Q. Who is Mermaid Melissa?
A. Mermaid Melissa is a mascot for the sea who uses her aquatic lifestyle to promote ocean awareness through underwater videos and live appearances as a real life mermaid.
Q. What do you do?
A. I perform worldwide as an underwater performer and showcase my ability to hold my breath for extended periods of time during live shows in aquariums, films and ocean conservation projects. I am hired by companies and brands directly with similar ‘under the sea’ themed projects, with the goal to use realistic mermaid imagery for product endorsements, highlighting the beauty of our oceans.
Q. At what age did you know you wanted to be a mermaid?
A. Having the mermaid nickname throughout my childhood sparked the imagination into adulthood to actually make the mythical mermaid idea come to life. It was never a goal as a child to become a mermaid, but the transformation took shape once I realized my passion for the water best played out in the form of a mermaid.
Q. When did you try on your first tail?
A. I used a method of swimming called the dolphin kick underwater, which gave the illusion of a mermaid tail and that was the reason I was called Mermaid Melissa. My first attempt at being a mermaid was in 2004 but it took many years for this to take a more realistic form.
Q. What made you want to legally change your name to Mermaid Melissa?
A. Changing my name was a way of honoring my mission to stay dedicated to promoting ocean education and living a lifestyle that reflects that cause. There isn’t a day I am not living as a real life mermaid both in and out of the water. It’s not just a nickname, it’s a reflection of who I really am.
Q. What is a day in the life of Mermaid Melissa like?
A. Most of my daily routine consists of being in the water performing at events, resort pools, company parties, traveling across the world to swim with sharks and other marine life to showcase the beauty of our seas. Every day I am in my mermaid tail, making an effort to speak with others about marine conservation.
The hardest thing about what I do is running a mermaid company on land while most of what I do requires me to stay submerged in water performing throughout the day. This makes my response time slower than I would like for client inquiries, but there isn’t always reception in the middle of the ocean, or access to wifi from my shell phone while swimming all day. I work really hard and manage my own company bookings directly, so it’s not always just about booking me, but a large variety of services including my custom mermaid traveling tanks for VIP showcases.
Q. Did you have a job before you became a mermaid? If so, what was it?
A. One of my first jobs was as a cage cleaner working my way up at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida for an animal actors show. I later pursued acting/modeling in Los Angeles, was a product manager for a corporate company and then dived into my passion of becoming a professional free diver. I have worked for marine life parks, theme parks, aquariums over the last 10 years as a dive manager, marine mammal trainer and show host. Most of my childhood passions included working with marine life. Having achieved these goals, I learned that your dreams and aspirations can change as you explore more about what is the best fit for your life as an adult and what direction you want it to take. My mermaid company is a full time job and passion that I pursue with as much dedication & determination as anyone would put into their own company they love. My brand is not just a reflection of who I am, but allows the mermaid mascot in me to be an active animal ambassador. It also allows me to become a voice for the voiceless, and speak up for the animals of the sea with my slogan, “Let’s help save the oceans before all creatures become mythical.”
Q. Where do you see yourself going in the next 10 years?
A. I am actively looking to continue my partnerships with companies and brands that have the same mission of raising ocean awareness. I hope to do that through showcases around the world performing as a real life mermaid at events and speaking on behalf of the animals of the sea. My YouTube channel series will continue to feature exclusive new and unique ways of sharing my mermaid adventures living as a mermaid. I hope to inspire others to live out their dreams, and create a positive ripple effect for change in the way we take care of & view our blue planet… One mermaid mission at a time.
Q. Where can people see you in action?
A. Most of my bookings as a mermaid for hire are done through a company who informs me when I can promote the release dates of performance. I do many different events and appearances like: fairs, festivals, grand openings, pool parties, fundraisers, beach sightings, swim with a mermaid programs, tank shows, or even live aquarium performances. There are some events that are privately booked, but I try to share my mermaid adventures on my social media pages for those who can’t always make it out.
Q. Where do you usually swim?
A. I swim in pools when I am land locked and in the ocean when I travel to the coast or visit the islands. Every morning I wake up knowing one thing is for sure, I will end up in the water.
Q. What is the most amazing experience you have had as a mermaid?
A. The most amazing part about being a mermaid is the collaborations with clients that have a mutual love for the sea and the inspiring events we have been able to put on. All of these sightings allow children and people of all ages to see a real life mermaid performing live. Having a platform to entertain people doing what I love is a dream come true, and sharing my passion for marine life preservation has given my life deep meaning and purpose for me personally.
Q. How does your tail change color and shape?
A. I have 16 colors I can transform into right now and have “shed” several more throughout my lifetime. As a mermaid I like to change my look -just like how an octopus and other creatures in the sea can.
Q. What types of skills would you say Mermaid Melissa has that normal people don’t?
A. I think everyone has their own special set of skills and it just so happens that my affinity for the water and breath holding endurance for being submerged underwater for minutes at a time (as a professional free diver) has lead to this uncharted career path.
Years of hands on training and a background in a wide variety of high profile aquatic job roles, has given me the skill set needed to create custom mermaid performances and artistically invent new ways to make “mermaiding” a full time career. It is a reflection of my mermaid lifestyle both personally & professionally.
More images and video to be added in this blog. Check back for many updates coming soon!
PRESS – Mentions in Buzzfeed, The Guardian, Take 5, 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”