The new Cosmopolitan Magazine interview with Mermaid Melissa by Cosmo Journalist Heather Wood Rudulph:
I think I was destined to have this aquatic lifestyle because I don’t have any pictures of me — even from the youngest ages as a baby — where I’m not in the water. I grew up in St. Augustine. There was a pod of wild dolphins in the inlet where I would always go swimming. It felt normal for me as a 7-year-old girl to be swimming with wild dolphins.
Growing up, I had different nicknames like “fish girl” and “dolphin girl.” That evolved into Mermaid Melissa. I trained and performed as a professional free diver. We had these shows we called the human fish tank. I would dive and do tricks underwater. People would ask, “Where is your mermaid tail?” I thought, I’m going to give them something to talk about.
I didn’t just slap on a tail and expect to get hired. I put myself out there — performing tricks in the tail and holding my breath for four to five minutes.
I started out working at children’s birthday parties. Once I started generating enough revenue from there, it grew.
Corporate parties wanted me, and then they wanted additional mermaids. I started recruiting other performers and training them as mermaids, mermen, and pirates. I was one of the managers for my free diving team, so I was already used to training people to be underwater performers. It’s one thing to be able to hold your breath underwater. But when you put on these heavy mermaid tails and try to make it look graceful while holding your breath, with no goggles on, it’s hard. There isn’t a rulebook on how to hire a mermaid. A lot of people don’t understand the cost and the effort.
I officially changed my name to Mermaid Melissa about two years ago. I’ve created a brand with my name. My motto is “let’s help save the oceans before all creatures become mythical.” It’s a lifestyle for me to live as a mermaid.
I have trained three girls to perform like me — and they even all look like me — to entertain as Mermaid Melissa. It’s a way I can grow the brand.
I definitely don’t have a normal 9-to-5. The only thing that seems to be typical in my day is getting up really early and getting ready. And there isn’t a day that I’m not in the water. I’m constantly networking and talking with clients and trying to arrange schedules. I’m hired to go all around the world. I was hired to perform in a shark tank in Japan in front of a live audience on New Year’s Eve.
I’ve been to Dubai & Bahamas aquarium in the Atlantis Resort.
The Grand Cayman Islands had me come out to perform and support local tourism.
And I just got back from Queensland, Australia where I performed in a 40-foot mermaid tank for the Rockhampton River Festival. While on location, I also shoot videos to promote ocean conservation. There’s one of me swimming with the manta rays at the Great Barrier Reef that went viral.
I perform in custom-made tails. Each weighs around 55 pounds. On land, you can imagine that’s quite a problem to even lift up. It’s like a corset on your legs.
Adults usually want a mermaid at night and for kids, it’s usually a day party. There isn’t much of a difference in terms of my performance or image — I keep it pretty family-friendly — the atmosphere just changes.
When I’m not performing, I’m constantly working on underwater film projects. My YouTube channel has been a huge platform. My geeky side enjoys sci-fi films and learning about the latest in technology.
I take the mermaid stuff very seriously as a performer and as a professional. I even changed my name, so I’m 100 percent in on this.
(Interview of Mermaid Melissa published by: Cosmopolitan)
PRESS – Mentions in The Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Times, Bloomberg Business Week Magazine, Buzzfeed, The Guardian, Take 5, Cosmopolitan, and other publications listed below:
Daily Mail: “It’s a mer-icle! Incredible footage shows ‘real life mermaid’ swimming with Giant Manta Rays in the Great Barrier Reef”
The Sunday Times Magazine: “A Life in the Day of Mermaid Melissa”
UNILAD: “‘Real Life’ Mermaid Swims With Sea Life, Can Hold Breath For 5 Minutes”
MOVIEPILOT: “Mermaid Melissa Is a Real Life Ariel, And Seeing Her Under the Sea Tricks Will Blow Your Mind”
Your Pets My Dogs Radio Interview with Mermaid Melissa:
Dazed Magazine: “Meet a real-life mermaid”
“Why one Florida activist turned herself into a mermaid to advocate for the oceans”
Mail Online & Daily Mail:
“A real life Little Mermaid! Blonde free diver inspired by Disney classic changes her name to ‘mermaid’ as he says she wears her ‘tail’ everyday and can hold her breath underwater for five minutes”
Huffington Post: “Professional Mermaid Gets Along Swimmingly With Ocean Sea Life (Mostly)”
Cosmopolitan: “15 Photos of a Real-Life Mermaid You Have to See to Believe”
Cosmopolitan Australia: “This real-life mermaid will give you new career goals”
Hungarian Cosmopolitan: “Elképesztő: 10 éve sellőként él egy lány”
“Ha azt hitted, hogy Élő Barbie után már nem jöhet sokkolóbb, akkor nagyot tévedtél! Egy fiatal csajszi, Melissa Dawn ugyanis már évek óta hableánynak képzeli magát.”
“15 Photos of a Real-Life Mermaid You Have to See to Believe”
“Bonus: This mermaid’s for hire!”
The Mirror: “Stunning images show ‘mermaid’ at play as she swims with a group of deadly stingrays”
The CHIVE: Mermaid Melissa loves the sea (10 Photos)
Inquisitr: “Meet Mermaid Melissa Who Swims With The Ocean’s Sea Life Including Sharks”
Epoch Times “Epoch Inspired” Feature:
“Professional Mermaid Teaches People, How to Protect Ocean Animals”
“Meet the ‘Real-Life Mermaid’ Who Shows No Fear While Swimming With Deadly Stingrays”
“Meet the world’s most ‘real-life’ mermaid”
Real Life Mermaid Melissa is world-renowned for traveling the globe swimming the seas as a professional mermaid underwater performer. Promoting Ocean Awareness through her mermaid videos that share a message: “Let’s Help save the oceans before all creatures become mythical.”