I get a lot of questions when people find out I am a professional mermaid. I thought it might be nice to take the time and address all these questions in one place. I will be updating this post frequently.
Where do you get your tails?
I make most of my own tails. I also make custom tails for clients www.Haleymermaid.com or madebyamer on Etsy.
I also have a tail collection featuring tails from other artists (like mermaid Kariel, Finfolk, and Merbella)
How much does the average mermaid tail cost?
The absolute minimum for a safe and proper tail is around $70. (Finfun and suntail are the cheapest safe tails) The average fabric tail cost $100-$250. Higher end fabric tails are $350-$600.
The absolute minimum for a silicone tail is either a hybrid tail with a fabric body and silicone fluke or a basic silicone tail. Hybrid tails start at around $400 and basic silicone tails start at $600. There are only a few tailmakers that offer these options. (Haleymermaid.com is one of these)
Full silicone tails start around $1500 but the average full silicone tail cost $3000-$5000. Highly sought after tail brands can cost up to $7000
Where and when do I do Mermaid shows?
I do mermaid shows from April to Halloween at the Pirates Table calabash seafood buffet in Myrtle Beach South Carolina.
How do I breathe underwater?
Unfortunately, I can’t breathe underwater. I have to hold my breathe in order to swim and perform as a mermaid.
Can you teach me to hold my breath as long as you?
No. You need a freedive instructor. I am not qualified to safely teach you extended breath holds. I am qualified to teach you tail safety and how to swim in a tail though. for tail safety info click here: https://www.haleymermaid.com/huge-sale
How long can you hold your breath?
I am not 100% sure. I know I can stay underwater for over a minute on a good day but I don’t know an actual time.
What are the pros and cons of being a professional mermaid ?
Pros: making people happy, literally living my dream in real life, getting paid to live my dream and make people happy, fun, making lasting memories with families, feeling free and calm underwater, wearing realistic tails
Cons: difficult clients (kids that yell and don’t let other kids have a turn, adults that don’t tip, tip badly, or steal from the tip jar), too much work for not enough $, the hustle to get $ (I only get paid if I book an event which isn’t guaranteed and shows depend a lot on tips) back pain, sore muscles, blisters, heavy tails, expensive equipment (tails, tops, tail bags, tail carts, cameras, etc.) needing assistance for everything, tons of behind the scenes work (training, tail care, etc.)
Do you like your work?
I absolutely love what I do. It’s definitely not something I could do if I didn’t love it. It is a LOT of work.
Is it blurry when you open your eyes underwater? Does it burn?
Yes it’s blurry but I’m used to it because my vision is pretty bad. The way I see without my glasses on land is how I see underwater. Everything is a blur of color. It doesn’t burn in fresh water or underwater in salt water, but when you come up and the air hits your eyes, it burns. Chlorine burns.
Were you born a mermaid?
Sort of. I’ve always been a mermaid at heart. I’ve always been obsessed with mermaids and felt more comfortable underwater. I’ve always loved the sea and wanted to help save it and it’s creatures. No one ever taught me to swim In a tail, I just knew. So while I wasn’t born with a tail, that’s not all being a mermaid is. Anyone can buy a tail but to be a true mermaid you also need a mermaid heart.
How to do you put on the tail? How do you take it off?
Putting on a silicone tail is difficult. It’s made custom to be your exact size. Most silicone tails require some sort of lubricant to get them on. (Hair conditioner is the best in my opinion) getting your hand down in the tail to get the monofin on your feet can be a struggle as well.
Taking the tail off is much easier than putting it on. You need to be able to take the tail off quickly in case of emergency. As long as you can get your feet out of the monofin, it’s easy to slide off the rest of the tail.
Can the tail fall off?
Fabric tails that are too big can fall off but fabric tails often have elastic waist bands. Silicone tails are custom made to be your exact measurements and suction to you as well as fitting like a second skin; so they can’t just fall off.
How do I become a pro mermaid?
Start with a safe monofin and learn your technique. Remember to never swim alone! Your first tail should be a fabric tail then you can upgrade to a hybrid or basic silicone, then a full silicone tail when you are ready.
To work as a mermaid you can either work for a company that hires mermaids (there is a list on a previous blog) https://www.haleymermaid.com/post/places-to-see-or-work-as-a-mermaid-usa or start your own business. (Make sure you do that legally! With business license, insurance, etc.)
Why are some tails dangerous?
You can read all about tail safety here:
Do you have to have a silicone tail to be a professional mermaid?
The type of tail you use depends on what type of work you will be doing. If you are in a tank, a realistic fabric tail like finfolk or mertailor will be fine. If a child will be touching the tail or you will be swimming with people, silicone is recommended because it is much more realistic feeling and looking up close.
You want to avoid commonly purchased tails for kids such as finfun. If a parent hires a real life Mermaid for their child’s birthday and they arrived in the same tail as the child, that would be very bad.
Do you have to have a tail of your own to work for a company that does Mermaid performance?
Places like weeki wachee springs and aquariums will provide tails. Birthday party companies will provide tails most of the time. Mermaid performance companies like Circus Siren and Aqua Performance Group will often require you to have your own tails.
How much does a professional mermaid make?
This varies drastically from mermaid to mermaid. From April to October I am doing mermaid shows and the pay varies based on tips. I only get paid for a party or event if I get hired. That’s not a guarantee. I am an influencer on social media as well as a freelance artist and that brings in some extra income as well. Some mermaids do only birthday parties or only shows. Some mermaids are famous and charge more for appearances like mermaid Linden or Mermaid Melissa.
Aquariums and weeki wachee springs pay mermaids around $10 an hour so a mermaid could earn $800-$1600 a month performing. What I make doing shows fits into this estimated range.
Freelance events like birthday parties cost an average of $50-$300 per event. You can make between $200 and $4000+ in a month doing events.
So a mermaid could earn $800-$5500 a month total. That’s between $10k and $65 a year. It’s a full time hustle and it can pay off but it’s a struggle most of the time. I would estimate the average is in the lower range like $10k-$25k a year.
Where I live, my bills are $1200+ a month and I also have to pay for my insurance, my website, materials to make my art, gas, food, business license, taxes, etc.
You don’t become a professional mermaid to get rich. You do this because you love it and can’t imagine doing anything else.