Meet Mermaid Linden! This lady is an inspiration for everyone in the mermaid community. She started her ocean education career back in 2005 when no mermaid tails even existed! Now she has a thriving monofin business and a successful Youtube station, with over 50 million views. She educates kids and adults about our oceans in a magical and memorable way. She travels all over the world with her tail sharing smiles, magic, and love. Keep reading to learn more about her and the moment she realized her dream.
Meet Mermaid Linden
Where are you originally from?
I was born in North Carolina and moved to Amish country Pennsylvania where I grew up on a landlocked horse farm. I went to college at Emmerson University and graduated in film and environmental science. This was the perfect school for me as I grew up wanting to do underwater cinematography and filmmaking.
Where did your love for the water come from?
I grew up without cable for most of my life and would watch a lot of wildlife PBS shows with nature documentaries and Jacques Cousteau. I was obsessed with anything under the see would record each episode so I could learn and memorize all the facts. This was the window into the ocean for me. This was so inspiring to me as a child, I wanted to grow up and do the same thing so kids all over the world could learn about ocean life.
When did your passion for mermaids and ocean education collide?
My mermaid dream collided in 2005. After college, I got really into scuba diving and free diving, I was obsessed with it! I was invited to do an underwater videography documentary about free diving down in Grand Cayman. It was the first time I ever went out of the country. During the filming, I saw some professional divers using monofins and though they were really neat.
I asked Mandy-Rae Cruickshank (who is a world class free diver) if I could borrow her monofin to try out as we were the same shoe size. Swimming in a monofin for the first time felt like I was flying through the water. When I looked up, I was really far away from the boat and it was right then and there that I had my dream realized. I often compare it to all the lights in Las Vegas turning on all at the same time over my head. It was the best feeling. I knew I wanted to become a mermaid, and rather than shooting normal documentaries like everyone else, I would do them as a mermaid for kids making it memorable, magical, and fun.
Did the movie “The Little Mermaid” have anything to do with your passion?
Yes and no. I loved the movie and watched it until the sound didn’t work anymore, but I never thought I would grow up and have a profession as a professional mermaid. I was constantly in the water as a child, and all my family members were on the swim team so I knew I liked being in the water. We would all pretend to be mermaids as kids do, but it wasn’t until the age of 25 that it really came true.
How did your experience with free diving help you become a mermaid?
It taught me how to hold my breath and swim deep distances all in one breath! My record is 5:07 for my static breath hold and the deepest dive I’ve been able to do to date is 115 feet. I don’t do depth training all the time but think I could break my record as 115 feet felt pretty easy.
Do you free dive a lot?
My mermaid business keeps me really busy. I use to actually judge freediving competitions back in 2006. I quickly went from a level E judge to a level B judge and was able to travel all around the world for competitions. Now I just do it when I have time.
Does your mermaid business have you traveling a lot?
Yes, it does! I have been lucky to travel all around the globe for different events. I have traveled for photo shoots, commercials, parties, product launches, wishes, and special events. There will be times I am taking a trip for something non-mermaid related and something will come up so I bring my tail. It’s actually rare I step on an airplane without my mermaid tail. If I can spread some mermaid magic in the classroom, fulfilling a wish for someone in the hospital, or surprising a friend, I bring the tail.
Tell me about your first tail!
Well, it felt like the stars aligned with how it all happened. Back in 2005, there was no such thing as mermaid tails! I had a friend from college who told me about their friend Allen doing an underwater video and knew I had some experience and asked if he could make the connection. Allen and I met for dinner and he told me about his underwater project. I offered to help and got into the conversation about my mermaid dream to educate kids. Come to find out he is a special effects artist and was more than willing to help!
We worked for 7 months almost every day on the tail together. It was different for him as he had never done anything aquatic before that needed to last beyond a few shoots. I wanted this tail to be beautiful, powerful, hydrodynamic, long lasting, and above all fit perfectly. That was a tall order but Allen was so brave to venture this new project with me. He later went on to create aquatic projects for more productions.
I compare life to a GPS, you have to tell it where you want to go. It’s not until then will it give you the steps and the direction you need to take in order to get there.
Do you still have your original tail?
Yes! It’s still under my bed! I have tail 1.0, and 2.0 which is a replica of the first. I don’t have a lot of tails as my character has a standard uniform. Personalities like Mr. Roger had a uniform, and my tail is my trademark.
Tell me about your Linden Monofin?
I really wanted kids to experience the same feeling I got when I put a monofin on for the first time. It is modeled after my Tail 1.0 with the unique fluke shape and has comfortable straps for easy access. It first started out just for kids but as the mermaid community has grown so much, we now make them for adults. You might have seen them with Mertailors new guppy tails. I am so honors and excited to be a part of their brand!
When did you think the mer-community really started booming?
I think it has really taken off in the last 3-4 years. The older I get the faster time flies! It seemed like a mushroom effect where mermaid companies, performers, channels, Instagram accounts, and Facebook fan pages started going crazy! I think back to when I had my first tail, and how there was absolutely nothing online! Hannah mermaid (who started mermaiding the same time I did, but we were on opposite sides of the world) will joke and laugh about the industry way back when. It’s amazing how quickly things have blossomed.
Where do you think the mermaid industry will go in the next 10 years?
I think we have a lot of room for growth. The mermaid theme has been trickling into pop culture with TV shows, entertainment, merchandise, and it seems to still be on the rise. I don’t see ing plateauing anytime soon. I relate a fad as a flash in the pan, and this trend is a slow burn. We have some time before things slow down for sure! Even when things die down, there is always room for specialty and novelty within the roll.
Do you think there should be a standardized certification for professional mermaids?
Yes and no. I think things are organically shifting that way. However, there are so many different fingerprints of mermaids and mermen. These positions are unique as the person performing them. Think about how many different types of chefs out there. Should there be a standardization for them around the world? Mermaid careers and opportunities are so diverse. To standardize it, would be hard. I would say, safety is the most important thing like being CPR certified, a strong swimmer, and still have a lifeguard on duty depending on how many kids will be there. You need insurance and liability coverage to run a proper business. The last thing you want to be is a liability. Protect yourself and anyone you are working with. You need to have those safety nets in place for your business. That is where I would draw the line.
What advice would you give to aspiring mermaids?
Do everything from your heart. Everyone is fed by different things and we all have different interests and desires. Find out authentically who you are within your mermaid brand so you can do the best possible thing you are meant to with your best skill sets.
I truly care about educating kids about the ocean and providing a magical experience to those who are sick. I provide tools for people to get in the water and experience the magic of mermaids for themselves so hopefully, they will become future ambassadors for the ocean. Being a mermaid is the perfect way to convey information to kids and adults in a way that was memorable, magical, and fun.
Thank you, Mermaid Linden! You were a joy to talk to and I hope one day we can meet in person!
Make sure to check out Mermaid Linden’s website and try one of her monofins! They are extremely comfortable and powerful in the water!
You can also follow her on Instagram, facebook, and youtube.