TAIL CARE & MAINTENCE RULES FOR DATING A MER SOCIAL NETWORKING FOR MERS MER MODEL INTERVIEWS & ADVICE
ISSUE 4 DECEMBER 2012
ISSUE 3 (September 2012) 4 6 10 12 14 16 18 20 24 26 29 30 31 32 36 39 40 45 46
Protect Our Oceans With Ten Easy Steps Mer of the Issue: Kitty Global Mermaid Faces! Derek Photography Just for the Halibut: DIY Sunken Treasure Chest Aquarium Mermaids: Florida Aquarium (Erin) Social Networking for Mers Cover Model: Iona Tail Care & Maintenance Mer Model Interview: Canadian Mermaid Marie Book Review No Odinary Treasure Hunt Poem & Mers in Music Mer Model Interview: Ide Advice for Booking a Gig with Dr. Sketchy Rules for Dating a Mer DeviantArt Feature Mer World Mer-Care for Mer-Hair Cover photo taken by Greg of Undersea Discoveries
The Mer Community
Photo courtesy of Mernetwork Facebook account & used with permission featuring admin & founders Malinghi & Iona.
The mer-community is alive & splashing! Want to be involved? A great place to go is Mernetwork.com Here’s what moderator Malinghi has to say about it: “MerNetwork is the world’s largest website dedicated to mermaid & merman costuming. Launched in July of 2011 by Malinghi & Winged Mermaid Iona, the site is the direct successor to an older costuming forum originally created in January of 2010 at mer.yuku.com. MerNetwork is intended for men & women of all ages & levels of involvement, from casual enthusiasts still looking to make or buy their first tail, to experienced professionals. The ultimate goal of the site is to serve the merfolk costuming community & help it grow. In addition to a forum, the site also features compiled lists of how-to guides & of professional tailmakers for making & buying tails respectively, as well as an FAQ.”
Protect Our Oceans With Sometimes the amount of pollution and looking at what needs to be done to stop it can become overwhelming. We aren’t sure where to start, or even sure if we can make a difference! These 10 tips are easy changes and choices you can make to help save our oceans. Make it a personal challenge to try some of the things today! 1. Replace plastic with something long lasting. It’ll save you money in the long run, and save the environment. Also, a substance called BPA is still very prevalent in plastic, it’s been shown to cause endocrine and hormonal problems leading to reproductive health issues and weight gain! Our skin comes in contact with thousands of times the amount of BPA it can process from one touch.1 Plastic water bottles? Heck no! Reusable water bottles all the way! Take a glass straw with you when you go out to eat, reduce plastic straws! Try a re-usable grocery bag and recycle your plastic ones.
1. Dr. David Suzuki, The Nature of Things, 2012, CBC 2. Reduce the amount of plastic your household uses by choosing different packaging. Many of us were shocked when an image of peeled bananas wrapped in plastic on Styrofoam went viral, but a quick look around your super market shows similar “conveniences.” Choose products packaged in glass that you can reuse, cardboard that can be composted and recycled, and if you have to go with plastic opt for the kind that can still be recycled. 3. Take a few moments to find out your carbon footprint. The website will show you areas in your life where you can easily reduce your carbon emission! 4. Ladies! Much of the pollution left in landfills long after we’ve gone comes from the plastic in feminine products. Consider switching to something ecofriendlier today! (Click the hyperlink for ideas!)
5. Find new uses for old things! Donate what you can’t to someone who can use it! Maybe you repurpose those old clothes by turning them into rags, maybe you enjoy making jewellery and crafts from found objects, or you could use recycled containers as a way of organizing! The possibilities are endless and there are amazing ideas and tutorials on websites like Tumblr and Pinterest! Otherwise, donate items to shelters, thrift stores, and community yard sales. You can even donate odds and ends to pre-schools and schools for kids to use during craft time! (Like all those bottle tops, paper towel tubes, and paper!) 6. Buy sustainably! Many products, restaurants, and food suppliers have taken the guess work out for you. Look for labels that let you know your product was made without damaging the rainforest or oceans. Many sustainable products are also fair trade, and cruelty free. Most states and provinces have indexed websites to let you know where to start! There are also specific websites dedicated to letting you know what sea food is sustainable, and even some great cooking ideas! 8. Host a littler cleanup in your area. It can be a class activity, a fun family activity, or a community activity! It doesn’t have to be a big event, even spending 5 minutes picking up litter (using appropriate safety gear) makes a difference for our planet. Check out programs like Two Hands if you need help knowing where to start. Remember, all litter eventually finds its way into our oceans, rivers, and lakes!
Ten Easy Steps 7. Are you a smoker? Quit! At the very least, stop throwing your butts everywhere! Cigarette butts are one of the most littered item in the world. Not only do they take a very long time to break down, they leak harmful chemicals into the environment and are frequently found in the bellies of dead animals. They litter the streets, our beaches, the oceans, our green spaces- itâ€™s hard to walk for 1 minute and not see one at your feet! Encourage smokers you know to trash their butts in appropriate places. 5. BUY LOCAL. Check out your local farmers market! Support locally owned businesses! Not only will you be boosting your local economy, youâ€™re reducing green house gas emissions. 10. Finally, get walking (or swimming)! Not only is it good for your health but choosing to walk reduces green house gas emissions that would normally come from a vehicle! These gasses cause a rise in ocean acidification. When the ocean becomes more acidic it can kill of entire ecosystems and reduces the amount of oxygen being released for us to breathe! Even tiny changes can make a big difference, so yes, your walking will directly help our ocean!
Mer of the Issue: Kitty A long time mermaid, Kitty was nominated and voted by her peers as mer-of-the issue. Kitty is known for her stance on healthy oceans and being an advocate for the past 28 yearslonger than many of the mer-community have been alive. Currently you can find her swimming all over Holland and the world when she has a chance to travel. Our interview with Kitty is as followed: What Inspired you, and how did you first become a mermaid? Well, better is to ask me who inspired you. Let’s travel back in history: 1984. I was just 14 years old. But every mermaid lover does know what 1984 means: Splash. For Daryl Hannah a dream came true, my dream began. Especially the beautiful underwater scenes inspired me: I want to dive like a mermaid too! Daryl swam so gracefully with her tail! At the end of Splash I was looking to myself. How was it possible to dive like a mermaid? I was born as a androgyneous boy, not a girl. Mixed feelings, not only about being a mermaid, but also about my gender. Years later fortunately my dream to dive like a mermaid helped me with my gender problems, but more about that later. Since I had internet I met a CMAS scuba instructor who loved mermaids too. I told him about my dream, my passion and yes... how to get a real mermaid tail. We visited a diving exhibition to conect me with a company who creates handmade diving suits. Although he made strange neoprene diving suits regularly, creating a mermaid
tail was new for him. Sure, in the meantime I made a mermaid tail out of polyster by myself, but that one was not suitable for swimming. A few weeks later my swimmable tail and seperate monofin was ready. In a small pool I tried my first ‘kicks’ underwater: my dream came true.
Who taught you to stay underwater longer? A tail is step one, to stay underwater for a longer time is another problem. My CMAS instructor helped me again, but from the beginning I never wanted to use scuba gear. For me it was so ‘unmermaiding’. In half a year I could swim up for 100 meters underwater, and to stay underwater for about 6 minutes! Sure I was very proud of it, but I realized that I need a kind of freedive training. You have to know that many years ago diving like a mermaid was very unknown in Holland. The newely foundend freedive-organization AIDANL did not wanted be associated with mermaids or my dream. With only a monofin, they taought me diving techniques, secrets of breath holding, buddying and safety. I got the first ‘pool’ AIDA 2* certificate in Holland! Why only in a pool? Well, sure I plunged in open water, but here in Holland we have no warm and clear seas. Travelling to Red Sea or similar was too expensive for me. Slowly but surely the Dutch freedive group saw that my mermaid dream was seriously, and that I was very strict with all the safety rules of AIDA. They accepted me as a mermaid performer, and later they even helped me with all my video projects (Project Madison I, II and III) for camerawork and safety underwater. Even during a freedive tour in North Spain there was a special day for me as a mermaid in the Mediterranean Sea.
What is important to you as a mermaid? Perhaps you expect that my mermaid tail is important for me. Well yes, of course a mermaid tail is an important aspect of my mermaid life. But my mermaid feelings are not only based on a mermaid tail, but also based on graceful movements underwater with a monofin. I have to feel the water alongside my skin, the power of the monofin - even during a training. My mermaid tail is used for performances, photoshoots, pool sessions, underwater projects and for fun of course - but even without a tail I feel the mermaid inside me. Tell us about your tails One of the first steps to make my dream into reality But there is another important aspect when I dive was to create my own mermaid tail of course. like a mermaid. Safety. I have to trust my buddy and I started with an old legging and a home-made other safety divers, and know that they understand ‘monofin’ (two flippers toghether coverd with layers the my body language while underwater - even of pallet wrap), I understood that I needed help. I told you before about my first CMAS instructor when I wear a mermaid tail. who helped me to contact a manufacturer in custom-made diving suits. So my first swimmable But you was born as...? There are two lines in my life: diving like a mermaid tail was made out of neoprene and a seperate and gender dysphoria. Remember in the early Waterway monofin. Neoprene is very durable and eighties of the last century both were rather the first tail is still in use after many, many years! But unknown. First cause you have to know that Dutch unfortunately it was not very realistic... people are very down-to-earth. When I told them that I wanna be a mermaid, I’m sure they said that I’m crazy. For them ‘being a mermaid’ is impossible, but ‘perform like a mermaid’ is accepted. In the meantime I’m a normal woman with a special passion, but from the beginning I was requested for manytelevision programmes, magazines and newspapers. Kitty Mermaid was new in Holland and in combination of transgenderism I was well-known in only two weeks! Perhaps you think KittyMadison is my artist name. No, my second name Madison is my real one since my transition: as a kind of homage to the mermaid from Splash who changed my life forever.
In those days for realistic mermaid tails there was only one tailmaker: Thom Shouse. Very expensive, but I was lucky to order one. Orange colored, with nice golden effects. I never realized that the tail was so heavy! Especially for me in a professional WetTail I constructed a kind of ‘dolphin stretcher’. I’m sure that my mertenders were happy with it. However the tail was very heavy above the waterline, underwater it was weightless and easy to swim. Every two years I shipped the tail to Thom for repairs. For shows, television and demonstrations my professional mermaid tail is perfect, but for daily use I was looking for a lightweigt one. Easy to make, easy to repair and very effective underwater. I fell back on my old design of neoprene. In the meantime I had gained a lot of experience with glue and paint. With large molds I painted ‘scales’ with an airbrush, and I decided to make a modified monofin, dolphin-shaped of course. The small fins were made out window fiol. Inside the tail a ballast system is built-in. I was very pleased that I made the tail out of second-hand materials, as cheap as possible. This ‘second-hand-material’ tail is also
used for my One Day Mermaid Experiences and the Mermaid Academy. What has been the best experience you’ve had as a mermaid? I guess there are so many experiences in my mermaid life: many television programmes, even radio, diving in a very cold diving tower for Project Madison III, diving in the Mediterranean Sea, or the giant mermaid show “The Mermaid Of Edam” toghether with Mermaid Vicky. But one experience was a bit hilarious. I was asked for a photoshoot for a newspaper: held on the only island of IJmuiden. I just received the brand new tail from Thom Shouse. Without a zipper it took more than 20 minutes to put it on, with lots of help from baby powder. The photographer decided to pick me up as a mermaid at my home with a truck. I was waiting in my living room, tailed and be ready for it. Three strong men carry me outside, to the truck. People who see us thought that I was kidnapped thay wanted to call the police! No, no, it is just for a shoot! After a journey of 10 minutes I was carried on to a small boat that took us to the island. On the island a bulldozer transported me to the pier. The photographer wanted to wait till the ferry to Denmark was there. The ferry will be a great background of course! After an hour the Danish ferry was turning around the island, but the harbour master’s office saw us during the shoot. They called the captain of the ferry: “Hey, if you look at starboard, you will see a real mermaid!” The captain do not believe his eyes, cause he knows only the little mermaid in Kopenhagen, Denmark. Only a
minute later the captain said to all passengers via the announcement system: “If you take a look at starboard - that will be on your right - you will see a real mermaid!” I never seen so much people on one side of a ship, most of them waved to me :-) Since then they call me The Mermaid of IJmuiden.
What challenges have you faced? Many. The biggest challenge was my transition from a young boy to a woman of course. Many people thought that I did the transition cause I wanted be a mermaid, but that is not true. Diving like a mermaid and my gender dysphoria were two seperate parts of my life, but my mermaid creation helped me to accept my unusual situation. Now I’m just a woman like many others, but with a great mermaid passion. Now I decided to concentrate on the furure: I’ve no longer a gender problem, and usually I never talk about it. For the Tail Flip Magazine I made an exception ;-) Now I’m not only an underwater performer, but also an environmentalists. My whole life is based on saving energy, less travelling as possible. I live in a small appartment, with water-recycling systems in it. I use 100% wind power. I have no car, only a bike and a reclining bycicle. Every evening I walk alnog the shore at IJmuiden Beach. And I hear the voice of the sea. She is screaming, crying... For many people the sea is like a dumping-ground. I want to help her, save her. Why not use the mermaid in me to accomplish that? That will be my new challenge. You perform not only as a mermaid... That’s right. Some people say I’m multi-talented. Well... I’m a musician too: I play piano and keyboard for more that 33 years. I cannot read music: I listen to a mp3 or cd and I can play it. I’m also a composer: boogie woogie and blues, rock & roll and many
classical themes. I can also play the soundtracks of Splash of course :-) I also love nature: not only underwater, but I love the forests, the dunes and the beach too. Therefore I work as a volunteer in South-Kennemerland National Parc, 3800 ha pure nature what is like my back garden. The sea is always nearby... In history I worked as a electrician in a giant greenhouse. Or better: the biggest horticulture in bromeliads in the world. I’ve more than 20 years of experience in technical solutions and many materials. Some parts of this experience will be very helpful when I make a new mermaid tail out of silicone. Now in daily life I’m a mindfulness trainer, and I’ve my own comwpany named “Kitty-Madison”. Minfulness and meditation are also the basics for my mermaiding. During a One Day Mermaid Expereince and the Mermaid Academy I use both for breath-hold training. I’m very thankful for all people who choose me: without you it was not possibe to write my mermaid story.
Global Mermaid Faces!
Derek Photography Derek Boussard is quickly becoming a house hold name around the mer-community thanks to his underwater photography. Located in Hawaii, Derek works to merge the land and water through amazing imagery. Born out of a love of free diving Derek became enthralled with the underwater world. Currently Derek is in Seattle, taking people on snorkel tours and teaching underwater photography. He recently worked with the lovely Iona Mermaid and his interview on photographing a mermaid underwater is as followed: What was it like to photograph a mermaid? I love photographing mermaids! I am involved in a few underwater societies, unlike the spear fisherman, who just want to kill fish, or freedivers who want to dive as deep as they can, the mer community just seems to love being in the water; as do I.
How did you become interested in photography? I started freediving and was having trouble explaining to everyone back home all the amazing things I was experiencing underwater. I decided it was best to show them, and dived head first into underwater photography. It wasnâ€™t until I started school at the Art Institute of Seattle that I actually started shooting above water.
What is your most memorable moment as a photographer? This is a difficult question to answer. Every time I dive underwater I have a unique experience. There are a few dives that really stick out in my mind though. While I was living in Hawaii I had a buoy that was three miles off the island that acted as a fish aggregation device ( FAD). This FAD hosted as a home for a school of Galapagos and Sandbar sharks. This became one of my favorite dives because a small female shark would always recognize the sound of our boat motor and come to us, nuzzling her nose to us without any aggression, she would allow and maybe even want us to pet her. When we would stop, she would swim in a circle back to us, just like a puppy wanting a belly rub. Do you have any suggestions for underwater models and photographers?: Underwater modeling is a very difficult skill set. I think being comfortable underwater on a breath hold,
What drew you to underwater photography? Close to half the world population lives within 50 miles of water, yet the majority of people have no idea what is under the surface or what we are doing to the ocean. With underwater photography, I hope to merge the gap between the people who spend their lives terrestrially and the aquatic world.
or even an exhale breath hold is very important. Find a local freedive group and learn some of their techniques. Beyond that Practice with a mirror underwater, Try to limit bubbles around the nose, chipmunk faces, and watch how your limbs float in the water.
For underwater photographers, I highly recommend learning to freedive through a certified PFI instructor. The bubbles created from scuba tend to scare fish away. Mammals might even find the bubbles as a sign of aggression. Freediving allows the photographer to experience the aquatic world at a different, more intimate level.
Just for the Halibut: DIY Have you ever found your mer-self at a loss for where to put your treasures you’ve found at the bottom of the sea? Can’t figure out why we aren’t born with pockets for our shell-phones in our tails? Well, our Just for the Halibut this month is a shipwreck treasure chest. You can take it with you to parties or meetings, store ‘mermaid gems’, found items, yes even your shell-phone. Remember, as Mermaids/Mermen we find most of our items along the bottom of the sea for free, so don’t feel that you need to spend lots of money, I only bought a few things, because I felt them calling to me, use what you have around your cove, and get creative! For this project I started with: ~ 1 treasure chest (a used jewelry box is perfect) ~ E-6000 glue (A MUST for every crafty merperson) ~ Small little iridescent beads (in the craft section) ~ Colorful small shells ~ Fake plant ~ Moss Ribbon ~ Acrylic Paint (I used blue, green, tan, brown, & gold) ~ Brushes (foam brush & normal paint brush)
Step One: Organize your thoughts, what do you want your treasure chest to look like? Draw it out on a piece of paper, I like just going for it, but I drew up a picture of what I wanted it to look like, and then went off of that. Have a working space to work in, I like being slightly crowded and having everything together, so I put all my beads on a plate with my shells, and tore the moss off of the ribbon so I could go to town. Also, because you are using paint, make sure you have a plate to rest your paint brushes on, pour paint into, and rest the E-6000 glue, because after you squeeze
it the glue keeps coming, and you pry don’t want it on your carpet or nice table, once you have all of your items Step Two: Paint it! If you have metal on your treasure chest, distress it, make it look old, get a tan to go over the dark and lightly rub it against it, if this chest has been underwater, it’s not going to look pristine. I took a brush and stippled tan and brown paint onto mine in a lot of different places just for some extra texture. Then I did the same with a sponge with the blue and the green, this makes it look like moss is starting to grow, or mold, but moss is a bit more appealing to think about. With the nature of this project, it’s more about texture than coverage, you still want the under color to show through, doing the edges of where the top meets the bottom and brushing a lighter color against them makes it look like it has been opened and closed for many years and has been worn down. Once you have it painted to what you’d like, then it’s time for the next step! Step Three: Glue the world onto your treasure chest, or just odds and ends. I put a moss/tiny bead/shell border along the bottom to make it look like a reef started to grow onto it. Work with 2 inches at a time, don’t glue the entire thing and then put beads onto it, because then where you first started will be dry and the beads won’t stick. Draw the line you want, and then press the beads into it, hold for about 5 seconds. I liked drawing the Y shape with the glue and then putting the coral growth onto it, mixing it all up when you put it on makes it look natural and not forced. Go to town with this. Try to
Sunken Treasure Chest Step Five: Fill with fantastic items, Glitter pompoms make really great baby sea urchins. For my project I put in a crown, shell leis, and some pretty necklaces I had laying around, not to mention a dingle hopper. The bottom is layered with the moss ribbon used earlier. Put whatever you’d like in your treasure chest, plastic items to talk about recycling, mermaid rocks to give out to children, phone and keys so that little guppies don’t get their hands on also work in a pattern, if you glue on one side and it, the possibilities are endless! Have fun with it, as then flip it over to work on the other, gravity will try I’m sure many will be amazed at your sunken treato pull off those beads you just glued on, (Darn you sure chest and the items you have inside! gravity!) If you slowly turn your treasure chest as you glue then you will be safe from things falling off. Total Cost: $20 for all my supplies (including what For the sea weed, I just cut little 2 to 3 inch bits of I paid previously for the things that were laying the fake plant and then glued them on, then once around the house, but most of my supplies I’ve those were dry, I glued some coral growth onto the used for multiple projects, and will continue to use bottom so it covered the edge of my seaweed. You for many more, so it more than likely will be less for will be messy, take off anything you don’t want to you!) ~ by Mermaid Harmony be painted/glued, my hands were blue and glued by the end of this step.
Step Four: Examine your hard work and take a swish back to check it out! If you want to add more items, then do; shells, things that glitter, anything you want, make it your own! Now let it sit for about 20 hours to let the glue dry.
Aquarium Mermaids: Erin Gallagher of the Florida Aquarium has been spending her work days swimming in a Merbellas tail surrounded by aquarium life. In addition to being a divemaster, Erin offers us her unique perspective on working at an aquarium, being a mermaid, and the experiences she’s has thanks to these things. The interview is as followed: How did you first become involved with the Florida Aquarium? I moved to Tampa when I began college, studying marine biology, at the University of South Florida. Just like every college student, I needed some extra money and started looking for a part time job. I stumbled across a listing for a part time dive master with the aquarium and immediately applied. You mean I get to dive with awesome animals and get paid to do it!? Yes please. I have been a professional dive master since I was 18 and was thrilled to convert my experience diving in the open water to an aquarium setting. My general responsibilities as a dive master include regular maintenance of all in water exhibits, taking guests in the water for our Dive with the Sharks and Swim with the Fish programs, and donning a full face mask to interact with guests during educational shows. For the last four years I have been lucky enough to share my love of diving and marine life with our guests. In the last year, the aquarium decided to begin a mermaid diving program and asked our manager of diving operations, Lauren Freeman, and I to develop and implement a team of mermaids. And so the mermaid adventure began!
What drew your interest to mermaids? I grew up in Florida and I guess it was a natural thing for me to be drawn to the ocean. I was certainly the typical “water” kid, spending every moment
at the beach or in the pool, taking up surfing and SCUBA diving as soon as I could. SCUBA diving became a way for both Lauren and I to be as close to being “real” mermaids as we could and we would encourage anyone interested in mermaiding to go out and get SCUBA certified! I never thought that I would have the opportunity to live the life I imagined so many times in the pool as a kid, to be
a real life mermaid! How would you describe your first experience swimming in a tail at the aquarium? As professional divers, Lauren and I are incredibly adapted to swimming with 40+ lbs of dive gear, which includes a wetsuit, mask and fins. To strip all of those things off and put on the tail was quite a different and new experience. We have been in the exhibits a million times, but to do it without a wetsuit on, and no mask, was very strange. However, once we got the hang of breathing off of the modified hookah lines and swimming with the tails, it became a wonderful experience. It’s like we are in another world while underwater. We stay underwater for around 45 minutes while breathing off the air hoses, so it really does feel like you become one of the animals in the tank!
Florida Aquarium (Erin) What types of reactions do you get from patrons? Unfortunately, we can’t really see through the acrylic windows separating us from the crowds of people watching us. Small children who crowd right at the front and wave through the window sometimes appear as happy bouncing little blurs and we love to swim over and interact with them. Imagine swimming in a pool, where there is a big black window in front of you and you know that hundreds of people are watching you, but you cant
see them at all, that is what we see when we are performing. Camera flashes will catch your eye, but otherwise it’s just a dark gallery. However, the general feedback from people is what makes it all worthwhile. We love hearing the positive reactions from parents who tell us how much their children love to watch us, or from adults who are mesmerized by these sexy sirens in the tank. We have a great time down there and love to perform, so the reactions from guests are just the icing on the cake.
The main exhibit we perform in contains roughly 7,000 small baitfish and a few sharks and cownose stingrays. Sometimes our sequin scale tops attract the baitfish and they will break away from the bait ball and start nibbling on our tops! We can’t really see underwater so all of a sudden you will just feel a slimy fish biting your chest. Definitely a shock when it happens! We try to play it off, but it’s always funny when it gets caught on video. I’ve also had a cownose ray decide to nibble on my hair and the lobsters love to come over and crawl on you when we are sitting on the bottom. Lauren is definitely not a fan of having the lobsters all over her! We like to think that the more the animals interact with us, the more convincing we really are as mermaids! What has been the most interesting experience you’ve had so far as a mermaid? I would have to say that performing at many of the Republican National Convention parties, while it was in Tampa, was quite the experience. Regardless of political leanings, it was an amazing experience to receive that kind of national coverage, and perform for such influential political figures. However, both Lauren and I agree, that the experiences we cherish the most are watching the smile spread across a child’s face when they get to watch you swim. These are the moments that stick with us, being able to make dreams come true.
How does the aquarium life react to you? We have had the opportunity to swim with some really cool animals while at the aquarium and definitely have some funny stories as a result!
Social Networking for Mers In an increasingly digital world, social networking has become a corner stone for many businesses. For performing mermaids and mermen, social networking can mean; a job, booking a client, collaboration, and more. But what websites are worth your time? Here is a list of websites you may want to consider posting your mer-sona on with examples of my completed profiles to get your thoughts and ideas going!
www.facebook.com (Mine) Creating a FB page specifically for your persona can open a lot of doors. There is quite a large mermaid community on FB as well, and most mers find that they have some opportunity they can accredit to their FB page. www.ozoshare.com (Mine)
This is like FB but specifically designed for environmental groups and people interested in ecological issues and activism. It works a lot like FB but you WILL be booted off if your content isn’t related to these topics. It’s great for networking on the environmental end of things. www.twitter.com (Mine)
Twitter works best when you attach it to your FB page and any other websites you use. I use it to follow a lot of different people. I have had a LOT of opportunities simply from using twitter and being present so I really recommend it. Start by following whoever you want, and people with similar interest will follow you. You can post statuses and images, websites, videos etc and connect it to other websites. I use twitter the most from my phone. It’s a great app and depending on what other accounts you follow you can get news, weather, enviro issues, movie info, ANYTHING in your feed. It’s really easy to use and I believe very underused in the community. I have had a lot of opportunity through twitter so give it a try.
www.blogger.com (or ANY blogging platform) (Mine) I have kept many blogs over the years. Blogs are a great way to keep track of your mermaid journey. People seem to enjoy reading them and following along.
www.modelmayhem.com (Mine) Don’t be deceived by my profile. I had an older account for years that had a lot of activity. This one is just for my mermaid stuff. Every professional mermaid should strive to have some professional photos. MM is a great place to connect with local photographers- many who offer time for print services instead of paying. Also a great way to share your images. Several mers from the community are on here.
www.tumblr.com (Mine) By definition tumblr is supposed to be used like a blog but many people use it for answering questions and sharing images. It can take a bit to get going and get the hang of it but mermaids are popular on tumblr. Having a tumblr account and linking it to your website, blog, twitter etc will bring you in LOTS of new fans! Word of caution: your images will get shared a lot so make sure they have your website on them. Most people try to make sure credits stay intact but from time to time they get removed. You can also set up your profile so people can send you questions and as you answer those questions your answer turns into a post. several mers from the community are on tubmlr.
www.deviantART.com (One of Mine) So deviantART has been the driving force behind a LOT of what I do. I have 3 accounts, one of them is 9 years old and has close to 300K pageviews. It’s an art website for uploading photos, traditional art, digital art, crafts, literature, photomanips,
modelling, tail making- just about anything really. You’re able to submit your work to groups to get it more attention. You may end up getting a site wide feature (I had 4 they’re awesome) which would bring more exposure to your work, and there is an integrated system for selling prints. For the most part it’s a bustling and positive community . Quite a few mermaids are on DA- it’s how I met a LOT of people in the community. This is also one of those sites that I think is underused in the community.
www.worldcosplay.net (Mine) I only just got on this site at the suggestion of a friend. I haven’t gotten much from it- but I haven’t put much into it. If you have some Ariel cosplays etc I think it’s a great place for you if you don’t already use it. They do have an “original” category which is where I’ve placed my stuff. Just make sure you have your credits in everything so people know where to find you.
www.youtube.com (Mine) If you’ve got videos- youtube is a must. If you don’t have any videos... make some slideshows with your images! The nice thing about youtube is that it gives you the embed code for other websites. So if you have a personal website or blog you can attach videos. One of the downsides is that they’ll remove your video if it contains SOME music. Now, some musiciains dont care- so youtube doesn’t either. But if a band/musician/record label has gone on record to youtube saying people can’t use their stuff- it gets pulled down. YOU HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING WHICH PEOPLE ARE COOL WITH IT AND WHICH AREN’T. It’s very trial and error. You’ll see some of my videos have music on them- in every case it’s because the artist is okay with it. I only found out that AFTER it uploaded. Some videos aren’t available in certain countries. It’s very try and see. So be careful!
www.flickr.com (Mine) I don’t use it much. Good for image sharing. Couldn’t hurt to have since it has a big community. Quite a few beautiful mermaid photos on there. I think you could get a lot out of it if you put some time into it. I 500px.com (Mine) haven’t updated mine in a while. Like anything else Another image sharing it just takes some effort. Make sure all your stuff is explanatory. credited.
~ By Raina
www.imgur.com (Mine) Another image sharing website. This one is where a lot of viral images come from. It’s also great for hosting images that you want to share elsewhere on the web as it’ll give you the codes and can be more reliable than photobucket.
plus.google.com (Mine) I don’t use mine enough. I find it a lot like FB and while I want to really like it and use it... it just hasn’t done much for me. Can’t hurt to have though
Cover Model: Iona A mermaid who has been extremely active behind the scenes, Iona has been working hard for a number of years to help build the online mermaid community from the sea bed up. With an innovative spirit, Iona is always on the go whether she’s making new accessories to sell on the coop she founded, refurbishing a mermaid tail, or running Mernetwork the largest online Mermaid forum. Take a moment and learn a bit about the mermaid who is always making things possible for others, and was chosen as this issues cover model!
1. How did you first become involved in the mer-community? About five years ago is when I first discovered that there were real life mermaids. I, like many other merfolk, have loved and connected with mermaids from a very young age. When I found out that it was possible to have a tail you could swim in, I was fascinated and scoured the internet trying to find more people who had the same passion. At the time, there were few people out there who owned tails at all. However, I was able to connect with some of them on Myspace. Even so, it was hard to connect with the merfolk on a more interactive level, and very little information was shared. Over time people left Myspace but did not resurface elsewhere. I had met merman Malinghi, and we stayed in touch via email. I mentioned that I wish I there was a place where the mefolk community could come together and interact. There was also the matter that there were no places where people could find public reviews on tail makers—which I think is pretty important considering that they range from $120-$6,000, and you can’t see them in person before buying. I wasn’t very optimistic about the ability to create or the potential success of such a
place, but Malinghi urged me to work with him to make it a reality. Together we decided to create a forum—we looked through hosts together, created the forum, and promoted to all our merfolk friends. It started out slow, but then exploded with active members and all kinds of information! Mer.Yuku.com over time became so successful that we felt confident in upgrading to our own domain for more freedom. This is the MerNetwork that the community knows and loves today! The community formed and we have all shared, grown, and learned together, through good and bad! Now the number of mermaids and merman have grown so much that we also have a network all across Facebook, where we share with each other and promote one another. 2. Tell us about the Merfolk Co-Op The Merfolk Co-Op is a site where merfolk who sell hand made mer related items can sell their products with no fees! In my own venture into the world of online retail, I began to realize a few things about the market of the merfolk community. Selling online is a pain in the fin. As if everything else wasn’t hard enough for online marketers, you have to add on the endless fees. On top of those is the fact that mermaiding and merfolk attire and accessories is still a niche market. I came to realize how discouraging it can be, and hard to sell things, when you add everything together.
The truth is that most stores only have a few items listed at a time, and some only specialize in a few types of items. This can make promoting and getting constant customers in a problem. Often times items and whole stores get “swept under the rug” of the net, simply becuase they don’t have more to offer and therefore don’t keep the public’s attention. This often keeps people from selling things online because they only have one or two things they want to sell, and they deem it far too much trouble. I’ve even seen very successful mers who make beautiful and popular accessories give up selling becuase of all the hassle. It didn’t seem right to me.
Then I got this idea brewing in my head. What if there was a place where all the merfolk could list items together? Put it all in one place. No dozens of different store fronts, no hassle with promotion, and better yet, no fees! All of what merfolk want, by the community for the community. “A sea of possibilities.” I hope to make it a well working machine that will make listing and selling items easy. If you’re interested in listing items, just go to themerfolkco-op.com and click on “Information on Listings” for the needed information.
sense. People ask me why I swim with a tail, and I smile at them and say, “This is how I fly.” 4. What was it like modelling underwater? Modeling underwater is challenging and demanding, but fun at the same time! There are a lot of things to think about, even before you get into the water. Under water photos can be very forgiving to some aesthetic aspects- it evens skin tone, smooths winkles, and can even be thinning! I found posing can even become more natural if I just let the weightlessness and flow of the water take over. But there are also a lot of things that can make it difficult. The water can also wash out all of the color in my face. Being fair skinned, defining my features a bit with some water proof makeup can go a long way to avoid looking like a ghost. Of course the first thing that comes to mind for most as a challenge is breath holding. Saying under long enough to pose and get the shot is the first challenge. Combine that with odd lighting and working around the photographer for angles, it inevitably means a lot of repeating the same pose over and over to get that one beautiful shot. Also having a relaxed face while your body is telling you you need to get oxygen can be a challenge in itself! When you are under long enough, you diaphragm contracts quickly and forcefully to try and make you breathe, and your heart speeds up. You not only have to ignore that, but look serene while you hold for the shot. I just try and think about the soothing feel of water over the feeling of wanting to breathe, but it isn’t easy!
3. Why do you love mermaids? I love mermaids because of all of what they represent to me. Mermaids are myth and magic. Not only that, but they are the employment of the element of water, which to me represents emotions, dreams, compassion, love, sadness, healing, rest, cleansing, and death and rebirth. They are loving and accepting of themselves and ever compassionate to both the planet and other beings. They are freedom, peace, and and healing from the Stretching well and doing weight of the world. They are angels of the water. breathing exercises before I even get in the water To become one with the water and adopt all helps with posing, avoiding of what they stand for can be an enlightening cramps, and lessens the experience in many ways. Cousteau made an intensity of the diaphragm excellent description of what water can do for us. contractions somewhat. “From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his Another big issue for me shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only was buoyancy. I naturally to sink beneath the surface and he is free. Buoyed have a tendency to float, by water, he can fly in any direction - up, down, and with a tail made from sideways - by merely flipping his hand. Under water, 2mm neoprene and a man becomes an archangel.” The water heals and layer latex, it becomes rejuvenates, and connects us with ourselves and quite difficult for me the planet at the same time. It can give you a whole to stay under or even new perspective on life, if you let it. Becoming that to hold a pose for long embodiment of water.. it is magical, in a very real when underwater. I work
with this by either moving almost continuously, or using weights. I find moving is better for open water shoots and weights are better for pools. In one shoot I did in a 5ft pool I had a weight belt around my waist, a weight on my fluke, and two hand weights that I would use to pull myself down to the bottom fully before letting go and posing. Going under so often can be very exhausting, so breaks are a must. It can even be hard on your sinuses! But even with all of that, in the end the experience is so rewarding! I am very fortunate and thankful to know a few underwater photographers near me, and hope to do many more shoots in the future! 5. What has been your biggest challenge as a mermaid? As a community leader? I would say my biggest challenge as a mermaid would be dealing with my physical disabilities. Iâ€™m a diagnosed narcoleptic, and also have other sleep and physical issues that play a lot into my ability to exert myself physically. With my sleeping issues, it makes it extremely hard to do events that take place or start early in the morning. At times I have to pass on events because of this. Also swimming takes a lot out of me, so I have to be careful to not overstep my limits for my own safety. I am sure to take precautions for these issues, including always having a mertender or assistant to transport me to and from events. As a community leader, I would say that I face two things that are continuously challenging. The first is keeping up with the MerNetwork site, and with the ever growing and expanding knowledge of the community. Dealing with the site is a daily job in itself, and consists of many things in both the technical aspects of running a website and the social aspects of helping the users. Keeping up with the new information of
the community can quite a challenge as well! In the past 7 years the merfolk community has made enormous leaps and bounds in development. Some of the most important being the development of techniques on making tails, and
of course the sharing of this information. 7 years ago how to make any tail, even a basic fabric tail, was considered a trade secret. Since then, not only has that been unveiled and shared for the world to know and use, but also techniques and knowledge on neoprene tails, textured latex tails, and now even molded latex and silicone tails! There have also been expansions in knowledge of making accessories, on how to make mermaiding or tail making a career, and more. We try and keep the information organized, up to date, and are working section by section on compounding all of the information together to make it more easily found. The second challenge would be moderating the ever changing issues of the community, at least when it comes to the forum. Every community group, no matter how big or small, no matter the common interest, has disagreements. Because this community is small and so close knit, these disagreements can become very personal. Things can get intense in the middle of it all for a lot of people. It is my job to be informed about these issues, to remain as neutral as possible as an administrator, and to know when to take action and decide what action to take if it is necessary. Sometimes that means contacting certian parties and helping them sort it out, sometimes that means letting it run itâ€™s course, and sometimes it means moving or removing the heated topic so people can calm down and rethink their perspective on said topic. It can even mean having to remove a
person from the site, which is an extremely hard decision to make. It can be very hard and very stressful at times. I am always learning when it comes to dealing with these situations, and I work constantly to do my best to remain open minded and neutral as possible.
spreading so fast! Just this past year it has come into the hearts of SO many newcomers! I am thankful for them, but I urge them and all other mers to be aware and thankful for those merfolk who came before you! The mermaids, mermen, and tailmakers that came before us have all paved the way for where we are and what we have now. It didn’t just happen, and it certainly didn’t happen over night! A lot of people have worked and sacrificed so much for this passion. The history of mermaiding goes back farther than some may think, and all of those people have lead the way for the amazing growth and information that we are seeing today.
Besides that, have faith in yourself! You never know what your passions can turn into if you just get out there and give it a chance. Look to other merfolk for inspiration, but concentrate on finding out who the unique mermaid or merman in you really is. Being a 6. What is one accomplishment you’ve done as mermaid isn’t about how many pretty accessories you have, or how fancy and expensive your tail isa mermaid that you’re proud of? I would say the accomplishment that I’m most it’s about what’s in your heart, your passion, and proud of would be my hand helping form the what you can DO with it! community that we have today. I have no doubt that a community would have formed on alternative social media sites such as Facebook eventually. However, it was the function of having a place where information could be shared and gathered that really made huge differences in the community’s development. Mer.Yuku and MerNetwork have certainly expedited the evolution of merfolk by having that ability. All Malinghi and I did was provide the place and structure for it to take place, and the wonderful merfolk that came there did the rest. They learned together, and from one another. Seeing the community grow together in so many ways gives me so much pride. A lot of people have said that MerNetwork is like a family, and that they have made many wonderful friends through there. I see people come in with a dream and use the support and the information given to them by others to make that dream come true. A community of merfolk able to share, support, and grow with one another is something that I had only dreamed about 5 years ago, and now it is a reality. Having even a small hand in that is something that I will always be proud of. 7. Any words of wisdom for new mers? Mermaiding is a passion that is growing and
Tail Care & Maintenance So you’ve got your new mermaid tail now, and you want to make it last? Mermaid Iona has some tips for you! Based on her thread on Mernetwork here are the main things you’ll want to consider when you receive your tail! Take care of your tail, and you can prolong it’s life to give you years of joyful swimming! Neglect care and it can break down faster than you’d like. Here are some tricks and tips on tail care and maintenance to keep your tail working and looking great for many swims to come! When you put on your mermaid tail, always pull gently as possible from the top and bottom pieces of the tail, not the seems. Seems can break and even tear if pulled tightly over time. When you are putting on your mermaid tail, always always put it on on a soft surface. A yoga matt is preferable. A large piece of spongy foam (like camping foam) is a good option. A towel will even do in a pinch! Abrasive surfaces like pool side concrete will damage the tail. The heel area on a mermaid tail is one of the most delicate parts on the entire suit. The second would be the knee area. Therefore you should avoid putting stress on these parts if at all possible. These areas are usually the first to wear and even get damage such as tearing. Do not hop or jump around in you tail, on land or in the water. Try to avoid putting your fluke down and standing on your monofin at all. Instead hover and float in the water- use a floatation device such as a pool noodle if necessary. Avoid “perching” on your knees in or out of water if possible. If you must scoot, be very careful to put as little weight on the heels as possible. Instead of scooting, lift your heels, extend them, set them down, then use your upper body to lift and then set down your buttox (putting as little weight as possible on the heels). When you are swimming, try and keep your tail away from the pool bottom or walls. The abrasive material can snag, scrape, and generally damage your tail. Every mermaid tail, no matter what it’s made of, should be rinsed with cold fresh water, inside and out, as soon as possible after each use. Avoid warm or hot water, as this can do further damage to the
material. You can rinse your tail with a garden hose, a shower hose, or a tub faucet. You can spray and/ or rinse the inside of the tail with a half and half mixture of distilled white vinegar and water. Then rinse the solution out as well. This will discourage any mold, mildew, or other bacteria growth inside the tail. This will also help prevent chlorine from deteriorating the fabric. A back brush - such as the ones you use in the tub or shower, soft bristles, long handle for reaching your back and shouldersis good for cleaning a tail without damaging the paint job. It is great for removing sand, dirt, and any flakey paint. After you are finished rinsing your tail hang it up to dry as soon as possible. DON’T WAIT until tomorrow- rinse and dry your tail ASAP! Never use or submerge your tail in warm or hot water (no hot tubs!). Never leave your tail out in the sun! Not even to dry! Do not store in direct sunlight! Never leave your tail in a hot car or trunk, or other hot area such as a storage shed. Never store your tail where it is under constant stress (like on a hanger, where the monofin will stress the folded hanging area). Best thing is to store it flat. Remember that latex can be sticky. Once a latex tail is completely dry, you can dust it with baby powder or corn starch to keep it from sticking to itself. This can be very important for storage over long periods of time or when you need to transport it in the heat. Remember that sun and heat are damaging to materials such as latex, neoprene, lycra, ect. Transport your tail with care. For heavier tails you can carry it a short distance with it over your shoulder or over your forearm. For longer trips you may want to invest in a large bag. Some mers have used extra large art portfolio bags, some have used pop-up tent bags, some extra large tote bags. Some have even made bags specifically for carrying their tail, made to shape. Again, take note that tin cure latex or silicone, latex, and silicone tails may stick to itself. Therefore you may want to powder the tail with baby or talc powder before transport. Avoid putting anything on top of your tail if at all possible, especially laying it flat and setting something moderately heavy on top, and especially in the heat. This can warp the monofin pockets beyond repair, making it painful to even excruciating for
your feet to swim in. The monofin may have to be taken out of the tail (deconstruction of the fluke) and repaired or replaced if this occurs. Tails should NEVER be shipped in a flattened box for this reason.
be blended with petroleum. Buy online, or from your local dive shop.) This is especially important for tin cure latex to keep it from deteriorating. DO NOT use on silicone! A silicone based lube or spray on silicone will result in the silicone compounds Depending on what your tail is made of, it may be melting each other. Just the same, NEVER use a harder to dry out the inside of the tail. Some mers petroleum based product on latex or neoprene! It build or purchase things to aid in drying their tails will damage the latex or neoprene beyond repair. completely. One option is to buy a boot dryer, such as the “PEET Dryer Wader Boot Wader Electric Water is hard on zippers. If your tail has a zipper, Dryer” Another is to buy a coat rack, preferably take care of it, or you may need to remove/replace with adjustable or removable arms. You can even it sooner than you’d like! A wet use zipper care place this over a air vent, if you have those in your formula such as “Zip Care Liquid Zipper Cleaner home. You would hang the tail upside down (fluke and Lubricant” is recommended. up) with either of these. A DIY option would be to build a tail drying rack out of PVC. Several people For painted tin cure latex tails, you can repaint and touch up the paint with Createx brand airbrush have done this with great success! paint. This can be found at craft stores nation wide. You do not need to have an airbrush to paint the tail, you may brush it on with a paint brush. Let the paint dry for at least one hour, making sure all paint is completely dry, before curing the paint. You may have to recoat the paint in layers to get a nice uniform coat. If so, be sure to let it dry between layers. It is better to wait and do it correctly. Heat set with a very hot heat gun to cure the paint. A tool grade or craft grade heat gun is recommended. A hair dryer will not work. Be Left stand made by Merman Jesse, right stand made by Iona’s spouse) careful when using the heat gun. Keep it moving- if a spot gets too hot the paint will bubble and will There are also speciality shampoos you can use become prone to peeling and flaking off, and it is to wash your tail. You can use them with every possible to melt or burn a hole in the tail if one use, or every now and then. Perhaps every 5th area is heated for too long. Paint will eventually use. We recommend McNett’s Wet Suit Dry Suit come off over time, and with scrapes on abrasive Shampoo. This can be used on neoprene (and surfaces such as concrete, rocks, and pool walls. neoprene based) and lycra tails. For platinum silicone or slip casting latex tails, there are cleaners Rips and tears can happen. For patching rips/tears made specifically for this material that will clean in neoprene, there are the following: Seal Cement and sanitize the latex or silicone safely. It sounds Contact Cement for Neoprene and Aquaseal strange, but the best product for this job is actually Urethane Repair Adhesive and Sealant. a sex toy cleaner! Read the labels, make sure that the cleaner is approved for latex and silicone! Any fabric based tails will lose elasticity over time and stretch out. Neoprin is probably the worst Tails made from lycra, neoprene, tin cure latex, and offender with this issue. You can take them in slip casting latex will degrade over time. Another yourself as needed, or you can take them to a thing you can do to help slow that process is to use seamstress and have them do it for you. Just be a spray protectant. It will need to be reapplied every sure to inform them of the type of materials so they so often to maintain protection. We recommend know how to handle it properly. Check out some McNett Silicone Spray Lubricant Protectant (Do tips on the “Sewing lycra and other swim fabrics” not use hardware store silicone sprays, as they may thread and the “Sewing Neoprene” thread.
Mer Model Interview: A local of Quebec where the weather conditions rarely permit outdoors or water related activities for more then 4 months of the year, Marie-Chantal Cadieux (known in the mermaid community as Canadian Mermaid Marie) has been a fashion model for over 35 years and a mermaid model for over 12. In august 2012 she won the International mermaid awards pageant and was crowned International Mermaid Queen. How did you get into modeling? I was very young when I had my very first runway experience within a fashion show, I wasn’t actually featured as a model but I was the one that had to bring a huge bouquet of flowers larger than myself to the lady mayor of our city for hosting the event. That’s when I was enrolled in a modeling school. I was already familiar with the stage doing dance shows and figure skating so I was rather comfortable there. I did my very first professional photo shoot when I was 6 years old and entered my first pageant when I was 12. How did you start Underwater modeling? I first started underwater modeling using my own camera for my personal projects. Later I saw a photographer’s advertisement on the web that was looking for underwater models for an artistic project of his; when I replied saying that I was actually a mermaid entertainer, it was the start of a great partnership & friendship that is still lasting today. I since had request from several other photographers wanting to photograph me as well. How is underwater modeling different then dry land? Very different, you need to have an extremely good cardio rate as you’re constantly in movement while keeping your breathe.
The other difficulty we have here is that the water’s generally always cold so if you stop moving you get cold very fast. How do you find photographers? They generally come to me but social photography forums are a good place to start if you’re a beginner that needs to create a portfolio and a name for yourself, many photographers offer TFCD or TFP (time for CD or time for print service exchange). What do photographers looks for in a dry land model? I guess this is very personal to each photographer according to the project they’re working on, what if it’s a fashion or artistic shoot, it also depends of the era and the current market standards. For fashion right now the aim pretty much stops at a slim sensual girl with pulpous lips, 20 years ago they were looking for bubbly personalities and childish attitudes. Time changes and so does the public demand and marketing campaigns. What do photographers look for in underwater models? Most photographers use diving gear to work so they prefer to work with models whom are either certified divers and can function without having to go back up for air every 2 minutes, especially if they work in deep areas. If not, being able to keep your
Canadian Mermaid Marie breathe for long periods while maintaining pleasant facial expressions is a must I guess. Being fit and having a great reputation for it is likely the key to get any form of serious professional offers in that field. If a photo shoot or film has been difficult because of your inability to perform, the word goes around fast. It’s also a good thing to test the water you’ll be working in prior to a shoot. I’m not used to swimming in warm or salty water and I was completely taken by surprise when it suddenly transformed me into a floater during a small show at The Wreck bar last spring. I’m a certified swimmer and I’ve been swimming my entire life and I couldn’t manage to swim normally at window level, I kept being pulled up. Water temperature and salt/chlorine filtration WILL affect your abilities if the change is drastic.
What advice do you have for safety? My main concern is never drowning, though I still never swim alone, especially in the wild as you can always easily get tangled in weeds & such no matter how good-a-swimmer you are. My main concern is all the perverts out there posing as photographers. Always verify who the person is before accepting any contracts, check out what kind of work they do and, if models have been tagged on their social medias & such, try contacting a model who’s worked with them to get some feedback on the person’s professionalism. Photographers often promise a lot and sometimes you end-up never even seeing the work you did for them. If it’s for publication, than read all the small characters at the bottom of the release form and don’t be afraid to request that your own terms & conditions be added to the agreement.
What do you enjoy the most about modeling? Modeling for personal & private projects; Creativity is what I like the most about personal photo shoots, it permits you to immortalize that moment or place in time where you’d want to be; create a world of your own and become whomever or whatever your heart wishes to be. In my opinion, photography is the best form of magic there is, even better than movies, as it permits the mind to run free, extrapolate and tell its own story. While modeling for personal projects, what if it’s for artistic pictures or mermaid photography, I like to work around a theme, a concept or a specific object. Once I have a basic idea of what I want to do. I then start looking for a location or for props to make it possible. Sometimes it’s an actual location that inspires me a concept so I then go at it the opposite way; I make my costumes & accessories to match the place’s mood. But it’s easier and much cheaper to work at it the other way around by using what you have handy and build a theme or concept around it. It can also be combined with a holiday vacation, as part of your trip to make your memories even more unforgettable. Other than feeling happy and fabulous, you don’t owe anything
to anyone, asides from punctuality. You can let your creativity go wild and live the dream, if only for a day. Do you have suggestions on how to pose underwater? Yes, learn how to SMILE, there’s nothing more disgraceful than a mermaid or underwater model that looks like it’s about to blow-up from holding her/his breathe. Also, if you’re posing as a mermaid/ merman lose all human manners and remember that you’re a beautiful skilled sea creature in your own environment. Own the water, it’s your world. Be comfortable in it as you are on land; be elegant and graceful. Lose the bundled legs and the duck
pout expression. And unless it’s requested, try not to make bubbles. What advice would you give to a budding mer-model? Do what you do for yourself, not to please a friend or parent that’s dragging you into it, and don’t do it for fame and money. Have fun doing what you do, the rest will come as you gain experience and gain recognition for your work. Also, try developing your own style, be different, be expressive, be unique. If I had to give you any advice about organizing your own photo session I’d say, make sure you have an assistant; most photographers don’t bother about details while they concentrate on their frame & focus, they won’t tell you that your tag or belly is sticking out, that your fingers are not placed in an elegant manner, that your hair got bushy, that your lipstick or eyeliner is running, that your seam is wonky, that there’s a piece of trash in the background, etc… And if you’re not a graphic artist that can retouch all these, those are the details that will make the difference between a professional looking picture and an amateur one, no matter how good your photographer is and how great the image quality is. Enjoy!
Book Review Neptune Rising: Songs & Tales of the Undersea Folk Book Type: Collection Of Short Stories Author: Jane Yolen Summary(goodreads.com): A collection of stories & poems which feature merfolk. Review by Under The Sea Literature: To start, I would like to say finding a proper summary was a bit difficult, I guess because this book isnâ€™t that well known. It really should be though, because each story in this fabulous collection was excellent! When I first saw this, I was intrigued by the romantic cover art, but you really cant judge the pages of a book just by its cover. I thought this book was going to be just another collection of mermaid stories that I have read before, such as Melusine or The Selkie Wife, but these are all original stories created by the author. What I really found interesting about this book was that each story has an ending that is whimsical, and makes the reader really become aware of every little character and detail of the story. Another positive point is that readers who love selkies will love this book since there are plenty of selkie stories. This is one of those books where I am telling you mer-readers out there, you must go pick this up, immediatly! You will enjoy it, and it is a book that will not take a long time to read. I am aware Jane Yolen wrote other books on mermaids, and I will check those out for my readers as well. I give this book 5 stars, and it is going in my mer-library soon!
No Odinary Treasure Hunt Hello Tail Flippers from FanPlasitc Girl Gear! The chilly season is upon us here in Eastern Canada, which means that the majority of you Northern Mers are no longer swimming outdoors. Time for Vitamin D drops!
the people here, I enjoy escaping from the traffic, loud trains, and oil refinery emissions. We are very lucky to have the ocean right here! It allows us the option of fun boat travels, houses our sea creatures, fuels or thirst, and refreshes us –yet we
I hope the season was kind to you, and that you found our waters a little less polluted than last year. I’m sure you have found an abundance of plastic debris floating in your travels, as I have found in mine. I’m not lucky enough to don a beautiful tail to propel me through the waves; so my adventures are bound to land. And, since the beaches will be freezing soon, I thought I would take this opportunity to recap my treasures from earlier this year. I’m not your ordinary treasure hunter. My trails don’t come with a map, and I’ve yet to find an “X” marking any spot! I search the beaches for anything not native to them. Neon pink, bright blue, metallic silver… when I spot these colors I know I’m in the right place. Plastic trash is everywhere, if you open your eyes to it, you’ll see it. Any piece I see, I pick up. I take them home, clean them, and process them into new wearable accessories for mermaids and humans alike! Each piece is displayed on “tree-free” cards, labeled with what they used to be, and added to the FanPlastic Girl Gear store and showcase. Since I live in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia – I spend the majority of my time at local beaches, lakes, and ponds when the weather lets me. Like so many of
haven’t protected it as we should. The Halifax Harbour carries more than Theodore Tugboat; pop bottles, candy wrappers, and bags litter its body. Eastern Passage’s playful waves splash broken toys, cell phone cases, and even plastic lawn chairs onto its shores. And although common sense tells me that Lake Banook shouldn’t have a static problem, it sure likes to collect Bounce rollers like it does. And the ducks living in the attached pond have yet to find a use for the empty shampoo bottles that float with them… “Pick it up. Put it on!” is a simple way for everyone to contribute to cleaner waters, and prevent our less defensive animals/ mammals from wearing our trash inadvertently. There are approximately seven billion people on this planet. If every person took responsibility for just one piece of plastic, that would make seven billion less pieces offending the planet. How many pieces have you picked up?
Poem & Mers in Music Mer by Joanne Elliott Ancestor or myth? Or are you still there beneath the waves, the waters hidden deep within our Mother hiding from your sisters and brothers who once hunted and misunderstood you who move as one with ocean and creature alike. Who dive and rise as dolphins and whales do. Human or creature? Or are you both? Do we know who we are? We walk too tall among the others pretend we are not one of them those creatures who roam our earth. Animal we are, but we misunderstood our place. You, ethereal, homo aquaticus
Love mermaids so much you want them in your playlist? Click each song to be forwarded to either youtube or a streaming site to hear the music! We’ve found every genre! Dylan Guthro- The Mermaid Song Great Big Sea- The Mermaid Train- Mermaid Eagle Eye Cherry- When Mermaids Cry Amorphis- Mermaid Glay- Mermaid Inspiral Carpets- Mermaid Okkervil River- Mermaid Regina Spektor- Mermaid Tears Of Magdalena- mermaid Nightwish -Turn Loose the Mermaids Me Without You- Fiji Mermaid
beautiful being upon the waves are what we have dreamed into legend, then myth, but then we began to see you again in books, logs of historical record, once more we wonder. Are you there? Shadows beneath the waves beneath our conscious minds deep in the sub ocean of our imaginations you begin to rise. We begin to understand again, but can we take it all in begin this life again from a new place, as one with all the others? Or will it drown us? This sea of knowledge that we are no different than you or the dolphin or the whale or the sea lion or the ape washing in the waters of life who stands on two legs and wonders…
Phosphorescent -Mermaid Parade Mississippi John Hurt- Let The Mermaids Flirt With Me Rodrigo Y Gabriela -South Of Heavens Chanting Mermaids Dethklok - Mermaid-er Esthero -Black Mermaid Flight Of The Conchords -Mermaids I Am Kloot- Mermaids Lucky Fonz Iii -The Mermaid Man Or Astro-man- Mermaid Love Xenogears - June Mermaid Paul Weller- Mermaids Preston Reed- Mermaid Eyes (this is a cover) Ruby Blue- Song Of The Mermaid The Mermen - Splashin With The Mermaid Xandria- Mermaids yellow monkey - Tsuioku No Mermaid
© 2012 Joanne Elliott
My Jolly Sailor Bold
Mer Model Interview: Ide Ide (that’s “ee-dah”) mermaid is also known as “Bunny Zlotnik” in the human world, has been a performer for nearly all of the 25 years she’s spent on this planet. Ide began with preschool productions of fairytales for the neighbors (produced, directed & starred in by the mermaid herself), a touring ballet show in second grade, onegirl-puppet-shows of unabridged Shakespeare by 5th grade, and professional street performing as a sophomore in high-school. At age 15 her mother helped her create a swimmable mermaid tail, and shortly thereafter she ran away with a sailor to crew on races in the San Francisco Bay. Now Ide directs and performs with the Vespertine Circus (whenever she’s not entertaining children as a mermaid or faerie). When she’s not in the water, she’s usually upside-down suspended from the ceiling as Bunny. From time to time, she wears fancy clothes for magazines. Recently we recived the opportunity to ask her about her history in modeling the interview is as followed: How did you get into modeling? The short answer is that my dad is a professional photographer and so I grew up in a dark room, surrounded by camera enthusiasts. It was during his participation in the development of some color-calibration software for printers that I had my first commercial shoot, around age 12, as part of a color-sample page, beside other youngsters of varying skin-tones, color-gradients, and bowls of fruit. Beyond that, I had friends with photo projects approach me for help a few times in High School, and, found that I enjoyed working from both sides of the camera lens to create interesting and memorable images. It doesn’t take long
to discover that there’s a lot of artistry going on, whether you’re taking the picture, or in it. How did you start Underwater modeling? In the not-too ancient past I had a lot of hair. I mean, a lot of it - more than 4 feet of thick, blonde, wavy/ curly hair. It’s that hair which inspired a seasoned under-water photographer, named Mark Alberich Mathews, to ask me if I’d like to try shooting in his pool. Of course, being a water-baby, I was excited for the opportunity and challenge. Luckily for me it went well - he quickly mentioned that at least 70% of the models he tries to get images of in the water he has a difficult time taking even one useable photo with, because it’s so physically demanding and different from other types of modeling, and
I believe it. He was a good coach and we shot together on several occasions. How is underwater modeling different then dry land? Modeling under-water is an entirely unique creature - no matter how simple your pose is, you’re multitasking fervently while you’re under water. You need to think about breath control, about how to hold your hands to make sure you aren’t gluing your fingers together like you might when you normally swim, to be sure to keep your eyes open and to make natural, relaxed facial expressions
in it) whether it’s in front of a full audience or for a single photographer, it’s not the time to push your limits. Even if your breath record is over three minutes long, maybe only the first minute actually looks relaxed and beautiful, so there’s really no reason In some ways, being a great swimmer will really to work on endurance help you, but in other ways, it can make it harder while you’re on a shoot. to model under water, because you will have more habits to break. Some people are amazing Take time to catch your at swimming, but can’t for the life of them get into breath and relax your nervous system between water and look relaxed for photos. submerging. If you don’t, How do you find you’ll get sloppier each time you go down and photographers? I have a number of modeling waste everyone’s time, portfolios online, both in addition to depleting on my own website and your blood of needed oxygen. I can’t stress the a few model networking importance of breathing enough, even if you are sites, so for the most part-fish. part, photographers find me. I have yet to work If you’ve been modeling in a pool for three hours, through an agency, I and suddenly you find your eyes are too bloodreally enjoy calling shot from the salt or chlorine to see clearly, don’t the shots myself as a drive yourself home until you’re recovered. It’s not worth having a traffic accident because you’re freelance model. I also send messages partially blind. to photographers whose work inspires If you are shooting with a me, just in case photographer you have never they feel the same met before, get references. way and want to Contact models they’ve collaborate. If you never worked with in the past, and ask, the answer is always “no”, so it’s important to make sure they are who they say they are and that they put yourself out there. know what they’re doing. With social-networking looking the way it does today, you may be surprised to find that acquaintances If someone is going to be on your friends list are budding photographers, taking pictures of you under searching for subjects. If you’re looking to make water, make sure they are a pictures, put the word out, you may already know good swimmer themselves and that they have realistic someone who’s excited to shoot with you. expectations of you. If someone pushes you, is What advice do you have for safety? rather than When you’re working in water (as opposed to training intimidating rather than some variation of a puffer-fish breathhold face or worse - squinting. If you want images where you are “walking” on the surface of the water, turning upside down means dealing with added water-pressure, just like turning a somersault in the water does. Sinking into the water without disturbing the surface or making a lot of bubbles is key if you want the image to have a clean look (no bubbles between the subject and the camera), or your reflection in the surface of the water.
encouraging, manipulates your self-esteem to get you to do anything you are uncomfortable with, or says one thing in Emails and then something different in person - leave. There is no reason to put yourself at risk or go through with something you’re
not completely comfortable with. Keep your wits about you, and you’ll thank yourself later. Any advice on how to pose in a tail in or out of water? With a tail your options are a lot more limited on land than when you’ve got legs, so focus on varying your facial expression, hands & gestures to get a good variety of shots. It depends on what kind of tail you have, too, whether it will even be possible to bend your knees and raise your fluke behind your or not; work with what you’ve got.
for pose-feedback and coaching, they can see what’s going on and you can’t, after all. Don’t be shy. It’s worth your time to make faces in the mirror at home and experiment with self-portraits. What is it they say about practice? Well, nobody’s perfect, so, get to it. Do you have suggestions on how to pose underwater? Some people work better when they know exactly what pose they are going for and have an image in their mind, while others will have an easier time relaxing and expressing if they are just playing around. Trying a combination of these methods, coupled with good communication with the photographer should give you a chance to find out what is working better for you both. Find pictures you like for inspiration before a shoot and share
My opinion is that the longer your lines, the more elegant a picture you’re going to get. Rather than bending your knees, focus on bending your back to add more curve to a photo, and keeping your tail long and straight so you don’t “give away” your human leg shape. If you have hair or necklaces to play with, go for it! If you’re doing children’s entertainment, smile or make silly faces for photos - but if you’re going for something more serious, make more subtle facial adjustments instead. If you’re shooting with a digital camera, take chances - the things that don’t work can be deleted and you’re not going to run out of film. Know where your key light is and work it, so your face doesn’t disappear. A twist at the waist such that your hips are in profile, and your shoulders & face are dead-on toward the camera is slimming, it’s a pose that works well for many body-types (especially those with long torsos). If you’re new to modeling, make sure the photographer knows you’re looking
them with your collaborators, I’m pretty sure that’s what Pintrest is for. Exhaling, rather than inhaling, before you sink under the water will make you less buoyant, and can help keep you from looking like a pufferfish. If
you’re working in a pool with your eyes open buy some over-the-counter artificial tears (ophthalmic solution) and use them before you get your head wet, this can slow down red-eye and general irritation, making things more comfortable. What do photographers looks for in a dry land model? That depends on the photographer. The only things I can imagine photographers have in common when searching for a model is someone who can take direction & feedback well, and who shares a vision with them about what they hope to create. What do photographers look for in an underwater model? If I were to guess - a calm, composed and focused model without bad habits to break, who has stamina and grace. A dance background always helps, an acting background doesn’t hurt, and a confident sense of self is a must. Long hair looks amazing under water, so, many who work in the medium are drawn to it. Being able to emote facially under water is most important. If you are shy or insecure in your body, it holds you back from creating more dynamic work, and it shows. You need to be able to use your physical form objectively and think of the image and composition, the self in context rather than the self in isolation. What advice would you give to a budding mermodel? Swim, model on land, model in water with humble and focused determination, and don’t count on “talent” getting you far. If you want to make something beautiful, engage with it and work for it. Expect challenges and take risks. If you want to collaborate with someone - ask them, and don’t be afraid if the answer is often “no”; when you don’t ask, the answer is always no. When you don’t try, you can’t do. Make a genuine effort, and you will go far. Photography credit in order of apperance: Daniel Chase, Terri Brindisi, Scott Watson Daryl Barnett, Jesse Bodas, Daryl Barnett Terri Brindisi, Olga Lacosta Leah Watanabe
Advice for Booking a Gig This article is a reworking of a post by Raina that can be found on Mernetwork. Some of you know what Dr Sketchy is, some of you dont. It’s one of the easiest mer-gigs you can book regardless of your tail type. It pays well and is something you should seriously consider while branching out as a mer!
So what is it? Dr Sketchy is a world wide art initiative that brings artists together in a non-traditional setting such as a bar, dance studio, restaurant etc. to sketch models that are anything but the norm! In traditional figure drawing glasses artists would meet in a more formal setting like a school and draw either nude or models wearing skin tight clothing for reference. But with Dr Sketchy, they can eat, drink, chat, occasionally enjoy live entertainment and music, and draw really unique models. Here is the official Dr Sketchy Website One important thing to note is that it’s generally a “of legal age” event, but not always- so it’s good to check. Where Is it? There are many individual Dr Sketchy websites for the bigger groups that meet more regularly: Vancouver ~ Philly ~ Denver Halifax ~ Toronto ~ Montreal SW Florida ~ Berlin ~ Ottawa Anaheim ~ Lethbridge London ~ Los Angeles You can see a more complete list on the official Dr. Sketchy Website branchlist, but keep in mind as many are starting up or dont maintain their websites
they may not be on that list, so searching FB as well as googling for ones near you is always a smart idea. Many have FB pages instead of a website. Or sometimes one artist will create a FB event. So What Should I know About It? • Events generally last between 2-4 hours. • You can have anywhere from a handful of people to upwards of 30-40 STARING at you. • Poses are held for seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, and in some cases 30 minutes. • You’re not expected to stay perfectly quiet and still for your entire pose, it’s okay to adjust yourself, look around, chat, or shift a bit during a pose. • It’s generally an “of age” event but there are exceptions depending on the event. • They pay you. It depends on how much they charge to get in, and how big the group, and if they are sponsored for how much. My first Dr Sketchy they only hired me, and paid me 15$ an hour so for 4 hours I ended up making 60$. The second time I did Dr Sketchy they were sponsored so they hired me, and Mimi, for 3 hours, and paid us each 70$. • Nights are themed, so don’t expect to do more than 1-2 Dr Sketchy gigs a year.
• Artists are under NO obligation to give you copies of work or even let you take photos, so if they do be extra thankful! • Artists generally do not take photos, however the organizer usually will or they’ll hire a photographer. I have always brought one with me, but I have cleared that with the organizer beforehand. • Keep poses simple, save more extravagant poses for shorter lengths as your body will start to shake and it’ll become hard to hold. Use the easier poses for longer holds. • At the end of the night you’ll be asked to choose
with Dr. Sketchy your favourite sketch and that artist will receive a prize from the organizer. • Have someone around to help you move- like an assistant. You dont want to get into your costume in front of everyone, be sure the organizer knows you need a space to get changed and you’ll have an assistant with you. They wont pay your assistant so that’ll be up to you. Or, be like me and give the boy/girlfriend big ol puppyfish eyes so he’ll haul you out on stage haha. • Dont stress out about makeup and accessories as the artists will generally improvise their own. You certainly CAN use them but if you’re a mer with less, no worries. • Fabric tails TOTALLY work for these, so dont cut yourself short. Some artists will draw every fold and wrinkle, others will improvise their own style using you as inspiration. Ok Raina, You’ve sold me, how do I book them? Find the nearest Dr Sketchy to you or one your able to travel to, send them this information • You’d like to be a Dr Sketchy model for an event, you think you have a unique look to offer- a mermaid • If you have a website or FB send them a link. 5 minute pose. Looks easy enough, but the table • Include a few images of you in your costume. they had me sitting on was so small compared to my tail I couldnt balance the tail very well. I was shaking and sweating so bad!
Once they say “yaaay a mermaid” you then ask • The length • The pay • If you are going to have an assistant, tell them • Ask about photos • Ask for a copy of the flyer they’ll create to advertise (you’ll want this for portfolio purposes) • Insist on a private area to change, and an assistant (if you don’t bring one) you’ll need someone to carry you out.
A 10 minute pose. I chose this to give them a different perspective, plus I had the glass to lean against. No matter how well your tail fits- be prepared for wrinkles. You will sweat a lot! They usually have lights on you, all the bodies make it warm, and you’re creating heat inside the costume by tensing your muscles. Also you’re trying to hold perfectly still for poses you wouldn’t normally Dr. Sketchy can be such an amazing experience, I hold. Because you’re trying to balance you’ll end up gained a lot of publicity from mine, and worked a lot with unflattering wrinkles. Just go with it- the artists on my posing. Here are some photos for inpiration. do NOT care.
If you have the chance to model with another model, be it a mermaid, a sailor, a pirate, or whatever- the artists love it when you give them interacting poses. Don’t go for anything too hard since they’ll want you to hold those poses longer considering they have to draw two of you! Using pillows and stage props to help distribute your weight is totally fine and ENCOURAGED. Remember, this is NOT a photoshoot. The artists do not care about clutter and supports around youthey will simply NOT draw it. For this pose, it was 15 minutes and there was no way my poor elbow could last on the hard floor that long, even with a pillow underneath it, it was pretty hard. If your tail is really floppy, dont worry. The artists will still adjust the way they see fit, you can use tape to stick it to a mirror or wall. Stomach rolls. They’re going to happen. It doesn’t matter how skinny you are, you can’t easily suck your tummy in for a 15 minute pose! Many of the poses you will try to do will give you unflattering folds or rolls. Just go with it. Keep your posture, but trust the artists. Sometimes you’ll find it’s adding those little details to a drawing that actually make it more believable! People are going to draw what they want. Dont feel bad or insulted if you’re drawn in a different style or if someone omits the mermaid tail totally, like this artist did.
You dont have to show all your skin. Because my old tail is still too short for Mimi she wore a skin tight orange coloured body suit. So long as the artists can see some natural curves with your costume, they’re totally cool! So if you’re feeling a little shy and dont want your belly or cleavage or pecs showing, go for a skin tight option like Mimi So what are you waiting for? GO OUT AND APPLY TO DR SKETCHY if you’re worried about other mers taking an opprotunity from you, why not team up like Mimi and I did and double model!
Rules for Dating a Mer Rules for Dating a mer started as a fun thread on Mernetwork. We’ve assembed a few of the jokes created by community membersand hop you enjoy. • Dont expect your Mer date to sing, not all of them sing, and if they do it could have some grave consequenses • Do NOT make Fish Jokes. • Dont stare at the shells and ask “are they real?” • Walking on the beach... in tail... Not happening!! • Remember your Mer date can communicate with Sea Animals, its bound to happen whether at an Aquarium, Petstore or at the lobster tank at the SeaFood resturant... • Your mer date may have some eccentric habits, try to understand, especially when they sit and stare at their reflection in a plate, while combing their hair with a fork its considered- normal for them. • Do Not Piss your Mer date off especially if your in the water or on a boat they can turn the date into your worse nightmare very quickly, especially if her friends are sharks. • Children love mermaids and will talk... deal with it. • Can’t be embarrassed of her when in public. • Must support her and her ‘strange’ hobbies • Do not assume she knows the guy on the lucky charms box or tinkerbell. • Can come up with great distractions on the spot (in case she changes into her mer form). • Making comments about “getting some tail” is the fastest way to end up with flippers to the face. • Resign yourself to the fact that she will look better in my “swimsuit” than you do in yours. • For those who do sing, they like applause... it helps drown out the sounds of the ship dashing itself on the rocks. • Don’t get too familiar with your hands unless you are give strict permission, or they’ll get fed to the sharks. • “Is that a trident in your pocket or are you just happy to see me” was old back in Atlantis. New material is appreciated. • Compliment her on her windblown look... hairstyling and water don’t always mix well. • Any jokes about how you wish she’d given up her voice to rely on body language will result in your own tongue being removed. • Take notes about dealing with the blue men of the minch: riddles are entertaining. Bad jokes entertain no one, though, and will result in sinking.
• Do not call her Ariel • Don’t give her a bowl of fish flakes for dinner. • Must be able to put up with scales and glitter everywhere. • Put up with her converting money into how much seaweed and shells she could buy. • Needs a good pair of noise cancelling headphones for when she wants to sing. • You need to be able put up with lots of mirrors. • Need to know how to care for injured sea life, cause you might get jobs at the marine hospital! • Do not introduce her to your parents as your new pet, or as a fish called Wanda.
Featured Tail Maker: This is the first of our newst addition to Tail Flip every issue the community will vote for a fatured Tail Maker. Our first Tail Maker is FoxMoon Productions which has been producing beautiful fabric tails sense 2002. Below is our interview with Angela Mullens of FoxMoon Productions:
What first sparked your interest in mermaids? When I was younger I was amazed the “Fairy Tale Theatre” version of the little mermaid. When Disney released their version, my cousin and I would put hair scrunchies around our ankles to swim like mermaids in the pool. Years later, in 1999, when a member of the cast at the Medieval Fair in Norman, OK, I auditioned for the part of the mermaid as well. I did not get it that first year, but I did the second year. Performing as a mermaid was an amazing experience for me and sparked in me a desire to do more! Why did you start making mermaid tails? After performing as a mermaid, I somehow found myself active on a lot of Mermaid and Underwater forums. I was contacted by Mustang Mermaid Productions on one of the forums seeking tails for a video they were producing. We did some custom work for them after they saw the pictures of the tail I made. Soon after, we found ourselves hosting a website on AOL Hometown promoting and actually selling the tails to real custo-mers. Since then, we have grown, developed a full website of our own and are currently the longest running cloth tail makers on the web. When we started we were unable to find anyone who offered cloth mermaid tails. When did you make your first tail? What did it look like? By the end the first year that I performed as a mermaid, I had created my own tail. The following year, in 2001, the Medieval Fair had a pair of mermaids as my first tail joined theirs. I can honestly
say it isn’t my favorite as it was too bulky for my liking, but it was a great start. I wanted something more like a second skin, so I began experimenting; trying to come up with a more functional and more realistic cloth design. By the beginning of 2002, we pitched our designs and ideas to the director and thereafter became the “Merfolk of FoxMoon Productions” at the Medieval Fair with a whole “School” or “Pod” of merfolk, if you will. That year, in addition to the typical mermaid, fair patrons saw our first Mermen and several Mer-children. How did you learn to make tails? Through many months of patterning, re-patterning and testing my own designs! Really, though, I did do a lot of research on porpoises and many forms of aquatic, fish-like anatomy to get it where I wanted it, particularly to get some of the extra fins right. We strongly feel that merfolk are mammalian by nature and so we tried to focus our basic designs around the aquatic mammals, however, our extra fins and add-ons are purely fish-like to add flash and glamor to please our custo-mer’s ideas of what a mermaid should be.
What inspires your tail designs? I will admit, I got a lot of inspiration from Barbie dolls and cheap fashion dolls I picked up from the Dollar Store. I also like to look at a lot of different
FoxMoon Productions artists’ renderings of mermaids, such as those from Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell, and even Nene Thomas and Alain Viesca (two of our local big artists that we know) to name a few, to see what others see when they think of Merfolk.
we found ourselves in the UK and did a most mermorable photoshoot with the girl and her mother who we brought a tail for as well. The whole beautifully precious experience can be found on our website in our EuroMer 2003 pages.. Just look for Mermaid Holly.
What reactions have your tails received? The VERY BEST reaction we have had that sticks out in my mind was at a photo shoot when a small child was heard squealing as they were walking through the park, pointing and shouting “See Mommy! I told you mermaids were real!” There will always be those people who cannot use their imagination and have to shatter the veil of illusion by saying, “you aren’t real” or “You don’t look realistic enough.” That is fine. We are okay with that as long as they do not try to purposely ruin it for the children. We are here to bring the fantasy of the merfolk to life for anyone willing to believe in a little magic and maybe even How would you describe your journey as a tail maker? use a little magic to turn them into one. It has been a wonderful adventure. We have grown and progressed over the years in design, but we What’s one of your favorite client stories? Can I just start by saying there are sooo many to choose to stick to our roots. We have thought choose from. There are adults and children who about doing urethane and latex tails and we have have dreamed of being mermaids their whole lives, made neoprene tails and coated the cloth tails, but who were able to make that dream come true we weren’t truly happy with the outcome. We keep through our company. We have had renowned returning to the beauty and simplicity of the cloth producer, Harold Thrasher, who worked on tail. It allows the elegance and look of a mermaid When Harry Met Sally, get tails for Nickelodeon while remaining affordable, so that everyone can Production’s 2008 movie, Roxy Hunter and the have their moment of glory, suspend reality and become a “real” mermaid. Myth of the Mermaid. It hasn’t been an easy journey and there have been tears shed, waves, bumps and snags overcome, as well as other hardships along the way, but the look on a happy face, especially that of a child, when they put on that tail and for a moment believe they are a real mermaid…priceless. There is no way to really describe the joy we feel when we help make that Mer-Dream Come True!
However, the most memorable of all our customers to us was when we were contacted by Juliana, a British New Age Music Artist, because her daughter had asked Father Christmas for a Mermaid Tail. We later got a chance to visit with them in person when
Where have your tails traveled to? I have personally worn my tail in many different states in the US, including our home state of Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Louisiana, Florida and Colorado just to name a few. I have taken my mermaid to photo shoots in Germany where I dove 15 feet for photos in what at one time was a Pickle Factory, France on the shores of Saint Malo and even parts of the UK. The shores
of Penzance were truly special to me because it is the home of some of my FAVORITE PIRATES! Our tails have not only sold throughout our home in the United States, but one of our largest shipments went to Canada for a big musical project, they have also been sent to the UK, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Australia and even South Africa.
You have performers who are available for hire? We do. We actually have had performers that have appeared at proms, parades, Grand Openings, birthday parties, art shows and specialty shows. The venues for appearances have a wide range and can seem endless. In addition, most of our performers don’t do just mermaids. FoxMoon Productions also offers other Fae creatures and known characters from many genres. Do you have plans for future projects/products? Why yes, we do, but I am not at liberty to discuss the details right now. We have some interesting projects and products in discussion and planning, but as experience has shown, it is not wise to release details before they are ready. In closing, I would like to thank Tail Flip Magazine for this wonderful opportunity to tell our story. We, at FoxMoon Productions’ MerfolkTails.com, feel this is an honor beyond belief and thank everyone who took the time to vote for us. It is nice to know that people out there still believe in us and what we do. There have been times we have thought about “throwing in the tail” so to speak, giving up and moving on, but this moment has given us hope that it is worth continuing, for all of you who still believe in a little magic. Fin-cerely, Angela “Garnette” Mullens
Mer World Online & Events Here are a few Mer links to help you navigate. www.iamamermaid.com Check out this blog by well known author Carolyn Turgeon. Not only does it feature many Mers but also includes celebrity interviews, music & literature connections, & lots of great mermaid kitsch! www.mermaidtails.net Constantly googling your way through the tail maker community? Well, google no more! Alasea the Blue Mermaid has created a handy dandy index to all the known tail makers who advertise their services online. Check it out & buy your dream tail! www.mermaidtales.net Want to hire a mermaid but who’s local? Check out Blue Mermaid’s Index of professional mermaids! If you’re a professional mermaid you can also contact her to have your name added! www.mermaidminerals.com As environmentally conscious Mers feeling pretty without harming the environment is important! Mermaid minerals is a mermaid-owned company that has created a line of beauty products & makeup that are organic, natural, & as eco-friendly as possible. Known for their frequent sales & contests for free swag, Mermaid Minerals is where the fishes head to get that extra other-worldly glow! www.seatails.org In the early days of the internet, seatails was the online last word in all things mermaid. The site has evolved through many stages to be a forum dedicated to all things mermaid & fantasy related. Some content is NSFW & intended for adults, but that’s all clearly labelled. www.deviantARTmermaids.deviantart.com The largest group on DeviantART dedicated to mermaids! Check this group out to see thousands of mermaid art pieces, costumes, photos, & lit pieces. Join & contribute your own! Excellent place to look for mermaid art prints too. Here are a few Mermaid passed blogs to pursue. themermaidstudio.com 365mermaid.tumblr.com rainastail.blogspot.ca dialmformermaid.blogspot.com cynthiamermaid.blogspot.com kittymermaid.blogspot.nl themermaidstudio.tumblr.com merbooksblog.blogspot.ca
To help you stay up todate with all the positiveity mermaids have been getting around the web we’ve colleceted and saved links for you. Charleston City Paper • Wired.com • Democrat Press • Metronews • Rouse Hill Times • CNN • Radiant Inc Magazine • Paradisiac Lifestyle • Home Town News • Sunrise show • EME 15 - “Solamente Tú” • VooDoo Creative Partners • Fish Tank Kings • Halifax News Net • Diver Wire • Buzz Feed
Manatee Interactive Dive for Mermaids Date: February 2-3, 2013 Location: Crystal River, Florida Ticket Price: $185 Register by December 10 and SAVE $20/person! Register by December 24 and SAVE $10/person! Please note: Fee does not include Meals or Lodging. We have arranged for a Discount at a Hotel one mile away from Dive Center. Location Information and Weekend Schedule will be available to all Registered Participants. Requirements: register online Payment required within 7 days of event Website: www.mermaid-retreats.com Description: TWO DAYS of Swimming and Interacting with Manatee. Dive in THREE beautiful Rivers! Beginners welcome! No experience necessary! All Participants should have basic swimming ability. Manatee Interaction is GUARANTEED!!! PADI Manatee Certification. Photos/Videos of your Underwater Adventure. Rental of Snorkel/ Fins/ Wetsuit. PLUS Underwater Portraits & Videos of YOU & MANATEE. Swimming in Mermaid Tails is optional. Beginners welcome! No experience necessary! All Participants should have basic swimming ability. Manatee Interaction is GUARANTEED!!! Photo credit: Mike Suerdieck
Mer-Care for Mer-Hair This article is a reworking of a post that can be found on Mernetwork by Little_Orca. Part of being a mermaid is having fabulous hair. However, swimming is not always kind to hair. Chlorinated pools, pollutants, and sea water can leave your hair feeling sticky, nasty, and well... very un-mermaid. Pool water especially can bleach the color from your hair, turn it green, and cause severe damage and can result in several inches having to be cut off. Is there anyway to save your hair then? Yes! Before You Swim There are several different things you can do to your hair before you go swimming that will help keep some of the chlorine or salt water from getting into your hair. This will not make your hair chlorine or salt water proof, but these few tricks are better than nothing for hair protection. Never put so much of the stuff reccomended below into your hair that you can see it. People will not want you swimming with them if there are visible globs of conditioner on your head. ~Put Oil In Your Hair I don’t mean motor oil of course! Something like coconut oil, olive oil, or whatever oil works best for your hair type. This will help repel some of the water and keep it from entering your hair. This works best when the hair is oiled then put into a braid. ~Soak Your Hair in Fresh Water First If your hair is already saturated with fresh water, there will be no room for the chlorine or salt water to get into your hair. That does not mean your hair wont be weird feeling when you are done swimming like normal and that you wont need to clean it. You will, of course, but this is another method of hair protection.
~Swimmer’s Spray Some hair companies make a spray that you can put into your hair before you go swimming to help prevent chlorine damage. While this personally has not been as effective as some of the other methods above, it is nonetheless a way to help keep your hair safe in the pool. While You Swim With the preventative measures done, you may think you are ready to jump on into the pool. You have to take more measures to make sure your hair is safe from damage while you are in the water. “But LittleOrca, that is what the stuff we just did was for, wasn’t it?” Yes of course, but in the pool you have to continue to minimize the amount of water that gets into your hair. How do you do that? I am glad you asked. ~The Swim Cap The swim cap is one of the best ways to keep the water off your hair. While this will not keep your hair dry or 100% safe from the chlorine water, it will keep the majority of it out. This also reduces drag in the water and will make you more stream lined. Most swim caps are made from silicone, but there are a few that are latex or other material. They also come in different sizes, so make sure you get the right one based on any allergies and your hair length.
~Bunned Hair Don’t like swim caps? No problem. How about a bun? If you have waterproof hair sticks (preferable small and plastic), you can put your hair in a small bun, like a nautilus bun, and slide the stick on through. This will not keep your hair as safe from the pool or ocean water as a swim cap will, but ~Conditioner Treatment with less surface area for the water to make contact Another method is to perform a conditioner only with the better off your hair will be. wash before you get into the pool. The more cones*, the better! This will coat your hair with cones and ~Braided Hair help keep the chlorine and other chemicals out... This is similar to the bunned hair method in or at least slow them down. If you do not like reducing the surface area for the water to make cones, this may not be the treatment for you or contact with your hair. This will leave more of the you can use a clarifying shampoo after you swim to hair unprotected than the bun or swim cap, but get rid of them this is better than the last option.
~Free Flowing Hair Remember when I said that you thought you were ready to just jump into the pool and I said you were wrong? Well, you can be right. I do swim with my hair free flowing in the pool or in other water, but only when I am doing videos or taking photographs of me in my tail. While I do the treatments I mentioned before this section, I will say that I have noticed my hair feels worse and takes longer to clean when it is free flowing versus even just a braid. After You Swim Once you are out of the pool or ocean, you need to clean your hair as soon as possible. Depending on how you protected your hair, your hair type, your length, and where you were swimming will depend on how long it takes to clean. The following are some ways to clean out your hair. ~Special Shampoos and Conditioners There are some companies that make swim products that will remove the chlorine from your hair. As I have discovered, not all products are created equal and some products will require more of it to clean your hair than others. If you have a product that works for you, stick with it. There is no need to shop around for a new item, unless it is not cleaning your hair effectively or you are using a whole bottle each time you swim. ~ACV Rinses Using an ACV (apple cider vinegar) rinse after you swim can help to further clean out any chemicals and help to stop any damages. This, from my experience, should be used with a Swimmer’s Shampoo and Conditioner not instead of it. The ACV should be diluted with water so that it helps your hair instead of harms it. [ACV should be diluted to about 1-2 tablespoons per cup of water.)
LittleOrca’s Method This is the method by which I take care of my hair for swimming. For the sake of simplicity, assume that this is a time when I am swimming with my hair free flowing for a video shoot. • Pre-treat my hair with a combination of oil and some swimmer’s spray. • Swim. (Duh. ) • Rinse hair after swimming with water at the pool (if available, but I wash at home generally because my water is better quality). • Wash hair with Ion Swimmer’s Shampoo and Conditioner. • Wash hair with Garnier Shampoo and Conditioner (or sometimes Aussie). • Rinse hair with diluted ACV. • Rinse hair with water to get rid of ACV smell. • Allow hair to air dry. This method works well for me, someone with two-toned hair (part natural, part dyed). This may not work well for everyone and you may even need to wash more than once with the swimmer’s shampoo and conditioner depending on your hair. I hope this helps all the swimmers out there protect their hair. I know that not everything works for everyone, but these are some great places to start to keep your hair safe as you enjoy your time in the water.
When I mention “cones” I am not speaking about ice cream cones or what-have-you, I am speaking about the chemicals found in some conditioners that end in -cone, the big one being dimethelcone. These are the chemicals that “repair split ends” (well, all they do is put a chemical coating over your hair [think Teflon] and give your hair the appearance of repaired ends; the only way to repair a split end is to cut of off) and repeated use of them can cause ~Club Soda For some swimmers, the use of club soda or other build-up in your hair, which is why they make carbonated waters is what they prefer to an ACV clarifying shampoos. rinse. It is roughly the same thing, though you do not have to dilute the club soda and it will not leave your hair with a vinegar smell (though you should rinse your hair with water after the ACV so that there is little to no smell anyways.) Be sure to get unflavored and unsweetened club soda. The last thing you need is ants in your hair.
About Tail Flip Hello everyone! After months of waiting Sirena & I are happy to publish the fourth issue of Tail Flip! The first two issues got a lot of positive response & I’m so happy to see many community members stepping up to contribute. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to all & please don’t hesitate to contact us with submissions for the next one! This magazine is intended to be a resource for you, an extension of our community, & a product of our community. The majority of the articles are written or contributed by community members, & the few that aren’t were requested. Sirena & I founded this idea out of a common want for a magazine centered completely around the mer community. We have so many interesting people in our world both Mer & non-mer alike. With so many concerned with the environment an e-magazine was a unanimous choice, plus the magazine is completely free! This would not be possible without the volunteering of many members. Want to get involved? Keep an eye on Tail Flip’s Mernetwork thread or swim over to the Facebook Page. You can also contact Sirena & I directly with article ideas, adds, events, & suggestions! Finally, I’d like to say a thank you to Sirena & everyone who contributed. This is what community is all about!