Our July mermaid of the month comes from Orange County California! Mermaid Avalon is born and raised in that same area and has loved the ocean from an early age. In this interview, she gives us some great insights into the mermaid business and what the California scene is like! She is an amazing mermaid that has put a lot of time into her profession and aims to make dreams come true. Keep reading to learn more about her!
Where are you from? What do you enjoy filling your day with?
I was born and raised in (the ocean off of) Orange County, California. My favorite pastime is riding my seahorses and sometimes even baking cookies– I perfected a recipe for Pecan Sand-ies! They come out best without the sand! (;
Where did you learn your love for the water?
I had no choice in the matter– my parents were determined to have me swimming by the age of 1 1/2 because we had a pool in our backyard that couldn’t be fenced easily! I learned from an early age the importance of water safety!
Why do you love Mermaids so much?
Growing up in the 90s, the only redhead Disney princess we had was, of course, Ariel from The Little Mermaid! I quickly caught the mermaid bug and fell in love with Disney’s other mermaid blockbuster, The Thirteenth Year!
Mermaids are of course magical and beautiful, but they are also overwhelmingly cast as very strong characters who persevere, whether they are drowning men a la Pirates of the Caribbean, or risking everything to follow their dreams like Ariel.
How long have you been using a Mermaid Tail?
I got my first “real” mermaid tail from the Mertailor about 6 years ago. Mertailor tails were the first kind I ever saw online, and I found myself enamored with his “pirate” fluke shape and incredibly realistic designs.
I broke my own rules and bought a silicone tail to start out with– however, I had dedicated many months to swimming with a monofin and even took my first freediving class (almost a 100-mile drive from me!) before I received the tail. It was an ab-shell-lute dream come true and while it now is home to one of my mermaid friends in Tennessee, I am about to receive my THIRD Mertailor tail!
I have also owned several Finfolk tails and love their brand as well! Their line of mythic tails have all of the gleam and glamour that a “Hollywood mermaid” needs, but the scales are somewhat more fragile than a silicone tail so I am much more cautious with my mythic tails. I don’t typically use my fabric tails from Finfolk for performances, but they are dolphinately lovely for use in my windowed mermaid dunk tank or for taking along on photoshoots where a silicone tail would be too bulky to transport!
What do you think people can learn from Mermaids?
Mermaiding leaves you incredibly vulnerable in ways you wouldn’t expect going into it. You feel self-conscious about your body (which is, really, quite exposed), as well as doing something that is extremely physically demanding while also having the expectation of keeping the magic alive while doing so. None of us feel glamorous when our eyes are stinging, our knees are killing us, and that waterproof makeup we worked so hard to perfect isn’t holding up the way we thought it would.
However, seeing the joy and wonder I bring to audiences of all ages really brings the magic alive and reminds me of why I do this in the first place. I developed a new-found self-confidence and sense of purpose in mermaiding, and having a career devoted to making people believe in magic, if only for an afternoon pool party.
What Advice do you have from the Ocean?
- Be shore of yourself
- Come out of your shell
- Take time to relax and coast
- Avoid pier pressure
- Sea life’s beauty
- Don’t get tide down
- Make waves!
What camps or Mermaid gatherings have you been to or wish to go to?
I was on the planning staff for Mermania 2017 and had a whale of a time at that convention! My favorite part was, of course, getting to meet and mingle with so many mermaids who I had only interacted with online up until that point. We had nearly 500 mermaids from all over the world, and it is still the largest convention of its kind as far as I know!
What ocean conservation efforts do you support?
Dolphinately as many as possible!
What are your favorite Mermaid theme items or clothing?
My Finfolk Productions scale leggings are an ab-shell-lute staple. I wear them under all of my mermaid tails for ease of getting into them, as well as on a daily basis because they’re comfy, cute, and keep me cool in sunny Southern California! The prints are so similar to many of my mermaid tails and are so detailed, which I love! I also have leggings from the artist Kellee Riley which are sea-stunning and the koi design matches my iconic “Koi Queen” tail from the Mertailor so well!
What is the mermaid scene like in California and where do you see it going in the next few years?
The mermaid “scene” is thriving here in California, from the iconic dive bar in Sacramento to even Sea World San Diego boasting mermaids in their park! There are currently over 300 of us in this state, according to the California Merfolk Pod Facebook page, the vast majority of whom are hobbyists. However, the mermaid “industry” is incredibly competitive out here (I mean come on, it’s Hollywood).
The pressure is on to have the most realistic tails and costuming as well as the most immersive character. We have a huge problem with undercutting out here, where events expect mermaids to work for free or almost free because so many are willing to do it. A lot of princess companies out here buy fabric tails, stick a teenager or college student in them, and call it professional mermaiding. Myself and the other pioneers of the SoCal mermaid industry spend countless hours doing everything from perfecting our freediving techniques, developing interactive games, songs, and stories for children, to simply working on our “mersona” for added believability.
It can be really demotivating to lose gigs to companies who are giving it a half-dorsalled attempt at “mermaiding”, and a client who is disappointed in the mermaid they book will most likely never book another mermaid again! These types of companies poison the entire industry, not to mention make little ones lose their belief in mermaids!
What do you hope to accomplish in your mermaid career?
I don’t want to be the “richest” or “most famous” mermaid. I just want to be the best I can be and introduce mermaid magic to as many people as possible! Young or old, I think everyone can enjoy fantasy and a little light-hearted fun, and certainly believe that our world today needs more smiles.
Does having red hair help you get mermaid gigs because you look so much like Ariel?
My red hair definitely helps me get mermaid gigs. A lot of people want Ariel, or a similar-looking mermaid, at their event because that is how they imagine a mermaid to look. However, I do not feel that it gives me an advantage over other performers.
Your professionalism, quality of your appearance and act, and how much heart goes into what you do makes all the difference in how much people enjoy your performance. My golden and koi patterned tails, which look nothing like Ariel’s, are very popular, so I know that I am more to my clients than just an “Ariel look-a-like”. As Avalon, I remind the children that Ariel is no longer a mermaid and has many responsibilities as queen! There is so much more to being a mermaid than trying to emulate Disney.
Thank you so much Mermaid Avalon for your insights into the profession as a mermaid! We appreciate you “professionals” and only want the best experiences to come from mermaid performers.