Some people spend a lifetime working towards a dream or goal to become something that feels like destiny. In this case Melissa Dawn, from Saint Augustine Florida, has spent her live growing up into a mascot of sorts… A real life mermaid!
Though it may catch some by surprise, it doesn’t take long after learning of Melissa’s love for the ocean and marine animals to discover her lifestyle fits the role she lives in real life.
After almost 9 years performing professionally as a free diver, and underwater performer, Melissa took another big step in showing her dedication to her craft. What some might think is extreme, Melissa feels that by making the life long nick name official… It validates to her the passion she feels for using the mermaid mascot to show both adults and children that “Ocean education is best done through underwater entertainment.”
By bringing something new to the masses, things they have never seen, like bringing a real live mermaid to life before their very eyes, -can help bring back the kid in all of us to show imagination is still alive to inspire both young and old of the possibilities we can all accomplish.
Melissa Dawn believes that by being the first mermaid (or human for that matter) to legally change their name to “Mermaid” and be known as one both in and out of the water, justifies the love of her craft to carry on the mermaid lifestyle for life!
Taking pride in changing her name officially to “Mermaid Melissa” is her way of not forgetting her past, but embracing the evolution of the mermaid inside she says has always been there.
If people can take from this that we can all live our own lives, be who we want to be, and stand up for the things we believe in, no matter who is for or against it… then that’s a wonderful thought! As long as your intentions are in the right place, your doing it for you, and always have a positive goal for yourself and others around you, I think we can all do great things with our lives!
Mermaid Melissa says she not looking to have others follow the name change method of expression, but says there is many ways to show who you are, and what you stand for. Claiming that being an individual and coming up with your original ideas, and bringing out a piece of who you are is what makes us all unique. There is only one of you, so show it off and reflect all the great you have to offer the world!
Both family, friends, and supporters seem to be on board with Mermaid Melissa when hearing of the name change. Melissa says it is something she has wanted to do for years, and that timing is everything in life… she said, “this was my moment when it just felt right to finally make it official.”
Moving forward she says she never takes for granted any opportunity given, email written, story told from meeting a child, or chance to give back to make a difference. Hoping that the uplifting changes that happen to us all will continue to grow in 2014!
First mermaid to legally change name to “Mermaid” video:
Mermaid Melissa As seen featured on: ABC News – Good Morning America – Inside Edition – NAT GEO WILD – Fish Tank Kings – Huffington Post – Yahoo – CBS – AOL – PawNation – NBC – Daily Mail – Daytime – Las Vegas Convention – Los Angeles KTLA – California’s L.A. County Fair – Atlantic City Mermaid Tank Display – Orlando Tampa Miami Pool Resorts – Japans Largest Aquarium TV Special – The First Real Live Mermaid Performer in Dubai at the Atlantis The Palm, Hotel.
Most of us as a child have a very active imagination & believe that anything is possible! Those of us who grow up and live the dream, are some of the lucky ones! We have encapsulated those dreams of being part of something bigger than ourselves by diving into the unknown with open arms.
My lifestyle as a young surfer girl from Saint Augustine, Florida grew into something of a lifelong quest to achieve an aquatic career that seemed only a fantasy -that I was determined to make into my reality. What started as a summer hobby visiting the ocean, Aquariums, or in my pool from almost sunup to sundown, led to the realization early on (at age 12) that I could hold my breath for over 2 and a half minutes.
With the nickname “fish” evolving into being called, “Dolphin” as my skill level improved… Trying to experiment by using a garden hose to try to breathe underwater, it quickly became apparent that this was not possible as an option as I had hoped! With my passion to stay submersed as long as possible, free diving was the natural progression that I pursued full time into livelihood.
At the age of 13 this small town girl was becoming restless, like a big fish in a small pond. Moving felt like Orlando was Hollywood and the theme park entertainment capital. I quickly found my self in modeling and acting school working on The Disney Cruise Line National commercial, and at age 15 I found a job at Universal Studios Florida. Even then I was driven… With the goal in mind to work as a Ride and show attendant till I caught the attention of the Animal Actor show team, and at 16 was already hired on to be a cage cleaner. This opened the door for me to prove myself, working very hard and finally being part of the show, and even going on location to movie sets with my trained animals.
After the thrill of working on so many film projects I moved to Los Angeles, California at 18 years old. This was my way of longing to travel and see the world and check of my long list of “things I wanted to do in life”.
I gained a lot of wisdom and the courage to take on rejection in Los Angeles You need that type of exposure to learn what type of person you really are, what you will stand up for, what you will tolerate, and most importantly if you will let it beat you or grow stronger and apply it to your life while finding the positive.
In 2005 that land mark moment for any ocean lover was finally achieved when the water brought me back to Florida, finishing my scuba courses, and got PADI certified for open water. I cannot ever find the right words to describe the freedom given when looking up close at a reef without the concern to come up for air and relish in the moment for as long as my tanks would permit. Once I sank to depths that seem to take with it the light piercing from above, it became clear just how small I am and how little is known beyond theacclimatizing limits that our bodies are known to be able to adjust.
This same year, my career as a professional free diver was checked off my list of goals. Never would I have thought it possible to make a living from something that comes so natural to me and that I would otherwise have been doing in my free time if not getting paid to to this. Perfecting my record for breath holds, I worked my way up to 4 minutes & 18 seconds underwater in 2006 and another on video captured 2013 same spot as years prior at 4:32 underwater! By working diligently on my Static Apnea Breath Hold, laying at the surface of the water allowed me to push the limits further to 5 minutes as a personal best.
The next transfer in aquatic ventures was into working with marine mammals. Aquariums have always been an an inspiration to me as a child allowing me access to creatures I would have never otherwise known about. It was hard not to fall in love with their mysterious nature and become passionate to develop a strong rapport.
This career path is physically/mentally/emotionally demanding and a sacrifice of your personal life to dedicate your life to the animals needs, -it’s not a 9am to 5pm job.
I grew up by an inlet in Flagler County, Florida where dolphins were constantly around me when I would swim. I can recall holding my head underwater unable to see anything but hearing their clicks all around me like a morse code to come into their world. When it came time for me to work with these animals face to face, the adjustment came very easy having studied Marine Biology since I was a teen reading up on these fascinating animals of the sea.
My respect for the planet grows daily from the relationships with animals, knowing that if we do not help them, who will?
August 2013 some changes were made in my life that were a long time coming to make some hard decisions… As a kid growing up a fan of the Aquarium in Orlando since age 13, I fell in love with the idea behind the message of killer whales being ambassadors for the ones in the ocean to teach and inspire us about them by seeing whales up close. Having been a guest and this effecting my career path seeing these animals, then becoming a trainer, and now deciding to end my 9 year career with this park… My own personal conclusion is, killer whales are too smart to be confined. No amount of love and care given by humans in these man made pool environments is enough for an animal that would naturally swim at top speeds of 35 MPH up to 100 miles a day. Containment for intelligent whales is no longer the answer for educating our youth. Sea Sanctuaries are a great goal to strive for in the long term rehabilitation of those who can not be returned to the wild that were born in human care. It’s time we evolve, learn from our human mistakes, research the truth, and stop thinking for the whales, just let them be in their natural environment. I love the idea of aquariums being education to a new generation of kids and adults, but there has to be a point where we must look into the places we visit, just as we look into the food we eat and where/how it gets to us. Making an effort to support the right facilities, and one step at a time, make changes, can make a ripple effect that can change the world. Not everyone will agree with decisions you make in life or how you live it, but when you take a stand for something you believe in, others will too. Every person has the chance to speak up and inspire another, which is an achievement in itself. You don’t need to be perfect or take on the world, but embrace the subjects that strike a personal cord in you to help improve the way we live, think, help better the planet, or save animals.
My aspirations as a mermaid has truly transformed me in more ways than the obvious. It is a self-made journey born out of love for the sea, that continues to grow from the years of hard work creating a business from the ground up completely on my own with no outside financing or sponsors.
The back story of this is very deep rooted. It was the ultimate fairy tale for any young girl who has watched “The Little Mermaid” and “Splash” -a way that I viewed to find a balance between staying human, and joining their world as part dolphin. Through much determination and imagination, I ventured into a field that no one viewed as an actual marketable skill & focused all my background knowledge into making this happen.
By spinning an educational message that is fresh & new, I continue to invite others to join me on new adventures on how to enjoy, save, and continue to share with others how to protect our blue planet. My future as a professional mermaid has reached great achievements but the potential for my company mission has many more chapters that are about to be written. Our belief in dreams coming true can be lived, with each new passion that we pursue!
With the momentum building from a lifetime of aquatic skills growing and evolving in my life daily… I have found my calling to reach the masses with a message, “Let’s save the oceans before all creatures become mythical.” As a mascot for the marine animals who have no voice, I worked hard to entertain those with a positive message on how to save our seas without the negative backlash one usually hears about how depressing and bleak our future could be.
Mermaid Melissa’s credentials span globally around the world and is well known for the one of a kind skills of having both worked with, and helped protect marine mammals both in the ocean and learning from her work at aquariums.
Melissa’s dedication and discipline to her brand is evident by also providing services & talent that no one else in the world can match. The most complex array of mermaid tails, props, supplies, trailer, bus, 4 mermaid tanks, and full service team with leading pro performers trained in by Mermaid Melissa herself who is also known for her contracted roles as an aquatic performance manager & lead mermaid for various aquariums, parks, conventions, and companies.
At the end of 2013 to dedicate my efforts of the preservation helping to save our oceans, “Mermaid Melissa” became the official name change. As I vow to live true to a cause close to my heart, and serve as a daily reminder that this is a life long process to learn, evolve, and be willing adapt to change for the sake of something bigger than ourselves, -to help save our blue planet!
All sample images can be viewed on https://www.facebook.com/MermaidMelissaPage/photos_albums
Legally named “Mermaid,” Melissa has dedicated her life to promoting ocean education through underwater entertainment. Her slogan? “Let’s help save the oceans before all creatures become mythical.” She makes appearances around the world performing underwater breath hold showcases with her Mermaid Melissa LLC aquatic company, which includes a team of trained professional mermaids and mermen. With nine years of hands on experience as a pro free diver, live underwater performances for aquariums, companies, and events.
Melissa has been traveling in her portable mermaid tanks since 2008 and has a live mermaid bus tour making a splash at a town near you! Contact us for credentials in the field of underwater professional shows since 2005! By building a solid work history for our unique acts, we can provide reputable clients list and company contacts who continue to book our services!