Mermaids, much like ghosts and meet-cutes in detention, are real—1980s Hollywood has taught us this much, though most of us humans have yet to encounter a half sea-creature at the Statue of Liberty. Still, while one can be certain mermaids lurk somewhere in the Atlantic, it appears many humans are actually making careers out of pretending to be merpeople, perhaps as practice for the day in which they give up the fruit and vegetable business and commit to an underwater eternity with Darryl Hannah. Yes, Splash was my favorite movie as a child, thanks for asking.
This week, The Takeaway interviewed merperson Linden Wolbert, who both performs for celebrities and uses her ocean mammal status to promote environmentalism "I believe that everybody should follow their heart and their dream in whatever they want to do," she told the website. "If that involves wearing a magical, mythical mermaid tail and swimming through the water—whether that’s a swimming pool, a puddle, a fountain or the ocean—to live and experience your fantasy and share that with the world in your own special way, I say go for it."
And if that sounds crazy, earlier this month, Fast Company reported on the 1,000 or so folks making full-time use of the mermaid economy, be they merbartenders, mermodels, mermactors, or merfitness instructors. There are whole companies dedicated to manufacturing mermaid tails—there are mermaid swim schools, mermaid gym classes and mermaid conferences, to name a few merfolk-specific job markets.
Though it seems difficult for humans to transform into merfolk without gills, merhumans say their aquatic careers fulfill a lifelong dream of being half fish, half person. "Most people are drawn to it because of the novelty of doing something really silly and crazy and fun," JodiAnn Stevenson, who runs a mermaid-based fitness company, told Fast Co. "A lot of people just really love mermaids."
Naturally, Los Angeles, a city specifically founded to foster one's dream of becoming a fictional creature, is full of professional mermaids. But what about a reality-fraught city like New York? Do any merpeople brave the A train, or have our monstrous river rats scared them off?
A cursory Google search reveals that there is at least one professional mermaid in town, as well as a Rockaway Mermaid Brigade, a mermaid swim school, and a restaurant chainlet that serves you mermaid's fish friends to eat. There's even a documentary dedicated to NYC's vibrant community of merpersons.
Indeed, it appears the possibilities are endless when one chooses to embark upon a mercareer though, again, it does not seem physically possible to transform into a Real Mermaid, and actual merpeople would probably kill and eat you if you tried to infiltrate their underwater world. Now please enjoy the trailer for Splash: