SUMMARY: Mermaid Melissa is the only woman in the world legally named Mermaid! This extraordinary one-of-a-kind dedication to her aquatic lifestyle is used for 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 (her longest being 5 minutes) with a licensed Mermaid Entertainment Aquatic Company. This talented team includes trained professional mermaids, mermen, and pirates. The cast even includes an underwater stunt team that provides specialty acts for custom underwater synchronized style showcases at live events or perform in our portable traveling tanks for large scaled VIP projects. With hands on experience as a professional free diver, Melissa’s resume includes: live featured performances in aquariums, poolside parties, marketing promotions for companies, and custom tailored events for clients worldwide.
Melissa has been working with animals since the age of 16 and devoted her life to an aquatic career over the last 10 years. In 2008 she started to make live appearances in traveling tanks, currently offering the only of its kind, 6 different high quality tank rental options. Portable tank rentals are an over the top show piece used for product placement, demos, underwater modeling, movie scenes, conventions, mermaid shows, clubs, concerts, grand openings, red carpet events, and any over the top theme you can dreamed up. Our company has verified credentials since 2005! By building a solid work history, a reputable client list can be provided upon request, with company letters of recommendation who continue to book and tell others of our services!
Mermaid Melissa LLC is a licensed & certified company with 10 year credentials and a perfect score with paying customer satisfaction! If you are looking for the “wow factor” -make a splash at your next event, let Mermaid Melissa bring the ocean to you!
PRESS & MEDIA:
Mermaid Performer – Professional Mermaid For Hire – Mermaid Job – Mermaid Career
Q & A: How did Melissa become a Mermaid?
Life as a Professional Mermaid
Backstage, Mermaid Melissa nods to her production team, then, with the free-flowing finesse of a sea creature, careens into the water. Slowly and gracefully, she glides 14 feet below the surface; here, she’ll hold her breath for 5 minutes while doing tricks for the crowd on the other side of the glass.
With platinum blonde hair and blue eyes, Melissa looks more like a Barbie doll than Ariel. But for more than a decade, she has made a living in one of America’s strangest trades: the “professional mermaid” business.
The life of a mermaid, especially one who makes a living at her craft, is not for the weak-willed. It is a job that requires synchronous expertise in freediving, swimming, marine biology, and CPR — not to mention a superior level of physical fitness and core strength. With nearly a decade of experience as a professional freediver and underwater performer, Melissa fits the bill. But she is also a consummate entrepreneur who has built a thriving business around her mermaid alter-ego.
As a child in the coastal town of St. Augustine, Florida, Melissa Dawn spent her early days reading books on marine biology, and exploring the treasures brought in by the tide. She developed a fascination with sea life (“Teachers identified my assignments by the dolphin drawings on them,” she says), and eventually sought to connect with them in real life:
“I would often join my older sister and go surfing…I’d place a tape recorder with recordings of dolphin echolocation in a Ziplock bag, and I’d try and play it to the wild pods of dolphins that visited the inlet I swam in. At 12 years old, I was convinced this would work, and was fascinated at the idea of better understanding, or one day cracking, the ‘dolphin communication code.’”
In her early teens, Melissa moved with her family to Orlando, and, for the first time, the shy, quiet animal lover “came out of [her] shell.” With dreams of someday working with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, she secured a weekend job as a show attendant in the sea creature stadium; by 16, she’d worked her way up to part-time cage cleaner, and by 18, she was tasked with directly helping the performers.
Eventually, she graduated college with a marine biology degree, became a certified freediver, and was hired by “the largest marine life park in Orlando” to be an underwater performer. For 8 to 12 hours a day, she swam in large aquatic tanks, entertaining thousands of tourists. It was a job that required a unique blend of advanced swimming skill, technical diving know-how, endurance, and extreme breath-holding.
“I worked my way up to where I was holding my breath for four minutes and 32 seconds underwater, and then, five minutes,” she says. “It required constant training, and I soon got to the point where swimming was as natural to me as breathing.”
Renowned for her breath-holding and underwater tricks, the venue began announcing her to the crowds as “Mermaid Melissa.” It wasn’t before long that audience members began to ask her where her tail was.
Melissa has always favored Jacques Cousteau over Ariel: “I didn’t grow up obsessed with mermaids,” she admits. “I watched The Little Mermaid as a kid, but never thought I’d actually turn into one myself.”
Yet after dozens of inquires about her lack of a tail, Melissa realized it was time to suit up; when she did, she figured she’d also spread her new brand name outside of the confines of the Universal theme park.
In 2006, just after YouTube launched, she began posting videos of herself free diving; eventually, she moved onto swimming in full mermaid regalia — clamshell-embossed bra and 60-pound, realistic tail included. “There was nothing like this on the Internet at the time,” she says, “and I received a lot of positive feedback from viewers asking to see more content.” Very quickly, she became an Internet sensation, sparking long-winded debates among impressionable commenters over whether or not she was a “real-life mermaid.”
After a few of her videos went viral, Melissa posted a promotion offering her services as “mermaid for hire” at children’s birthday pool parties. The ad generated so much interest that she decided to launch her own professional mermaid service company.
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Since 2007, Melissa has run her own mermaid mini-empire.
What started as her offering to perform at children’s’ parties has since expanded into a fully-staffed “mermaiding troupe” that puts on shows all over the world, and an arsenal of five custom-made mermaid performance tanks that are rented out frequently for private parties.
“I identify myself as a businesswoman with a mission statement of promoting ocean education through underwater entertainment,” she says. “For me, my mermaid persona is an escape from the norm — it makes me feel like Clark Kent transforming into Superman.”
Her performance company, “Mermaid Aquatic Entertainment,” is composed of a highly-trained team of merfolk, all of whom she sourced from theme parks in Orlando and Los Angeles. She doesn’t just hire any old mermaid: her performers are skilled acrobats, swimmers, and, most importantly, freedivers:
“Freediving is a dangerous skill. It takes a lot of training and it is something you can lose if you do not continuously maintain it. I train my performers how to be the best at mermaiding, but I do not hire those without the skills to be safe and athletic underwater. The people I hire at my company have a strong background in freediving, and most have had experience entertaining in underwater tanks on a single breath.”
And who exactly hires a troupe of mermaids?
In the past few years alone, Melissa and her mer-crew have been hired by aquariums, hotels, resorts, movie directors, event planners, corporate companies, photographers, charities, reality shows, fairs, concerts, fashion designers, and corporate events — just to name a few. She’s worked every type of event, from lavish VIP parties to Hollywood movie shoots, and her work has taken her across the world: Japan, Dubai, Australia, Germany, the Bahamas, Italy, Belgium, France, London, Portugal, Jamaica…the list is exhaustive.
Often, clients request that she wear a tail of a specific color, and she’ll have to get it custom-made. But like any good mermaid, Melissa has learned there is much more to the profession than the quality of one’s tail: “It is one of many tools,” she says, “and, as with any business, no one thing guarantees success.”
When theme park-goers first gave Melissa the nickname “Mermaid Melissa” ten years ago, she was a bit reticent to accept the title; since then, she’s not only launched a thriving business, but has legally changed her name to “Mermaid.”
Her company’s slogan — “Let’s help save the oceans before all creatures become mythical” — voices her vision: a world focused on protecting and saving the sea and its dignified creatures. In a roundabout way, it’s a message that harkens back to her dream as a child.
“When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up fast so I could have an adult job, and achieve my dream [of working with marine animals],” she says. “It’s pretty ironic how I’ve come full-circle: now that I’m finally an adult, I’m living out every little girl’s childhood fantasy.”