It’s an invasion, pure and simple. We at USIA blog like to keep tabs on trends, news and events that might affect those who love to play in the water. The Sea Star Wasting disease. The increase in Sea Jelly population. Ocean acidification and sea level rise. Those are all examples of the serious topics we report on. The Conquest of the Mermaids might be the most alarming of them all. Of course we’re joking, but it really seems odd that there are so many people (men and women) who have chosen the way of the siren. Is it that all the kids who were little when The Little Mermaid first came out are now adults seeking their dreams? Is it that weird Animal Planet special Mermaids: The Body Found? Who knows what’s to blame. Fact is, mermaids are here. Want proof? Read on…
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a dinosaur. I would make my arms short and chase the neighborhood cats and I growled and I roared. Then one day my dad said to me, “Son, you’re 18. Stop that Dinosaur crap and grow up!” Well, Melanie Long never had that conversation from her father. No, she didn’t want to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex. She wanted to be Disney’s Ariel. She didn’t start out as a mermaid. She started as a diving instructor, a natural fit. The job got her in touch with a children’s charity who were putting on a fundraiser and they needed someone to play the part of a mermaid. After that it was all history.
Probably when the event was scheduled in early January, the organizers thought, “oh, it’s Florida. It’ll be warm enough for a mermaid tryout.” They didn’t plan on one of the worst cold snaps in years to hit their state. Frigid temps or no, dozens of women braved the cold for the first part of tryouts for the world-famous mermaid squad at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. It is clear from the number of enthusiastic hopefuls that dreaming to be a mermaid is really a thing with girls and women alike (and some men too).
We might poke a little fun at this whole mermaid dreams thing. However, for some it is a serious endeavor with real world benefits. For Kari Roberts of Hawaii, taking on the persona of a mermaid has allowed her to make some serious strides in her personal development. You might even say that becoming a mermaid is a form of therapy. If it works for you, then good for you.
It’s great work if you can get it. Children’s pool parties. Pirate theme parties. Corporate events. Samantha Smallwood has made a small industry out of mermaiding (I think I coined a term here). Who would have thought the city of London would have enough work for a full time mermaid? But, as it seems, London is a great place to be a mermaid.
At 51, while most people are planning for retirement, this intrepid soul is embarking on a whole new life. Shureena Ng has dreamed of mermaids ever since she was seven years old. By my count, that means she was bitten by the mermaid bug way before “The Little Mermaid” was released. Still, she was inspired by TV and movies of the time, saying she used to sit by the shore and watch the water, hoping that she would see a mermaid rise from the waves.