(Photo Credit: vsmoothe/Flickr)
According to mermaid Hannah Fraser, being a mermaid is a "self-created job." Fraser constructs all of her own mermaid's tails, which she says are quite time-consuming and rather expensive. She advises others with an entrepreneurial spirit and a love of the ocean who may wish to become mermaids to look for underwater photographers in dive shops and other places that divers may congregate.
Hannah believes that her work with organizations that protect the ocean is a great way to give back to this amazing resource. She has swam in many locations with a long list of animals, including humpback whales, dolphins, great white sharks, nurse sharks, Caribbean reef sharks, manatees, seals, sea lions, turtles, leopard sharks, stingrays, bat rays, manta rays, and various fish.
Linda Wolbert in Los Angeles is also a self-made mermaid. Armed with a film and science degree, as well as experience as both a dive instructor and underwater model, she took the plunge in 2006 and began her company, Mermaids in Motion.
However, you don't have to be an entrepreneur to be a mermaid. BusinessWeek interviewed Stacey McConnell, a full-time, professional mermaid who works for Weeki Wachee Springs State Park in Florida. Mermaids and mermen employed at the park perform synchronized swimming dances in what is, unfortunately, extremely cold water.
One perk that Weeki Wachee mermaids enjoy is an invisible breathing tube, which allows them to stay underwater longer than their two-legged counterparts. Still, McConnell says it can be brutal. Swimming with a fifteen-pound weight on the lower half of your body in the cold, cold depths and moving with grace and ease may seem contradictory, but these are necessary skills for a Weeki Wachee mermaid. They must sometimes fight against strong currents, appear to swim against the currents effortlessly, and always smile, smile, smile.
Add this to the list of wild and wacky but very real jobs.
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