The life of a mermaid
Ever wondered what it would be like to be a mermaid? We ask professional mermaid Hannah Fraser how she does it.
What would it be like to be a mermaid? Just ask Hannah Fraser, the former Byron Bay local who moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a professional mermaid. She has worked tirelessly over the past 11 years to make her passion a career.
"As a kid I naturally swam with my legs together and felt totally comfortable underwater," she says. "When I saw the film Splash when I was nine years old, I realised it was my dream to have a tail too, and created my first mermaid tail with the help of my artistic and supportive mother."
Because Hannah did not live near the ocean growing up, she was always in her backyard swimming pool, where the first mermaid tail she made disintegrated from overuse. From that point on, she was hooked, and has since made big steps towards her dream career, investing thousands and thousands of dollars into her tails over the years, and moving to Los Angeles to expand job opportunities.
"This is a lifestyle, not a job.... When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is to start breath hold training with breath control and yoga," Hannah says. "I feel more relaxed, healthy and peaceful when swimming; it releases tension from the body and the mind."
Think it's easy to be a mermaid? Think again...
"To be able to create convincing mermaid photos and footage you need to have very strong breath hold ability," says Hannah. "You also need an extremely strong swimming ability, (with your legs bound together) to look comfortable and beautiful underwater, be dive certified, not be afraid of underwater wild life, have ocean experience in tides, currents, waves, varying temperature, swimming with your eyes open underwater without goggles, and have modelling experience!"
Hannah splits her time between pool and ocean shoots, depending on the project.
"I often shoot in pools as it gives greater control over lighting, and there are no currents and the water is clearer than the ocean," she explains. "But my favourite thing is to be in the ocean swimming with huge animals! I love the feeling of endless blue beneath me with the sun rays shining down from above."
Talented in more ways than one, Hannah also is a successful model, photographer, artist/illustrator and passionate environmentalist. She swims and speaks at events and conventions all over the world.
"I feel incredibly lucky that I have a talent that allows me a voice to be able to speak for causes and issues that I feel strongly about,” Hannah says. "This is the part of my job that gives me most satisfaction, where I feel like I can be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves."
When she is not swimming or performing as a mermaid, she edits her mermaid footage or photos, communicates online with her Mer-fans and plans her next performances and adventures.
Hannah is currently in production for a mermaid documentary called 'Tears of a Mermaid'. It shows the lifestyle of a real life mermaid, and the amazing adventures with ocean animals that she encounters.
Hannah also recently co-released a children's photo book about a little girl who is taken on a wondrous underwater adventure by a mermaid, called 'Last Night I Swam with a Mermaid'. As the adventure unfolds, we learn the valuable lesson to respect and protect our planet.