s become part of her brand.
Essentially, spending a lot on a tail can be viewed as a start-up cost of business.
If you're considering taking the plunge and becoming a professional mermaid, you may be planning on immediately investing in a silicone tail, as you'll most likely get more mileage out of it. However, some professional mermaids advise against this. One mermaid specifically suggests starting out with a fabric tail as “they're light and easier to get out of and they come with a plastic fin in the bottom."
Once a beginner feels comfortable swimming with a fabric fin, it might be time to invest in a silicone one. Start with the fabric tail, but be mentally prepared to splurge on a silicone tail in the future.
Unlike the tail, the seashell top is more of a DIY project, which means one can let their mermaid personality shine. Contrary to what one would think, seashell tops aren't usually made out of bikini tops, but rather actual bras, as they’re sturdier. Using waterproof E6000 glue, one can then add shells, pearls, seaweed, and sequins.
Generally, you’ll see a lot going on with these tops. One mermaid explains the practical reason behind this: “The more things you sew on, the less likely the top is to break down underwater.”
Most mermaids take this opportunity to allow their tops to reflect their personalities. A sweet mermaid, a sultry mermaid, and a sassy mermaid would all likely have different tops.