Monday, March 7, 2011


Five Ways to Become a Mermaid

Admit it: at some point in your life, deep down, you’ve wanted to be a mermaid. Sitting on a rock, lustrous hair flowing down, pearls and shells scattered about, sailors and pirates crashing their ships around you. You’ve watched Splash and The Little Mermaid, you’ve totally wanted to lie in that saltwater bath and stretch out a bright orange tail, or swim around shipwrecks with weird little fish as your friends. Maybe somewhere deep down you think you are a mermaid, or at least would make a kickass one if given the chance.

Now, because I am very generous, and also an expert, I will list five ways for you to unleash your inner mermaid:

1. You can get your own custom mermaid tail. Did you know that there are tailmakers about who'll design you your own, uniquely fish-like bottom half? For instance, there's the Mertailor, a 20-year-old wunderkind in Florida who makes gorgeous silicone tails that can go for thousands of dollars (pictured below — he also makes less expensive but equally alluring latex ones).

Then there’s “tail man” Thom Shouse, a special effects artist in California who’s been specializing in mermaids for 25 years — and who headed the team that created the tail for Splash. Don’t pretend you don’t know what tail I mean. There’s also Jerilyn Winstead of Colorado’s Aquatails, which offers a variety of tails for the budding mermaid, from tail “skins” to more realistic neoprene tails. And for you sluttier mermaids, Britain’s Lady Onna will make you some latex “leg corsets.” There are plenty of other tailmakers out there, too, ready for you to send your measurements so they can help you become your new mermaid self.

2. You can go swim with your fellow mermaids in Las Vegas this August at the first annual mermaid convention, where the world’s top mermaid (yes there is one and no it’s not you … yet) Hannah Mermaid will be the featured performer (here she is on 20/20):

… and where you can don your new custom tail for the world’s largest mermaid pool party in history at the Mirage Hotel on Friday, August 12. That's right: hundreds of mermaids (and mermen) in tails, swimming together in a huge pool in Las Vegas. You might want to bring along a husky male or two to carry you from your suite and drop your betailed self gallantly into the water. (Bonus tip: get warmed up at the annual Mermaid Parade in Coney Island this June.)

3. You can go to mermaid camp to learn how to float around the water in a mermaidly, balletic fashion.

Said camp is of course at Weeki Wachee Springs, the live mermaid city just north of Tampa that’s been around since 1947 and was once so glamorous that girls flew in from all over in hopes of becoming a Weeki Wachee mermaid. Since last year, a group of “alumni” mermaids have been running two-day “Sirens of the Deep” camps through the summer. I'll be attending this May — donning a mermaid tail, getting a makeup lesson, and plunging into the spring to learn some basic mermaid moves. (To do what real Weeki mermaids do — breathe through an airhose far below the surface of the water — you need to be scuba-certified and have weeks of training.) At the end of the weekend, I'll be presented with a Sirens of the Deep Mermaid Camp certificate of completion. I know. I would be jealous of me, too.

4. You can go see live mermaids at the newly opened Dive Bar in Sacramento, where a 7,500-gallon mermaid tank hangs over the bar with mermaids swimming back and forth in it. As a recent Yelp reviewer said, “Oooooooo...there's a huge fish tank above the bar with a mer-chick in it and she hot and she just bubbled me a kiss!” You can also see live mermaids at the Denver Aquarium, where the Mystic Mermaids lure people in with choreographed shows. You can even book time to swim with them yourself. And of course there are the Weeki Wachee mermaids, whom you can see at Weeki Wachee Springs and who occasionally travel to perform, at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and at SEA LIFE London Aquarium, among other places.

5. And finally, and maybe most importantly, you can get mermaid hair, which is really all you need for your upper half in the way of beach cover-ups. We all know that mermaid hair is very long, so you might want to invest in some cascading hair extensions or possibly a wig.

For proper mermaid locks, hairstylist Tabatha Coffey, whom I interviewed for my blog and who stars on the reality show Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, suggests you “create loose tousled waves by using a large curling iron and taking random sections of hair and waving them, then run your fingers through to create that beautiful mermaid texture.” Tabatha also points out that there are many “great lightweight shine serums and sprays available to put shine and gloss on the hair.” Tackier mermaids, however, might want to go for all-out glitter, because really there's not much that’s subtle about a mermaid. Another idea is hair tinsel, if you’re feeling vaguely like a Christmas tree, which I for one usually am.

You are welcome.

Carolyn Turgeon wrote the novel MERMAID and runs the mermaid-themed blog I Am a Mermaid.

74 Comments / Post A Comment


I've always had this fantasy about sleeping with mermaids because they don't have any genitals but they still have mouths and breasts. So I'm assuming blowies are really the only thing on the menu. Plus how great would it be to have someone go down on you underwater who didn't need any oxygen? Pretty great, let me tell you. Plus, mermen are always just off fighting with Achilles so that's a lot of lonely Mermaids I'd Like to Fish for.

Courtney Greenwell@facebook

I was watching the litle mermaid 3 and i sat there and i thought "how can they have kids if they have tails?" Then i remembered, Its a freaking fantasy movie


Um. See my avatar? This post made me so happy I can't really even put it into words.

Also, I already have hair tinsel.


Of course the Mertailor kid is kind of cute. And I love that "world's top mermaid" is a thing you can be.


@Becca i'm a real mermaid because i uesd those steps


When I was five, I made my own picture book about my life and my family and all the years I had under my belt at that point. The very last page was supposed to be me on my sixth birthday, a prediction of my future self.

I drew myself as a mermaid.


chills everywhere


YES. When I was about 5 I insisted my mother make me a mermaid tail, which she did, out of blue lycra. Which reminds me, gotta get her a really good present for Mother's Day.

Courtney Greenwell@facebook

I used to imagine myself as a little witch from harry potter when i was little and now i cant stop think about how cool it would be to be a vampire, or were-wolf, or mermaid


My wife owns a tail from the mertailor mentioned in this article and she LOVES it. It really is a fantastic piece of work. If interested, you can see her mermaiding at www.mermaidshelly.com.


I just wish they could be topless.

Patrick M

That is what my dad whispered to me at Weeki Wachee when I was 14 and made me sad forever
:( x ∞




I'm surprised nobody's shared this song yet. My first post after being an avid Hairpin lurker for weeks is to share the gospel of Great Big Sea, and I'm okay with that.


This makes me miss Pushing Daisies and the Darling Mermaid Darlings. :(



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Oh hell yes. Thank you! I need more mermaids and Lee Pace in my life.


this is all completely awesome. thank you


@hiredgoons: Yes!!!

I grew up in Florida, so many an afternoon was spent in the pool, swimming like a mermaid, singing "Part of Your World" at the top of my lungs whenever I surfaced. I was a weird kid. And I love everything about this post.


This article is NOT called "Five Ways to Become Married," which is what I originally read.


i use thoses steps and now im a mermaid


Ever since I was little girl I belived in mermaids but nothing else.


Now I can become a mermaid

Nadia Abal@facebook

hi i need to by one tail of mermaid, i will like to know the price for buy one more the cost to seend to argentina! thaks you so match


when i was little i didnt really think about mermaids. but now, i think them every day and no one knows how bad i want to be a mermaid and if i ever get a tail,i cant even explain how happy i would be. in the summer,all i want to do is swim. i try to stay under water as long as i can because i just really love the view.


when i was 3 i didnt really care about them now all i want to do is buy a swimable mermaid costum and well dive or swim


sorry i frgot to spell right


Born in the waters,raise in the waters i will for ever remain faithful in the waters,Thank you Haligo

Nancy Mullins@facebook

hi i am cam and my name is clancie and i wat a mermaid tell the rubber and pink pls


Am wishing a merry Christmas and happy new year to all my friends in "The hairpin" Stay bless.


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I LOVE mermaids!I just went to a convention and met Mermaid Odette.She taught us how to make our own tails!!!!!!I love those mertailor tails tho.so kewl!!


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Since i was kid i am enjoying the thought of being a mermaid, thank you for giving some tips on where to start.

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wow its so amazing i've always want to be a real life mermaid just one day but i dont have mermaid tail i wish i could have some :)


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