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Tail Flip

The Seven Seas Legend of the Kraken Buoyancy and Sinking Tips 1

ISSUE 5 April 2013


ISSUE 5 (April 2013) 4 6 10 12 14 16 18 23 24 28 30 32 36 40 42 44 46 48

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Mernetwork Server Issues - the good & the bad Mer Book Review: Fins Series by Tera Lynn Childs Meet the Cover Model: Mermaid Atlantis Buoyancy and Sinking Tips Mer of the Issue: Mermaid Caroline Mer Model: Eric The Mertailor How to Deal with Chlorine Negative Effects Mer World Online & Events Interview: David of Clay Mermaids The Legend of the Kraken: Myth Turned Reality Poem: The Seven Seas Mer Model: Ashley Nadine Featured Tail Maker: FinFolk Production The Road Home DevianArt Feature Mermaid Jokes to Tickle Your Funny Bone! Community Photo Spread Dear Tail Flip Readers


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 tail makers for making & buying tails respectively, as well as an FAQ.”

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Mernetwork Server Issues News The Tail Flip community came together through the mermaid forum Mernetwork. Mernetwork has been around in one form and name or another for several years, bringing mermaids together from all over the world. It’s a priceless tool to the community, had blossomed lasting friendships, launched many careers, and helped mers feel less alone. This article has been compiled from a thread started by one of the Mernetwork Admins, Iona, to give us an idea how extra funding can help change the site. Read the article, check out the thread, and click the PayPal link at the bottom of the main page to donate a few bucks to a great site!

and thus keep them from crashing and having down time, is not available to the “personal class” hosting. So basically we have too many users and traffic for our server to handle, so it just crashes. Malinghi and I know little to nothing about web development, but from what we can tell, taking action to minimize the load only puts off these issues. As we grow in size, we have more and more crashes and doing small things to minimize server load hardly does any good for it. It could be when we get grow more that it will do nothing to help.

The GOOD news is that apparently it can be fixed by upgrading our hosting to “Business Class”. The BAD As many of you noticed, we have news is that it would be $285 PER been having a lot of server issues YEAR for said hosting. again lately. Last time, through a lot of Right now the Admins eat the expenses digging and research, we were able to and pay for it out of our own pockets. do a few things to help the server in Malinghi was extremely generous in terms of its load. The errors came and paying over $300 for the vBulletin went until recently when they’ve been software, and we’ve payed for the $80 much more prevalent. hosting every year. We’ve had some We’ve had a lot of back and forth donations which we are extremely with our very unhelpful server host. grateful for (again, THANK YOU We think we now know the cause of THANK YOU THANK YOU!!), and our server issues. Our account with helps take that money load off of us. the host is a “personal class” website However, we can’t afford to pay that hosting. We thought that would be much out of pocket every year for acceptable because we are supposed business class hosting. We are looking to have unlimited, well, pretty much into alternative hosting companies, everything. However, apparently the hoping that perhaps if we migrate to capability of our host to spread users a better host and another server that out to minimize the load on servers, 4

it may help our issues. However there is absolutely no guarantee that this would help anything at all, and server migrations can be rough. So basically: At this point it looks like we raise enough money to cover the higher class hosting, or we just deal with the constant server issues. It’s possible as we get more traffic and users these will become more frequent and longer in duration. It sucks, but those are pretty much our options for now. We have 238 active users right now. If every active user donated $2.50 we would be set for two years. However I’m not very hopeful on this, as attempts to raise money before were not very successful. But it IS an option if everyone agrees to help. We’re always open to help from our users and fellow community members! If anyone knows anything about web development, please e-mail Malinghi at malinghi@gmail.com. I would love to hear feedback and any ideas from you guys.


Review Fins by Tera Lynn Childs Review by Sirenita The Selkie for more Mer book reviews check out her blog. Book Type: Novels, Series Summary of first book: Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid, like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush. Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid—she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview High School ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems—like her obnoxious biker-boy neighbor, Quince Fletcher—but it has that one major perk: Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type— the instant they “bond,” it’s for life. When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily ever after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned. 5

My Review: Readers! I cannot stress how brilliant this series is! Personally I do not prefer to read series, but I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next book after I finished the first. Tera Lynn Child’s really mastered the difficult art of writing, especially about mermaids in this three part series. It was beautifully written with descriptions that you could really dive into and live in. Also, it was very quirky and funny as well! In some way, I could relate to Lily, who has to learn to juggle the many various aspects of life that continue to build as we get older, which includes how to juggle family time, boyfriend time and work time (in Lily’s case, Princess time). I must also mention that this series has taken off at a phenomenal rate. People are making collages and descriptions of what Lily and Quince look like, and I really hope this could be an awesome movie some day. I also found a very cute trailer that someone made as well: *CONTAINS SLIGHT SPOILERS* I cant really discuss the series in depth because I don’t want to ruin anything! However, I really recommend this series, readers. It is a very modern and fresh series that has taken off and is becoming wildly popular. I cant wait to buy the whole series to add it to my collection :) I give this series 5 stars.


Cover Model: Mermaid Atlantis

Our stunning mermaid cover model, The Mermaid Atlantis, shines and shimmers whether she’s in one of her hand made tails or stunning fashion creations. With a flare for design, and an eye for the ethereal, Atlantis quickly caught our eye as cover model. As if that wasn’t super-mermaid enough, Atlantis is a free diver, takes time for charities, and even does tarot readings.

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What first drew you to mermaids?

Tell us about your tails.

I loathe standard reality. The mundane world has always felt so bland, so false. When I read stories, or watched films about mermaids and other magical beings I just felt at home.

I first wanted to build a swimmable mermaid tail in 1999, but I did not yet have the skills to do so. I dreamed and designed, and finally went to the Fashion Institute in San Francisco where I graduated with a degree in fashion design. I went on to work in fine tailoring, safety gear, and of course costume design! I was finally able to build my first truly functional tail in 2010.

Like most children, I put myself in the characters place. Escaping to any number of Neverlands was my favorite thing to do as a child. In fact, I spent so much time in my fantasy world, I was nearly held back in 2nd grade for ‘day dreaming too much’! I just felt soothed and comforted by the fact that there are other options in life, that you can embody a myth. I feel most honest about myself when I soar through the water as a mermaid, or when I have wings and entertain children as a faerie. The fanatical is where I call home. Bringing ‘impossible’ things from our collective imagination to this realm is my favorite kind of magic. It is the best type of alchemy, because you then get to speak to the wide-eyed child that lives in every human being, right at their core. Transforming into an archetype is a very powerful thing, and I highly suggest everyone try it out, at least once.

I build my functional tails out of neoprene, monofins, and mixed media. I decorate them with sequins, fabric overlay, fabric paint, and silicone sea creatures which I mold and cast myself. The silicone shells I make helped me


to achieve that ‘natural’ mermaid look I loved as a child. I can now have sea shells attached directly to the skin, instead of mounted to a bra.

not know of anyone else who did that, other than Hannah Frasier. What if it didn’t work? I could see the headlines in my mind: “Girl drowns in local pool dressed as a mermaid, everyone points When I am designing my tails, I go and laughs”. Needless to say I was a bit back to the little girl I was at 5 years insecure that first time. old. I try my best to honor her by building what she thought mermaids would look like. That is where I came up with the very large scale design for my ‘goldfish’ tail (which I am currently re-building for my fashion show). I am often told that my tails are very unique; I give my 5 year old self credit for that. I just want to be my own version of this beautiful myth, and I highly encourage others to do the same. I got there during the senior aquaaerobics, I figured they would not be interested in what I was doing. I was wrong. As I was leaving the changing room with my tail over my shoulder, and kind woman around 70 years old followed me. Wide-eyed she asked What was swimming in a tail the first time like for you?

“Are you going to be a mermaid? In the water?” I said “Yes, I hope so!”

Her eye filled with tears of joy and she said “Oh thank you, Thank you! I have The first tail I ever built was my goldfish wanted to see a mermaid my whole life!” tail. I went to the local pool and timed it so that there would be the fewest I took my first lap as a mermaid, when number of children, just in case it I came up for breath the whole class didn’t work! I was slightly embarrassed cheered and clapped for me! People to be seen as a mermaid in a pool; I outside of the pool paid the entrance had always been made fun of for fee just to watch me swim! That dressing differently growing up. I did kind woman watched me with tears 7

streaming down her face and told me her mermaid story: “When I was a little girl, I lived by a lake. I knew, I mean I just *knew* if I wished it hard enough I would grow fins and live as a mermaid forever. Every Summer I would dive as deep as I could and hold my breath until I felt I would burst! I just could not wait to transform into who I really was: a beautiful mermaid. It never happened in life, but every night it happened in my dreams. Now, here I am, and here you are. You are the mermaid of my childhood. It was worth the wait to meet you. Thank you so much for doing this, you don’t know how important it is. Thank you.”


By the end of her story I was sobbing. She was so kind and I just knew I had to try my best to reach others who needed to meet their mermaid self through my performance art. I have since made sure to volunteer performance as much as I can. My favorite thing is to get wheeled around the Children’s Hospital and read stories to ill kids.

summer. I may also be performing as a swimming mermaid for one of them! Please check my Facebook page for details as they happen. Do you sell your tails? I do not sell my neoprene tails as they are so difficult to fit and very time consuming. I do, however, sell basic swimmable fabric tails on my Etsy store. I also sell my silicone sea creatures on Etsy. My silicone creatures are mostly different size shells and sea stars that are light, flexible, and can glued direction to your skin, or sewn onto a costume.

I would love to get into silicone tails! I am currently in talks with Bronze Armory Studios to help design a few silicone tails for them. I am very excited at the chance, although nothing is official yet. I have a lot of big ideas that I have not seen done yet, I hope I get the chance to work with a company like them to bring my new creatures to life.

Other than that, I would love to continue and expand on what I am doing now: aquatic performance, free diving in tropical oceans, designing and selling costumes and clothing, underwater modeling, and getting children and After my fashion show at the end of the adults to believe in their own magic. month, I will be unveiling my Sea Punk Photos by: Daniel Chase Photography, Do you have any public fashion line for land based mermaids Kurt Chambers, Brandon Caffey, performances coming up? I am very excited about it, and I Christine Holding, Studio Z, hope the Mer community enjoys it! Subversive Photography I have a big Mermaid Fashion Show coming up at the end of the month! What else would you like to do with I have been honored by RAW to be your mermaid art? selected as their featured designer. I will be show casing my work in mermaid tails and my new Sea Punk fashion line (for the land based siren). Raw is a month art event in many major cities across the US. I will be featured at the San Francisco event on Wednesday February 27th. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have been chosen among 400 submissions! I have also been contacted to show my work in other fashion shows for Cosplay and comic conventions in the 8


Buoyancy and Sinking Tips Based on a thread started by Winged Mermaid Sinking and floating can be a pain in the fin depending on what you’re trying to do, so let’s share some tips! Buoyancy can depend on several factors. One is body type- someone who has less fat and/or more bulk muscle may sink easier, while those with more fatty tissue or possibly just leaner muscle may float. Some people are just natural sinkers or natural floaters! Another thing you can do is use air. Exhale all of your air to sink farther, and keep more of your air in to float. Last thing I know of for sinking is weights. This comes into play if you are a floater or have a buoyant tail (neoprene, latex and neoprene, ect). You can buy a weight belt from a dive shop and decorate it, or buy a pre decorated belt (Nerine makes some very lovely ones custom, Raina loves hers) or make your own. Small weights or lead shot are good options for buying or making. Always be careful when using weights. Either make it so you can ditch the weight at any time, or don’t go in water that you can’t stand up in if you have trouble. My tip is something I discovered in a pinch, that’s a bit unconventional. 9

I noticed that 5lb weight helped equal out my buoyancy a lot, especially when I have on my very buoyant neoprene and latex tail. Recently I wanted to do some filming in tail, so I took my 5lb coated dumbbell and put it in between my thighs. May I say I was SO glad no one else was in the pool room, because it took me 2 minutes to shove that thing between down in my tight tail and get it situated. hahahaha I’m thick enough that I didn’t have an odd lump. That would have been awkward bahaha. It worked well for the pinch I was in needing it. The whole pool was shallow enough I could stand up at any time if I had trouble, and I went on the safe side and didn’t hold my breath for very long to give myself plenty of time to surface safely. Share the love! Give up your tips


Jazz the Mermaid Jazz isn’t your typical young girl, because from a young age, very young, she identified as female though being born male. Her parents made the difficult decision to raise their son as a daughter, and Jazz has been on a one woman mission to speak out for other trans-kids, to inspire and support them, along with their parents. Jazz is also... A mermaid! From a young age Jazz also identified with mermaids, and has made mermaid tails and swam in mermaid fins too!

Jazz has been featured in many interviews with Barbara Walters and other notable hosts. She’s got a series of YouTube videos documenting her journey, been to many events to speak out, and allowed the public to watch her unique life unfold.

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Jazz and her family established the Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation As quoted from their website “TKPR is committed to the premise that Gender Identity Disorder is something a child can’t control and it is society that needs to change, not them. Families need to support their children and be encouraged to allow them to grow-up free of gender roles. TKPR continually uses media outlets to educate and enlighten society, and to challenge injustices due to discrimination. TKPR reaches out to the homeless youth and those that have no where else to turn. Funds for health care, and scholarships can be made available to TKPR is committed to enhancing the transyouth in need. future lives of TransKids by educating schools, peers, places of worship, the TKPR is aware that sex and gender are medical community, government seen and used interchangeable in legal bodies, and society in general, in an arenas. These two entities are very effort to seek fair and equal treatment separate and need to be divided. It is time for the politicians to listen and and of all transyouth. for the medical professionals to speak TKPR is committed to funding up. It is time for the young voices of research to study the current plight and TransKids to be heard. challenges of the transchild. There is an urgent need for curriculum changes With your donations TKPRF has in universities and medical school accomplished some of the following: to meet the needs of all transgender • Sponsored Transkids gatherings and speciality programs individuals. TKPR is committed to supporting • Provided Scholarships to Transfriendly camps TransKids in their school systems so they may receive equal rights in • Donated funds for research order to ensure a safe and bully free • Provided financial assistance to education. other Transyouth Organizations


• Provided financial support to homeless transgender youth and individual families in need of assistance. Jazz is really making waves in the trans-community and inspiring people young and old. When she’s not advocating for others, 12 year old Jazz likes slipping below the waves to be a mermaid. We here at Tail Flip think Jazz is awesome, we hope you’ll watch her interviews on the TKPR website and follow her journey. Please consider donating to the foundation to help support this awesome mermaid in her mission!

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Save The Humans: Join the Revolution

This past winter I got the awesome opportunity to pre-screen a new documentary. The documentary was filmed and produced by Canadian film maker, Rob Stewart. Rob is wildly known for his documentary SharkWater which was a revolutionary underwater HD documentary on the topic of shark finning. Sharkwater won many awards and is one of the best received documentaries in North America, second only to Supersize Me. The documentary rocked the world, and prompted huge legislation change against shark finning all over. Sharkwater brought to light an issue many people didn’t know existed. 12

His latest film -set to be released in Canada in the spring and the USA shortly after, picks up where Sharkwater leaves off. It’s called: Revolution. Viewers will see Rob standing in front of an audience who have just watched the documentary, and he is answering their questions. A young woman asks him what the point of stopping shark finning is if fish stocks are expected to be totally depleted in the upcoming years. Rob is stunned by the question and doesn’t have an answer. The whole film Revolution, is the answer. We follow Rob on his quest to answer that question, while he heads to protests in Washington and a climate conference in Ottawa, while he learns more about ocean acidification and travels the planet to really learn the impact his previous film has had.

I was floored by some of the information I learned watching Revolution, and I was moved to tears in several scenes watching how hard people were trying for change. The

youth spotlighted in the movie will get you up, and will inspire the young people around you. I really encourage you to see the movie and learn more about saving the ocean as a whole. You’ll learn about the tar-sands of Canada, something you should know about even if you aren’t Canadian. You’ll learn how the forests, the jungle, and the ocean are all interconnected. You’ll be sad by many of the things you’ll see, but you’ll also be filled with hope. If you’re like me, you’ll walk out of the theatre feeling empowered. Yearning to make a change!

After the movie I picked up Rob’s autobiography: Save the Humans. This book is a must read. It chronicles his time filming Sharkwater and how he evolved from a photographer into a fully fledged activist. The book follows his time with Sea Shepherd, landing in the hospital with flesh eating disease, working in Africa, and the hardships of trying to get a documentary off the ground. You’ll read about the real life dangers and risks he’s taken with Sharkwater, and how everything


By Raina Mermaid evolved into Revolution. Follow Rob on his journey to the Galapagos and the waters around it. In the end you’ll walk away knowing that if we want to save the humans, it starts with saving our environment and protecting biodiversity. Rob provides a great narrative that is often very funny leaving you yelling “ahh be careful!” At some of his antics. This is a book and a movie that should be on your “must read” and “must see” list for 2013! This mermaid supports Rob, and I hope you will do. Follow him on FB for updates on the film.

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Mer of the Issue: Caroline Mermaid Caroline is 19 years old, from Chapin and inspiration. Today they’re still a SC, and is a full-time student at the huge influence in my artwork. College of Charleston working towards What was it like to discover a BA in Studio Art. She’s also currently performing mermaids and know in the process of getting a internship that you could swim in a tail too? at Walt Disney World as a character performer. It was probably one of the most exciting moment of my life. When I found out that I could make my own functioning mermaid tail, I about had a cow. I started saving all my babysitting, Christmas, and birthday money (I was only 15) to buy a Monofin and a few yards of fabric. When that day finally came, and I had all the materials I needed to create my first tail, I spent When did you first discover your the following two days glued to my love for mermaids & what was it like? sewing machine until I was done. I first discovered my love of mermaids At first, I made my tail just for me, to when I was very little because I can’t fulfill a childhood dream. But after remember a specific moment that I talking with my mother, I realized feel in love with them, I just know I’ve I could do so much more with this. been fascinated with them my entire That summer I started performing at life. I feel very confident in saying birthday parties as The Little Mermaid that Disney’s The Little Mermaid had and everything just grew from there. a huge part to play in my mermaid I went on to create better tails, more obsession. When I was little, I used to character costumes (like Tinkerbell wrap my legs up in a big green blanket and Cinderella), getting bigger gigs, and crawl around on the floor all day, and working with big businesses and pretending I was a mermaid. And of other performance groups. I never course, I refused to swim like a normal dreamed back in 2009 that from that girl when I went to the pool. I had to first little tail, I would grow a business, swim with my legs together. Characters By Caroline, and live an All my life I’ve doodled mermaids, incredible dream. read about mermaids and collected Tell us about your tails. mermaid trinkets. They’ve always brought me a great deal of happiness As of right now, I own 3 different tails, 14

all of which I made. I still own the first tail I ever made which is 4 years old now. It’s simply made of a teal nylon spandex. The second tail I own was designed to look like Ariel’s. It’s made of a dark green nylon spandex that was spray painted with a pale green on the fluke and around the waist to give it that Little Mermaid vibe. My final tail is the most complex and has certainly taken the heaviest beating. It is the tail I currently perform in, but may soon be retiring. I made it 2 years ago just before the summer of 2011. It’s made of a thick fabric called neoprin with a layer of ALEX Plus to create the 3D scales and fluke texture. I has been repainted 3 times, from multi-color to white to pink and gold. I’ve even changed up the fluke shape over time. Do you have any favorite memories of being a mermaid? Easily my favorite mermaid memory was the summer I worked at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach back in 2011. I had the pleasure of swimming with over 100 stingrays, lots of sharks and even an endangered bowmouth guitar fish four times a day, all week long. I was so lucky to get to work with 2 other very inspirational mermaids, Melissa and Shannon while I was there. I learned so much about being a professional mermaid, like new underwater tricks, and I had plenty of experiences that I will never forget.


Photos by: Kim Gissendanner, Leslie McKellar, and other friends and family

One of the best parts of that job was having to get SCUBA certified beforehand. I went through a rapid certification course and was PADI Open Water diver in a week! My favorite moment from that was when we encountered a sea turtle rested in the broken nose of a sunken plane. It let us pet it and even swam around with us for a bit. It was simply magical. Do you face any challenges? The biggest issue I face as a performing mermaid is my eyes. I wear contacts on a day to day basis, but I obviously can’t swim in those so whenever I perform, I’m performing blind. If it’s not less then a foot away from me, it’s blurry. I’ve also suffered from chronic dry eye for about 4 years now. This makes swimming in salt and chlorinated water for lengthy periods of time a bit difficult for me. I have to keep eye drops on me at all swimming events unless I want my eyes to be completely red.

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Mer Model: Eric the Mertailor When did you realize this was something you wanted to make a living from, what was that early experience like? Growing up, I was a frequent visitor at Weeki Wachee Springs, the Mermaid Attraction in Hernando County Florida, that started the Mermaid World that we know Today. At a very young age, after watching a mermaid show, I realized that I was meant to do something like what I had seen through the glass in the underwater theater. I did everything you could imagine, I made my own tails from garbage bags and random fabric findings. The Mertailor is a name known to the community for almost a decade as the man behind so many tails. But how well do people really know the man when he gets in the tail? Tail Flip sits down with Eric, the Mertailor, to talk about his experiences as a merman and underwater model for our latest series of model interviews! What was your first experience like swimming in a merman tail? Oh my goodness, my first experience in a “tail”, how in the world can I remember that! That was so long ago! But, you would think I would remember that. In all honesty, when I put on a tail, period, it is a transformation. It is not as a physical transformation as it is a spiritual transformation. Swimming underwater with or without a tail, I 16

feel completed. Being underwater, swimming, is complete tranquility for me. When I am swimming, nothing else matters accept for that moment. It is like a whole body cleanse for me. It’s kind of like getting a relaxation massage, instead you’re wet, swimming underwater, holding your breath, and one with peace. As I got older, I realized how passionate Being a performer, it is much more I was towards the water, that I became than having an audience watch my a very strong swimmer. I later got performance through a glass window. deeper into the world of Weeki I feel most what is behind the glass, Wachee Springs and started training the water and my surroundings. When to be one of their performers at age I am underwater I am weightless and 16. I started learning the ropes when the possibilities of my movement I was just 13. From the hose breathing entirely endless. I find when I have a to the underwater ballet choreography, rough day in the “office”, I will head to I learned it all. It was so different. I am the springs and jump in, leaving all the a unique person so I wanted to do stress behind, having a sense of relief. something different than your typical 9-5 desk job.


come to find out that not too many venues were interested in hiring a “traveling underwater performance”, even at a reasonable price. I sat on this idea of a few years and invested a lot of money trying to make it work but I lost interest and I ended up selling the tank to one of my mermaid friends for their enjoyment. I worked at Weeki Wachee Springs, on the books, for a short period of time, then decided to leave my position with the attraction and expand my horizons. I started filming my own underwater videos at various fresh water springs around Florida, such as Rainbow Springs and Three Sisters Springs. When I was 18, I applied for a job at Sea World as a Pearl Diver and got the job. I was at Sea World for one year, then decided to resign. I was extremely bored with the position. I was not able to be myself underwater, I was told how to look, how to act, and how to pose. I felt that my talent was being held back and I did not like that. Not to mention the amount of Chlorine Chemicals that was kept in the tank to keep it clean. I hated leaving work every day with my eyes blood shot and my skin smelling of pool chemicals. Shortly after, I had purchased my own traveling acrylic aquarium. This aquarium held 1000 gallons of water. It was an ok size, but nothing spectacular. I thought it was the most amazing thing. However, 17

To this day a traveling underwater show is not very successful. I have seen many individuals try the idea, but in the end, they are spending masses amounts of money for their own personal enjoyment. When you add water to anything, it becomes 3 times as difficult and expensive. No one wants to pay the price. Most companies sell themselves short, just to get exposure and jobs, loosing money in the end.

I was contacted by several aquariums around the world, such as the Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach. I trained a group of young women at a training facility it St. Petersburg Florida. I was working closely with a dive shop who had lent me the use of their Scuba Diving Pool. It was very deep and extremely large. It was perfect for choreographing and training my performers. I had underwater speakers and lights installed for training purposes. I think in the end I went for 9 performer trainees to 4 solid performers. I was contacted by the Ripley’s Aquarium, who wanted my group of mermaids and underwater performers to travel up for a full summer contract a few years back. We trained hard, 2 to 3 times a week to be exact, in cold water in the evening


time. We traveling up to Ripley’s Aquarium towards the end of winter to audition for the “big executives” of the attraction. Thankfully the attraction loved my performers and had me sign contracts right away. After signing the contract, I started looking into numbers deeper and realized that I would be putting more money into the project and decided I needed to turn it down. They were extremely disappointed. I gave attraction the name of another mermaid performer, who I have done work with in the past and she ended up taking over the contract. Not only did she take over the contract, but my performers ended up going back to Ripley’s, begging for the opportunity. Luckily for them, they were able to get the contract.

When it comes down to it, I love performing underwater, I truly do. However, what I love the most is being underwater in a whole different world while being free and not being told what to do or where to be. So in the long run I would rather enjoy what I love, instead of performing, treating it as a job. I think this is why I have turned so many contracts down, such as Ripley’s and the sale of my Aquarium. Now, if the right opportunity came my way and I felt comfortable with it, I would definitely jump on the experience without taking a second look! How do you feel the community responds to mermen? Have you faced any gender related challenges?

I always say “How can you get a mermaid without a merman?” Think about it! Of course, men in tails tend to be judged a whole lot more than a women wearing a tail. It is because it is not something you see everyday. Well, seeing a mermaid every day in not really “normal”, but you do not think of men in a tail when someone brings up the term, mermaid. I have been made fun of my entire life for wearing a tail, but that has not stopped me from doing what I love. I believe people who judge and make fun of people are insecure with themselves and have nothing better to do with their lives. If you had advice for the mermen out there, what would it be? My advice to anyone who considers themselves as a merman or who wants to be one, is to be one. Be yourself and do what you love to do and not to let anyone tell you differently. Be strong and hold your head up high. Do you have a memorable photo shoot story of yourself modeling that you could share with us? My most memorable photo shoot, modeling underwater, would have to be when I visited the Florida Aquarium. Unfortunately I am not able to go into details about why I was at the Florida Aquarium, but it was an amazing experience. Being in the same environment as sharks, sea turtles, tons of fish, and rays was truly an amazing

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experience for me. It’s always very special when I am able to swim with marine animals in their environments.

you personally had modelling or performing in your own tails?

I have had many amazing opportunities What is it like modeling underwater modeling and performing in my own tails. I have gotten to travel to in a tail? What are the fun parts? many wonderful places around the What are the tricky parts? world and take awesome photos with Like I say when you add water to amazing photographers. anything, it gets extremely difficult. The hardest part of modeling Honestly, when it comes down to it, I underwater is when you are working love the water and would rather enjoy with inexperienced people, such as a it, while having a good time with it, photographer who thinks they have instead of treating it as a full time career. what it takes to take an underwater photograph, but do not. You can be in the water for hours, freezing your butt off and there is not a single photo that can be salvaged. You never know what types of issues you may face when modeling underwater. There is always the possibility of getting too cold, too quick, running out of breath from constant breath holding, getting water up your nose from doing flips and forgetting to exhale, getting constant ear and sinus infections from water not draining correctly from those places in the body, running into underwater animals that you might need to quickly get away from, or getting caught by a strong current that takes you way down river after an entire day of shooting. You can be in the best shape of your life and modeling underwater will still kill your body! What sort of opportunities have 19


How to Deal with Chlorine’s have recommended the use of eye lubrication products as a preventative before going in the water. Not only to lessen the sting by creating a protective barrier, but to also help prevent the reddening of eyes by constricting the blood vessels. We’re not talking any mere eye drops here! One of the brands recommended is “GenTeal Lubricant Eye Gel”. It’s a gel, not a drop, which is probably why it works better that protecting the eyes. There are other brands and types of eye lubricant gels and ointments that you can look for as well. I’ve also heard from a swim team member that a drop or two of cod liver oil in each eye helps with both, but I have yet to find any sources that verify this. It has also been said that drops of milk in the eyes help as well, although mostly for salt water. Use either at your own risk. Although we’d prefer saltwater or other non-chlorine pools, chlorinated pools let us swim when weather or location prevents us from swimming in natural bodies of water. Yet there are SO many reasons to hate the stuff. It hurts the eyes, wreaks havoc with our hair, irritates our skin, even damages our tails and accessories. So what’s a mer to do? This article is based on the thread by Winged Mermaid discussing how to fight the bad effects of chlorine. 20

The other thing you can do is to rinse your eyes out immediately afterwards. Eyes Fresh water will work, but you can use The effect to the eyes is the most eye rinsing products as well. prominent and most annoying. Swimming with a mask or goggles I picked up Bausch & Lomb Eye Wash is good prevention, but it’s not very at my local grocery store. It notes that pretty and doesn’t do well for photo it removes chlorinated water, and it shoots, or look professional for those comes with a sterile eye washing cup who are pro. Besides goggles and not as well. I’ve also heard good things opening your eyes until you need to, about Swift Eye Rinse which is sold as an emergency and safety eye wash. Eye there are a few things you can do. wash cups can be bought separately in Models that do underwater work reusable and disposable forms.


Negative Effects Hair

water as much as you can. Frequent swimmers recommend even pre treating hair with oil/conditioner/ spray, putting up in a bun, putting a fabric cap then a silicone cap over that for the best coverage.

to be the most popular and well rated.

Chlorine wreaks havoc on hair. Fact Lastly, use a deep conditioner to repair is, you can wash your hair multiple hair and restore moisture. I like to use times and the chlorine can STILL stay a deep conditioner or hair mask every in there and continue to damage your now and then, or once a week in the hair. Sometimes you can even still summer when I’m in the pool often. • After you’re done swimming, wash smell it after 8 washes. I speak from I leave these in for at least 30 minutes your hair. DON’T WAIT until the before rinsing out. There are many many experience! Truth is, you need special next day! The longer it’s in your hair, brands for these--do your research and products or treatment to get it out of the more damage it does. your hair. People have thought that try a few to find what you like best! regular shampoo did the trick only to • Use specialty sprays, shampoos, Skin conditioners, and/or rinses to strip have their hair turn stiff and crunchy, the chlorine from your hair. Diluted Another good reason to shower off then start melting off. Some swear that apple cider vinegar and unflavored after you’ve had a dip; chlorine likes to a simple clarifying shampoo can get it unsweetened club soda are popular dry out and irritate skin. Washing with out no problem, but I like to not leave DIY made rinses. Here is a list of regular soap/body wash does well for anything to chance. other products: most. However for those with sensitive Little Orca, or Merlissa, made an skin, or for those who swim frequently, • Ion swimmer’s shampoo excellent comprehensive thread on you may want some specialty products • Ion swimmer’s conditioner care for Mer hair. I highly recommend to help your skin out. There are several you read it. Here are some key points: • Ion swimmer’s leave in conditioner brands that make swimmer’s body • Pretreat your hair with conditioner, • Ion swimmer’s clarifying treatment wash and lotion to keep your skin oil, or specialty sprays before • Ultra Swim shampoo & conditioner from getting irritated. Here are a few: swimming. • Triswim body wash • Triswim Shampoo • Wet your hair with fresh water • Triswim lotion • Triswim Conditioner FIRST before swimming. If you hair • Ultraswim moisturizer soaks up the fresh water there is less • Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three, room for the chlorinated water to Removes Chlorine and Impurities • Swimmer’s Own Body Gel get in. (Note: Every day swimmers say • Derma Swim Pro this works extremely well, but • Reduce the surface area of your maybe a bit too well, and it’s best to Suits and Tails hair by putting it in a braid or bun. use this once a week, not daily, and Bathing suits and tails both can This allows less contact with the to use something like Ultraswim degrade with exposure to chlorine chlorinated water. daily instead). water. The fabric looses elasticity, fades, • Use a swim cap when you can. No, puckers, sags. I’ve learned rinsing with it’s not very pretty, but if you’re just For hair, skin, suits, ect: Swim Spray fresh water is better than nothing, but practicing/training then it can do There are other brands, but these appear it does far from stopping the effects. your hair a lot of good to avoid the 21


Some vouch that a diluted vinegar and washes on the straps if at all possible. water solution can help if you want to After that greenery tends to fade and try an at home DIY solution. break down next. Stay away from hot tubs with the greenery if you don’t To take care of your tail, be sure to already, as it can fade or even strip the read the Tail Care and Maintenance color from faux greenery. thread. The main point to take away is to ALWAYS rinse your tail, no If you have any more tips feel free to matter the material, with fresh water share them! immediately. Using a soft sponge to wipe the surface of latex, silicone, or partial latex/silicone tails can be helpful to make sure to get it all off. For fabric and perhaps even neoprene based tails, here are specialty washes to get the chlorine out. Remember to hand wash, not machine wash. • Solmar Corp Suit Saver • Speedo Swimsuit Cleaner • Summer Solutions Suit Solutions • Swim Spray Chlorine Remover Accessories Chlorine eats and fades, and accessories are no exemption. Good rule of thumb- if it was in the water, rinse it with fresh water, pat it dry, and let it air dry the rest of the way before storing it. This goes for fashion accessories as well as any other accessories, including goggles, nose clips, neoprene socks, even cameras. When it comes to tops, bra based ones with straps will lose elasticity really fast if you don’t take good care of it. I recommended using the swim suit 22


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 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 this Index of pro mermaids! If you’re a pro 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 mer-owned company that has created a line of beauty products & makeup that are organic, natural, & as eco-friendly as possible! 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. w w w . d e v i a n t A R Tm e r m a i d s . 23

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. Types of Professional Mer-Gigs Read an indexed thread with examples of mermaid gigs Mer-Casting Calls Need a Mer? Post casting calls here. The Ultimate Guide to Monofins Everything you need to know about monofins 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

Mermaid 101 Date: March 22 1 PM - 2 PM Location: Holiday inn hotel and suites 4550 S Palo Verde Rd Tucson, AZ Price: Full event $40, Friday $30 Requirements: Bring at least one swimsuit. Mermaids who would like to participate please come early for instructions. Description: Learn how to be a mermaid, make a tail, and swim like a fish with Mermaid Odette at the hotel pool. Get a chance to then swim with mermaids and try on a tail and enjoy great photo opportunities underwater with our new kelp props! Website: www.con-nichiwa.com Photo by Jesse sparks


David of Clay Mermaid

Playing with clay has been a passion of David’s (the talented artists behind Clay Mermaid) since he was a young child. David has propelled himself into mermaid fandom fame with his amazing renditions of well known mermaids and mermen. David’s sculptures feature perfected details, bright vivid colors, and realistic attributes. Our interview with the talented sculpture is as followed:

so I would make them for myself. I would become captivated with certain movies and TV shows, and I would sculpt the characters over and over again until they were perfect. Those sculptures began to add up and last time I counted I realized I had done over a thousand of them. I was commissioned to do sculptures for teachers and classmates and I made clay ornaments for friends at Christmas. I got a lot of good exposure during high school when my sculptures were on display for the second time in my local library and there was an article written about me in the Star Ledger. I also majored in sculpture at a small fine art school in Connecticut.

How did you first get involved in the world of sculpting?

What drew you to mermaids?

I started playing with clay when I was in second grade. Sculpting has been my passion ever since. While other kids were enrolled in sports or after school activities, I spent all my free time making small figures in clay. I sculpted my favorite characters from TV, movies, fantasy, and many others from my imagination. The toys that I wanted to play with didn’t always exist,

As soon as I saw Disney’s The Little Mermaid, I was hooked. Ariel was someone that I could completely identify with. I saw beauty in things that most other boys didn’t and was forbidden to have those things. When I did get them, people looked at me like I was strange. Like Ariel, I wished to escape to a world that was more open-minded so I could be myself and be happy.

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With that, the movie really solidified in me a deep love for mermaids and so I became obsessed with them and searched for every movie, book, and piece of artwork I could find about them. When I saw the movie Splash (aka my favorite movie) it gave me the idea that humans could actually become mer-people which excited me even more. Even though they are my life’s passion, when people ask me why they are so important to me I have a hard time coming up with an answer. There are so many reasons why I love mermaids and how they continue to resonate with me. They represent to me a combination of part human, part nature, but they have a connection that we’ve lost which is with our own earth. The ocean seems a lot like the subconscious to me, deep and unfathomable. Mermaids seem like beautiful welcoming guides into a foreign world, who are trying to reconnect us with messages we need to hear and with our own planet. They’re so multi-faceted, they can do good and bad which makes them easy to relate to. They are a force to be reckoned with, in full control of their watery realm. At the same time, they are heroes; they rescue you when you’re drowning, saving your life and even breathing new life into yours. Their lives are uncomplicated by material possessions, yet they see beauty where it truly is, in nature and life itself.


Are there any specific artists you looked up to? Why? I look up to the art deco artist Erté the most. He is my favorite and always will be. He designed over 200 covers for Harpers Bazaar, as well as designing fashion, jewelry, graphic arts, costumes, sets, and interior decor. I was given a small book of his work as a child and was amazed at the beauty and detail of his art. He drew

Show and the Cher show. His work is so versatile; he can create anything intricate, glamorous gowns that would make any woman look beautiful to outfits to make Carol Burnett appear to be a frumpy old woman. I love comedy and the ability of a costume designer to make someone look funny, odd, or old is a great talent. Although not an artist, but a great actress and comedienne, Lucille Ball has been my role model for life. She proved that women can be beautiful and funny and I’d like to do the same with mermaids. Were you surprised to find there was a Mer community? Have you become involved?

I’d say that the mermaid community is twofold. There are the fans who create, collect, and surround themselves with beautiful women with elegant dresses all things mermaid and then there are and costumes with perfectly draped fabric, ornate jewelry, and intricate details, patterns and designs. It’s really artwork that has to be seen to be believed, there’s never been another artist like him. With most of my small figures, it’s hard to add enough detail to emulate his work. However, my small figures are meant to be more cute than elegant. I’ve started doing larger, more realistic figures, which makes adding more details a lot easier. The other artist that I look up to is the costume designer, Bob Mackie. He created the costumes and wardrobe for the Carol Burnett 25

the fans who do all those things as well as swim in a tail. Growing up in the era of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, I knew that the first kind of fans existed among many age levels and types of people. However, I didn’t know of any of the second kind of fans until much later. At a young age I made my yellow pajamas into a tail by shoving both legs in one pant leg and by putting the pajama top over my flippers for the fins, the sleeves made really long flukes. Over the years on the internet I occasionally saw people in tails but mostly they were just costumes. I knew that MermaidRentals and FoxMoon Productions existed, but in 2002 tails were really only for commercials, music videos, and movies. It wasn’t until high school that I found Kitty Mermaids webpage, a mer-fan who


owned a MermaidRentals tail and openly swam in it for fun. That was the first time that discovered that I was not the only one. Later in high school I saw one of Hannah Fraser’s videos with her wearing her own custom-made tail. That immediately got the wheels turning in my mind and I started thinking about making my own tail. Around that time I learned of other mermaid fans who swam in a tail.

active in the Mer community through posting pictures of my sculptures on mermaid websites, including Mernetwork. I’d like to attend the next World Mermaid Awards however I might not have a finished tail to swim in. I’ve made one detailed dry tail, a wet tail that is too painful to swim in due to my poor construction and a custom made fish fin mono fin that I can swim pretty fast with but it’s only a fin and not a tail. Someday when I have more Eventually, YouTube came along and time, I’d like to create a really wellpeople uploaded videos of themselves designed tail that I can swim in. swimming in tails or showing how to make one. Finally this thing that we Is there a particular mermaid or all had done in private was becoming mermaid story that inspires you? mainstream. Thank goodness that The stories that inspire me the most are Hannah Fraser had the courage to the ones that have been passed down swim in a tail and put it out there for through the years, like the ones in everyone to see. With just a few flicks Mary Pope Osborne’s Mermaid Tales of her tail she managed to reawaken from Around the World or Theodore the dreams in so many mer-fans. I’m Gachot’s Mermaids Nymphs of the

Sea. From these stories we get the closest account of mermaids and their abilities and personalities as well as more information about their world. I also like modern mermaid stories but know that they are not always sticking with what we’ve learned from legend, but rather making it up as they go along. Although, with what limited information we have it’s sometimes necessary to make it up.

I get inspiration & good entertainment from the show H2O Just Add Water, mermaids with individualized super powers is a great idea. I know that the creator Jonathan M. Shiff is currently working on The secret of Mako island but I wish I could just have five minutes of his time for my plot ideas for a fourth season of H2O. Another big source of inspiration for my sculptures comes from just being a mermaid fan and knowing the funny situations we go through. For example, it’s not easy going to Home Depot and asking some 26


burly employee about what plastic undulates the best underwater because I’m working on making a merman tail for myself, Or swimming in a merman tail in your aunt’s pool only to notice a puzzled neighbor staring at you. Anything else you’d like to tell us? I live in New Jersey so if your a mermaid fan in the area I’d love to hear from you, it would be nice to know a mermaid fan in the same state. Also my goal for this blog is to eventually put together a children’s picture book about mermaids. I want to create a book with pictures that are as detailed as Walter Wick’s I SPY books, with captivating new worlds that the viewer can escape to. I want to create pictures that have so much going on in them

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that the reader will discover something new each time they look at the book. Most of all, I want to show mermaid fans the world they’ve always dreamed of, the world of the mermaid. To do this I need your help. Please share my work with anyone you know who has a love for mermaids and feel free to share my pictures on your Facebook page as well. What I’ve learned from successfully published authors is that you shouldn’t even start working on your book until you’ve fully reached your audience first. Once I’ve done this, I can start working on the book of my dreams which I look forward to sharing with everyone.


The Legend of the Kraken: Myth “Below the thunders of the upper deep; Far far beneath in the abysmal sea, His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep, The Kraken sleepeth”- Alfred Tennyson

with the eyes as large as dinner plates; with long tentacles and toothed suckers, which have left their marks on many a sperm whale during a battle for survival. A creature of 50+ feet, which lives in the darkness of all the world’s The Ocean is mysterious, within its oceans and is said to take down ships. depths there are creatures of unknown A well know “Sea monster” is known species, including those we know as as “The Kraken”. “Sea Monsters”. But what legends have told us and by actual specimens who This creature is also known as the have been washed up on the shores, elusive Architeuthis dux, also known there has been one which terrifies and by its common name, the giant squid. intrigues us. A sea In Greek mythology The Kraken is monste r actually a Norse monster. The Kraken, usually depicted less as a humanoid creature and resembling something more along the lines of an enormous octopus, was a sea monster that many early sailors and fisherman reported sightings of all the way back to the 1200’s. It was a terrifying creature that would sometimes attack ships. The myth of the Kraken grew for centuries, much like its cousin the sea serpent. Kraken were said to be the size of a small island, often even being mistaken for islands themselves. Perhaps more dangerous than the Kraken itself was the enormous whirlpool it created when it went back under the surface. In 28

literature, such as the Odyssey, there is an account of Scylla, a horrible creature “With great tentacles and serried rows of fangs”, “Which no ship has claim to have passed her without loss and grief as she takes from the ship, a man for every gullet”. Legends of the Kraken have appeared in the 13th century and even in history books. From earlier sailors and even whalers, who spoke of the squid when a sperm whale was in the throes of death he would throw up his last meal which would be pieces of something large such as a tentacle or the mantle of the creature. Herman Melville spoke of this creature in “Moby Dick” back in 1851 and it wasn’t until 1861 that the first giant squid was actually observed in sea, in which the crew of the French warship ‘Alecton’ was sailing off the Canary Islands and spotted a large carcass, bringing an 18 foot squid on board, in which part of the squid’s body had separated before being brought on board. Throughout many years stories of the Kraken was widespread around the world whether tall tales or ‘seen’ by fisherman, The Kraken was mysterious and dangerous. With our knowledge today, it’s not too hard to guess where legends of the Kraken may have come from, a creature known as a giant squid. Giant squids reach up to 50+ feet, They are usually found near continental and island slopes from the North Atlantic


Turned Reality By Mermaid Lanai Ocean, especially Newfoundland, Norway, the northern British Isles, Spain and the oceanic islands of the Azores and Madeira, to the South Atlantic around southern Africa, the North Pacific around Japan, and the southwestern Pacific around New Zealand and Australia. Since then the giant squid has been seen on a few occasions. The first photographs of a live giant squid in its natural habitat were taken on 30 September 2004 the camera took over 500 photos before the squid managed to break free after four hours. The squid’s 18ft feeder tentacle remained attached to the lure. On 4 December 2006, an adult giant squid was caught on video near the Ogasawara Islands, 620 miles south of Tokyo, by researchers from the National Science Museum of Japan led by Tsunemi Kubodera. The Giant Squid was recently recorded alive in its natural habitat, on July 2012. Only recently was this footage released. It Shows a Squid which was 9.8ft long and was missing its feeder tentacles. With large eyes, long arms and a unique ability to change color at will. A living legend seen in the darkest depths of the ocean, only a fleeting glimpse of what history calls a sea monster or rather a ‘Kraken’. It makes you wonder what else may be out there that we have yet to see.

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The Seven Seas by Linda Ågren This poem and illustrations are created by Linda Ågren, for more of her work visit her blog. Once upon a time, when living was a crime Seven boxes were made, because people were afraid To every box a golden key, steal it not or cursed you’ll be On the inside the haunting fears, sealed for once with angel tears The seven sins stay hidden, though to release ‘em is forbidden On the seabed they all rest, from east to the dying sun in west Seven sins and seven seas, seven mermaids to guard the keys The purple mermaid of pride, for her beauty she could die With vain she watches her reflection, and all she sees is perfection The mirror and comb her trusted friends, unaware that beauty ends To guard the key is her duty; it brings her vanity and desired beauty But she falls under the spell, addicted to her beautiful prison cell To protect the curse she would fight, the sin offers no contrite The sin which has her in its power, still she ages every hour The box of wrath lies below, the Red Sea’s bloody flow Guarded by the mermaid red, evil thoughts within her head Her bloody lips tell the tale, where humans win the mermaids fail Consumed by sin so deep and dark, their prisoner leaves an eternal mark The cost for humans to be free, is that mermaids have to guard every key And with the inherent mission, comes sacrifice and lost ambition As a puppet on a string, the mermaids give in, and incarnate the sin Green with envy the mermaid three, holds in her possession another key Never pleased, never glad, and wants what everybody else had Beauty, wealth and youth she desires, searching for the lusty fires Love and health, lust and luck, the power to have made the thunder struck She always wants more, from the seabed to the shore But she is blind to what she’s got, always looking for the gold in the pot And when she finds it, it falls into neglect, when she realize there are more things to collect

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The mermaid of sloth never cares, she never wants, never compares Lighten blue her key and tail, carefree and soft is her tale No concern whatsoever, she could live on like this forever Blowing bubbles that reach the sun, visit land just for fun No fear of the dark, no responsibility, carelessness is her ability The sin turned her into this, is it a curse or is it bliss? Whichever one that is to prefer, the answer does not interest her Yellow as the coins she collects, and the treasures that she protects Is the mermaid of avarice and greed, that believes gold are all that she need In her ears glistening gold, but the sparkle does not warm her soul so cold Jewels of all kind she did collect, from several ships that have wrecked The greedy voice makes her listen, to steal everything that glisten Her material love will not pay, when with age her hair turns grey All alone with silent gold, not as precious as the soul she sold Orange is the sixth mermaid of sin, with a body that used to be thin Sweets and confection she treats herself all day, more and more she will weigh Sweet berries, seafood and candy’s on her list, for the delicious she cannot resist The mermaid of gluttony spend her days, exploring the flavors, aroma and taste From the sailors she would steal, wine, bread, every meal And in the sea she could find, sushi, seaweed, clams combined The key of hers makes her eat, a hunger hard to defeat As a man you shall not trust, the seventh mermaid full of lust Of darken blue shines her tail, to resist her you will fail The mermen believe they stand a chance, drawn into her lustful dance Now and then she sings in the bay, for with humans she wants to play She rise upon land for nights of passion, but for men she lacks compassion The sin she happily guards, makes her the queen of heart in cards She practice the sin she is supposed to guard, she practice it sweaty, she practice it hard

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Mer Model: Ashley Nadine I got picked because so many people had responded and I had never really even heard of him before. When I got picked I showed up and there were these gigantic tails laying all over the beach with a big tent for makeup artists and hair stylists and video people, everywhere.

Ashley Nadine, many of you probably know her as The Mertailors Angelfish, has been in the modeling world sense being a young child and has lead a successful modeling career, despite being 5’3” she has walked two runways and been in print with her most recent adventures specializing in underwater and mermaid modeling. Currently Ashley is working as one of Mertailors main models while finishing school to become a lawyer to help those in the entertainment/modeling industry and the environment. How did you get into mermaid modeling?

You mentioned you go into modeling when you were a little kid; did you get into it for something special? My mom was a model, sorta the beauty queen type and I was not. She put me into a lot of little photo shoots and pageants, unfortunately for her I was a tomboy and tended to ruin all the pretty clothes, it wasn’t until I was a young woman I got back into modeling. How did you start underwater modeling?

I got started by going to a casting for Mertailor, it’s actually kind of a funny story. Well not funny it was actually I found a casting call on a modeling kind of horrible, not the shoot I website for mermaid models, that’s mean, I showed up and didn’t know how I met Mertailor and if it wasn’t for what to expect I was so excited that him I wouldn’t be a mermaid model. 32

Then a giant cloud rolled in, right after the other, we were in tails so we couldn’t really go anywhere while we waited for it to pass and then when we thought it did pass we got in the water. Then all the lightening from a bigger storm came, and it was a crazy day, I actually spent most of it sitting under an umbrella with the Mertailor in tail and with another mermaid waiting and hoping that we wouldn’t blow away. We did end up getting some really good pictures in the end but look like very sad mermaids, there was this one photo I was laying on a rock and I literally couldn’t get off this rock it was storming so bad they didn’t want me to go back in the water. But it opened a lot of doors and I made a new friend, the Mertailor, after hanging out with him all day in a rainstorm. But I guess crazier things have happened. When I went to the auditions there was one girl and she was able to slip the tail right on and I thought I could do the same, ended up not happening that way. It took me easily 25 to thirty minutes just to get the tail on. So piece of advice if you just got a tail or made


your own tail, you should probably not a director will be like ‘I need a younger be expecting to be able to slip right in mermaid or a blonde or redhead’ immediately. or maybe they want more then one mermaid and they want to know if you How is underwater modeling have any mermaid friends, and other different then dry land? mermaids tend to reach out to those It’s so much more difficult, when they know. Believe it or not Craigslist your on land you don’t have to worry has gotten me a few jobs, though about things floating into your eyes, or always work with caution of course and them getting red after trying to hold always bring someone along for safety them open, the breath holding, it’s and be prepared for unprofessional literally night and day. Much harder behavior in several ways. underwater, with your hair blowing What advice do you have for safety? around your face and over your face, getting stuck in whatever your wearing Never go anywhere alone, especially and especially when you have long hair. if you are working with someone new And the underwater experience can and they say they don’t allow escorts be an absolute nightmare; I’m lucky then just don’t do it because ultimately enough to have a talented makeup it’s just not worth the risk. Ninety nice artist, Justin Townes, who knows so percent of the time I go with someone many tricks to keep it on and looking good. I know Mertailor has a lot of connections, but how do you find photographers? He does, he can always make great recommendations or sometimes he calls me up last minute and is ‘I need you for this project or for that project.’ I say 50/50 of them I find from him. Model Mayhem is a really great site; it’s a great place to get yourself out there. There are a few other model sites that are ok like One Model Place but Model Mayhem would be my choice. Also other mermaids can be key to a lot of other doors opening, sometimes 33

who’s another mermaid, because like I said earlier they’ll ask me if I have another mermaid friend or someone who has a tail and they get a better shot or something. Or if I can’t travel with another mermaid I travel with my make-up artist and that’s also sorta good for you to if you can find a makeup artist who maybe is new or doesn’t have a lot of experience. Just have them come with you to your shoots and do your makeup and then everyone gets shots for their portfolio and hey if it works out that’s great. But back to the point my main advice is just don’t go alone, because there are some very… interesting people out there who I would of felt a little more then uncomfortable with if I didn’t have someone with me.


What do photographers looks for in a dry land model? Versatility and the ability to really move around in that tail, especially love the shots when you’re on your stomach and you flip your tail up behind you. They want you to be at all angle and to hold it in certain positions, I recommend doing ankle exercises to help move and hold the tail in position. You also have to know what kind of mermaid they want, is it the little mermaid who is sweet and innocent or more the dark pirates of the Caribbean. So as long as you can give them what they want your golden. Any advice on how to pose in a tail in or out of water?

down there to maneuver yourself and try to just suspend yourself in water. It’s hard to stay in one place.

For studios I would find the best place to get you without that, even 1. Leave changing your eye color to Photoshop, because if you are the skinniest girls have unflattering going to do underwater modeling lines or wrinkles when not on the and buy really neat and expensive beach. The best way to have it is for contacts that give them a really the photographer is to be over you cool effect underwater. They will somehow with you laying flat. The fall out of your eyes as soon as you tails really do tend to make you look open them and then there goes all unnatural if you aren’t laying back. your hard earned money. Underwater it really depends on how light or how heavy your tail is, my tail 2. If you are shooting in the winter, if you are an ice mermaid if you will, likes to float and dry me back to the pour hot water into your tail and surface so sometimes I have to weigh drink a lot of hot water before you it down so I can stay down and pose. shoot. If you have something to hang onto something natural looking like a 3. Practice breath hold and smiling rock or on the bottom where you are while under the water. shooting it can be good when you get 34

What do photographers look for in an underwater model? Ditto for above, most photographers want you to actually want you to look real. Like a real life mermaid, as if you were just swimming by and they happened to of caught you. So if you go swimming by with a huge smile it sorta ruins the idea of finding a mermaid in the wild.


What advice do you have for shorter models & Mer models? Well for Mer models it’s easy you just have to get a very large fluke on your tail and it can make you appear very very tall especially in the water. For shorter models if you are already pretty and an approachable person just wear really tall heels and tight pants. The rest is just luck. What advice would you give to a budding mer-model? Modeling is accepting the fact that you are going to get nine no’s before you get a yes. Especially if you are shorter or mermaid modeling or underwater photography, but you know if you keep at it you, if you keep looking you will find that. Also with conservationism, though I’m a little biased with being out by Rainbow springs all the time. Mermaid’s time are coming, so just keep swimming.

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Featured Tail Maker: FinFolk

FinFolk Productions splashed onto the mer-scene in a flurry of bubbles. They were nominated and elected by the mer-community as our featured Tail Makers of the issue! Specializing in silicone tails, Fin Folk have found themselves a home in the Ren-Faire circuit, and are starting to travel the States to explore with their tails. Our interview with them is as follows: What first sparked your interest in mermaids?

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As adventurous and creative twin sisters, we grew up fueling each other’s strong imaginations and fantastical leanings. Being obsessed with unicorns and mermaids is not an uncommon attribute among little girls, and we have always shared a love for the extraordinary and otherworldly. We will forever be grateful that we were raised in a passionately artistic family, as it spurred us both to pursue other art forms before either of us became familiar with the concept of tail making. Bryn is a very skilled portrait artist, among other things, and Abby is an experienced tailor and costumer. Together, we make a fairly unstoppable team, especially when the goal is purely to create. Simply put, we have found that mermaids are the perfect muse. Since starting Finfolk, there is never a lack of inspiration floating around the studio, or in our

day to day lives. We live and breathe our art. Why did you start making tails? We began our first tails as the result of a costuming job through the Minnesota Renaissance Festival (MNRF). At first we turned them down, as we they specifically wanted realistic silicone tails and we had never worked with such expensive and involved materials. Upon looking into it, we decided to follow our mantra, “divide and conquer,� and knew that if we both put our heads and our hearts in the project, we would succeed. We did not do so without plenty of sleepless nights and mistakes that eventually became learning experiences, but we have grown immeasurably as artists and as people. It is safe to say that immersing ourselves into the world of special effects and prosthetics has drastically changed our lives, and we


Productions are ecstatic to be beginning such a How did you learn to make tails? wonderful journey with such a large It’s a secret! We won’t tell you! … Really, and supportive community. that’s not true. We learned how to make tails by thoroughly researching and experimenting with our materials, pushing our creativity to the limit, and LOTS of trial and error. Making tails is no easy task. It takes dedication, a certain amount of artistic knowledge experience, and mostly a lot of failure. Learning from our own mistakes has been incalculably more useful than anything you can read in a forum, or attempt to learn from another business. If we had not partnered together, there is little room for doubt that we would not have succeeded. We both bring different skill sets to the table, and certainly bounce off of each other’s ideas and ingenuity. Research, practice, fail, and never stop trying. That is how we learned. When did you make your first tail? What inspires your tail designs? What did it look like? Nature and everything in it. We made our first tail in July 2012 (really, not long ago at all!) Aesthetically, it was What reactions have you received? beautiful. The scales were sculpted and raised, it was metallic gold and bronze We have been awed and humbled by in color, and flowed wonderfully in the reactions of both the mermaid the water. Unfortunately it lacked a community and the general public to few things in terms of functionality, our tails. It is one of the many things and so we consider it a prototype that have spurred us to continue more than anything. We have greatly growing and expanding as a business. improved our techniques since then, The love we have for this art form, and but definitely have a special place in the hours, days, weeks, and months we have poured into perfecting it our hearts for that first bronze tail. are uncountable. That we would 37

spark a child’s imagination, or be complimented by some of the best in the industry is truly rewarding. Reactions have been wonderful so far, and we can only hope they will continue to be the more tails we make and the more clients we serve. “My granddaughter solidified her belief in mermaids after seeing the mermaids at the MNRF. The tails were made by FinFolk.” “FinFolk mermaid tails at the MNRF worked beautifully under water, and enhanced the myth wonderfully.” “The work that the both of you have put into my new tail is amazing. The coloring work is out of this world, I LOVE the fluke, the extra fins and all... It is beautiful to watch the both of you


create, and together you are magical. I were absolutely delighted by such an couldn’t wait to post something about anecdote, and so were we! it any longer, because after seeing it You launched in December correct? tonight, I was just so moved! Thank How has the response been so far? you for making dreams come true, and for being amazing.” Indescribable. We amassed hundreds of followers within days, and the messages began pouring in. Officially, we have said that we will not be offering tails to the public until this spring. Only because we are working on several large projects until then, which we are very excited to unveil! How would you describe your journey as a tail maker? Just beginning. We have barely dipped our toes (or fins!) The water, and are very excited to make some waves in the mermaid world. Where have your tails traveled to? Currently, all over the country! As far north as Minnesota, as far south as Texas, and as far west as Arizona. What’s one of your favorite client stories? We spent every day in the Mermaid Cove at the MNRF assisting performers and helping to manage crowds. To this day, our favorite story is that of a little girl who must have been about four years old. Upon entering The Cove, she turned to her father, put her hands on her hips, and said “See, dad?! I TOLD you mermaids were real!” The performers and stage managers 38

We have had several international inquiries, and will very likely begin servicing clients all over the world once we begin taking orders this spring! Do you have plans for future products/projects? Yes! We have our very first underwater photoshoot happening in just a few short weeks, and several more planned in the coming months, possibly even ocean related… Though that is all currently under wraps, and you didn’t hear it from us.


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Road Home by “Mermaid Kitt” Martin pod sister Mermaid Janelle, “is to be able to bring that magic back to those children who may otherwise not have opportunities.” The Rocky Mountain podfolk, she says, want the children to know that people care about their survival. When they entered the room, the mermaids and pirates of the Rocky Mountain pod were struck by the starkness of the Road Home. There were cots everywhere, and while facilities were adequate, the shelter was far from a comforting home. Nothing, though, would deter these merfolk on a mission. “Nothing is smaller than sharing 4 cots between 6 people, in a crowded warehouse,” says Rocky Mountain pod sister Mermaid Lei Loni. “It really broke my heart.” However, the mers weren’t really here to pity and grieve. They had a more joyful mission. “One of the main reasons I do what I do is to bring magic back to kids.” As a professional mermaid, Lei Loni is no stranger to bringing magic to kids. The kids she’s used to working with, though, are those whose parents can afford to hire her. “I realized that there were just as many children that weren’t so lucky.” After hearing about the Road Home on the radio, Lei Loni says, “I decided that it would be wrong of me not to offer to volunteer, since I have been so blessed in my own life.”

Volunteer work is not new to many of the Rocky Mountain mers. “I’ve volunteered at shelters and rest homes before,” says Mermaid Thalassa, “but never as a mermaid or entertainer.” Although some had done similar events before, the excursion was certainly not run-of-the-mill for any of the volunteers. They all found themselves bursting with tales of the children’s eagerness as they were given treats and prizes. “It was so fun to hear one boy feel my Monofin and say, ‘You’re not real. It’s hard in there,’” Thalassa recalls with laughter. “The little girl who had taken a liking to me defended me with, ‘That’s her BONE, dummy!’”

up and be themselves with us,” says Thalassa. Before going to the shelter, she’d had some doubts. “These children are worried about where they’re going to live, why would an hour with a mermaid make a difference?” But now, she says, she understands why they need magic. “I know that it’s just as beneficial for them as it is for me.” Moreover, she says, “I feel it’s especially crucial for those who have to deal with the ‘hard facts’ more often than most.” The day at the shelter was not without a strong dose or two of hard reality. For some of the children, it was “very evident that they have been homeless for some time,” according to Janelle. “All children believe in magic but somewhere along the lines they stop believing because of worldly things beyond their control that happen.”

Mermaid Jessica recounts a similar tale. “One of the girls touched my sea shell bra and asked if they were real sea shells… She was so convinced I’m real and when anyone didn’t believe me, “I’ve never been in a shelter before she’d point out my real sea shells.” and it was eye opening,” adds Jessica. “Some of the kids, you could just tell “I got so many compliments!” She that they’ve been through hard times.” recalls. “One girl said ‘An Asian mermaid! I love Asians!’” Jessica says “There was one girl that stood out the children also liked tickling their to me,” she recounts. The little girl fins. “We’d say “‘Ahh! That tickles!’” defended Jessica when a boy was “One of our goals as mermaids,” says “It was really fun to see the kids light harassing her. “He told me I was 40


going to hell for lying to kids about harsh living environment… Some of being a mermaid and that I was so them even offered to share their treats retarded.” Jessica wonders if he was with us.” When they noticed that the mermaids’ tails were getting dry, Jessica adds, “they got spray bottles and sprayed our tails to keep us from getting dehydrated.” The mermaids and pirates all took a piece of that spirit home. “They changed my life,” says Lei Loni. “I felt like I was doing exactly what it was that I was meant to… I “just repeating when others called him have never felt so much love in my life.” retarded or told him he was going to The Rocky Mountain merfolk hope hell.” She says she heard a boy saying that their experience will inspire that his sister was afraid of their Jack others to reach out. “I think it is a great Sparrow because he had a rubber opportunity for anyone that just wants knife, “which makes me think that to bring a little hope to those whose she might have seen something bad lives have been turned around because happen involving knives.” of poverty,” says Janelle. Although Overall, pod members found the it was never her intention to inspire kindness of the children and the others, says Dottie, “I was inspired by resilience of their spirit heartening. other Mers who make a difference.” Jessica remembers the girl mentioned The Salt Lake mers are full of advice for earlier with admiration. “This girl those who want to reach out, but don’t bravely says, ‘Even if you don’t believe know where to start. Lei Loni’s advice she’s real, if she asks you to stop, then is to “just take a deep breath and jump.” stop.’ She is a really strong girl.” Jessica The only person holding you back, is a firm believer in standing up for she says, is you. “Start small,” Dottie others, “and this girl definitely stood advises. “Making a difference could up for me.” just be swimming at your local public The experience at the road home was pool and meeting people.” Thalassa “something I will cherish for the rest of encourages keeping the focus on the my life,” says Janelle. She remembers the children. “The message will come children asking the volunteers if they naturally,” she says. She also cautions would be okay out of water. “I thought mers not to worry about tail quality. it was precious that their concern was “The kids who want to believe believed so evident even though they were in a us all.” 41

“A real mermaid shares her treasures and magic with those around her,” says Lei Loni, “especially the less fortunate.” “It reminds me that what is most important is helping others as much as possible,” Janelle adds. “Even if I’m unable to give money as a donation I can still give time and service to lift the spirits of the precious little ones and their families.” Pod members are eager to jump back into giving. “I fully intend to do this as often as opportunity allows!” Dottie says. The Rocky Mountain pod have already told the Road Home they would like to return to the shelter, as well as visiting their Rio Grande location. “I feel like this was only a tiny baby step to reaching my goal of inspiring people and changing the world,” Jessica concludes. “I’m definitely going to keep trying to make a difference.”


DeviantArt Feature

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Mermaid Jokes! • What is the best way to catch a fish? • Have someone throw it at you! • What did the sea say to the mermaid? • Nothing, it just waved! • What fish can be adjusted to sound better? • The tune-a-fish! • What do you call a big fish who makes you an offer you can’t refuse? • The Codfather • What part of a mermaid weighs the most? • The scales! • What type of whale has been known to fly? • The Pilot Whale! • What do you call the mushy parts between a great white’s teeth? • Slow swimmers • Why was the mermaid so embarrassed? • Because she saw the big ship’s bottom • What is a shark’s favorite hobby? • Anything he can sink his teeth into! • What did the boy octopus sing to the girl octopus? • I wanna hold your hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand! • Why are manatees so wrinkly? • Did you ever try to iron one?

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Dear Tail Flip Readers It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year since we first launched Tail Flip. This issue marks our 5th, and we have come full circle. Sirena and I have learned so much in undertaking this project, and we’re so thankful to you all as you continue to support us despite the little mistakes we make along the way. It’s been a big learning experience, but we’ve enjoyed every moment of it. We hope you have too. We’re often asked why the magazine is not in a printed version, and I wanted to address that here. The most obvious reason of course, is money. It costs a lot of money to produce a printed magazine, and to distribute it to our readers would also cost them a lot of money. By being digital we’re able to keep the entire process free, and eco-friendly. In being digital we’re also able to embed direct links, videos, and content, making it much easier to include direct credits to people involved. We get permission to put things in that we know we’d have to either pay for or go without if this was a printed magazine. Digital is also faster- which is a big help since there’s only two of us running the show. Finally, when mistakes are pointed out we have the ability to quickly make a fix and have it appear instantly. There are just so many pros in going digital.

get, is people wanting to write all about themselves or do an interview. Would you want to read a magazine that was nothing but interviews of other people? That’s why we’ve limited the amount of interviews per issue. A person can win an interview by either being the Mer of the issue, or the cover Mer. We also reserve the right to initiate interviews like we have in our past modelling interview project. The best way you can find out what people want to read is by checking out our Facebook page. We keep track of all the requests for content there, and if you check the lists you may find something you can contribute. Maybe you can write a tutorial on how to make something mer-related? You could also submit a FREE ad! Perhaps you could make an article about free diving, scuba diving, or competitive swimming and how it relates to being a mermaid. There may be a new mermaid TV show, book, or movie, that needs reviewing. The possibilities are endless!

Part of what we do at Tail Flip is try to feature things from the community. Feel free to send us meet up photos, convention photos, workshop photos, and event listings. We want to create a sample of what the mer-world has to offer for all of our readers to see. The idea behind this is that the magazine is meant to be for the The next thing we’re always mer-community, by the community. asked, is how readers can be involved. It’s how we try to stand out from The number one “offer” we typically 45

other blogs, magazines, websites, and groups. We can’t make it happen, if you don’t submit content. So thank-you to all who do, and all who are working on it too! While you’re enjoying this issue, don’t forget to read our earlier issues too. Much love, Raina


Community Spread

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Mers in Media Mertailor • Appears in Ocala Style Magazine • Video: “Life Beneath the Waves” • TLC’s My Crazy Obsession Traci Hines • Part of Your World Video Hannah Fraser • Las Vegas Sun • Model Environment • la Repubblica D • Mantas Last Dance (Video) • The making of “Mantas Last Dance” • Pete Thomas Outdoors • Orange Odette • 4 Elements Music Video Linden Wolbert • What It’s Like to Be a Real-Life Mermaid • This Real-Life Professional Mermaid Will Blow Your Mind • Model is mermaid to order: With her covergirl looks, Linden Wolbert is a great catch, if you can ignore her tail Mahina • News.com.au Others • The New Wave for Women and Girls: IN Mermaids, OUT Vampires • How to Become a Real Mermaid • Well-known photographer Chris Crumley brings ‘mermaids’ to life (Photos)

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About Tail Flip Hello everyone! After months of waiting Sirena & I are happy to publish the fifth issue of Tail Flip! The first four 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!

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Tail Flip Issue 5  

This magazine is for the mer-community, and by the mer-community. The brain child of Raina the Halifax Mermaid Tail Flip would not be possib...

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