Meet Real Mermaid Athiraa who is a model and performer in Sweden. Keep reading to learn about who she is, and why she loves being a Mermaid!
Where are you from? What do you enjoy filling your day with?
I’m from Sweden. I work as a teacher but during my spare time I love being close to nature, both the sea and forest. The most common weather in Sweden is pretty cold but I usually don’t hesitate to go into the water anyway! Watching films or reading books are also interests of mine and gives a similar feeling of escaping into a dream world for a while.
Where did you learn your love for the water?
I was born the same year that The Little Mermaid came out, so when my parents took me to Disneyland in Paris I was completely in love with Ariel and the magical fairy-tale world as a whole. I have many drawings from this age of mermaids and it has followed me ever since. Even before this I have always loved swimming, my grandmother used to call me a dolphin and I would always go in even if it was cold, or at least always dipping my feet!
I have such a respect for water; it is the reason why we have life on this earth, but it can also kill you in an instant. Beautiful and tranquil, yet deadly and powerful. Just sitting by the shore, listening to the waves or to a small creek is truly meditation for the soul.
Why do you love Mermaids so much?
They have a mystery surrounding them that I always have been drawn to in a way I can’t explain – just like the ocean they refuse to be defined as only one thing, instead they are very complex creatures. They can be deadly sirens or very kind and helpful, but they are always powerful. Today I still see mermaids as a good role-model, especially for women, because they are strong and independent.
How long have you been using a Mermaid Tail?
I got my very first tail in 2012 for a photoshoot, but when I received it I realized it wasn’t made to swim in. It still fulfilled its purpose in creating mermaid pictures so magical I couldn’t stop looking at them. Later on I bought my second tail, this time swimmable with a professional monofin inside, from the2tails. I went with dark blue, because blue has always been a favorite color because of my love for water. After a while I bought more skins, a light blue one with shimmering scales for my mermaid persona Athiraa and a green scaly one for when I cosplay Ariel.
What do you think people can learn from Mermaids?
Mermaids teach us to be curious, and brave, and that no matter who you are you can be strong and independent. Just look at the sirens, they can seduce men if they want to but might as well drown them – no-one can do anything against them that they don’t want them to. I think of the most important lessons for my teenager self was that mermaids don’t necessarily have to be a alone with hearts as cold as the ocean, they can choose to love and still remain mermaids.
What is your favorite Mermaid or Ocean quote?
One of my favorite quotes is this one by Isaac Newton; “I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” This quote reminds me to always be curious and to not dismiss fantastical stories as mere fantasy, the sea is vast and partially unexplored, we are not yet sure what may live there.
My favorite mermaid book however, and guide to life, is Margot Datz “A survival guide for landlocked mermaids” with her amazing illustrations.
What camps or Mermaid gatherings have you been to, or wish to go to?
I have yet to visit a mermaid convention but I would love to meet up in the USA for Mercon or something similar, and meet the famous mermaids and mermen as well!
What ocean conservation efforts do you support?
When I was in Cambodia to volunteer as a teacher I also participated in the diving project at MCC, Marine Conversation Cambodia, to help document the population of seahorses and save them. It was truly inspiring and I finally did something that could make a difference for the ocean. At home in Sweden I support WWF for the sea animals and Naturskyddsföreningen which is trying to save the Baltic sea. I often participate in charity events for things like this, but also to make children’s lives better.
What are your favorite Mermaid theme items or clothing?
Part from the seashell-bra I made and hand painted myself with actual seashells, my favorite piece of clothing is a grey crop top that works perfectly with a white top underneath, and it says “Part time Mermaid”. I got it from a relative in America and it was so thoughtful of her to get me something with such a perfect fit! The shirt really is true as well, since I’m always a mermaid at heart and it is always present in my life, but I’m only wearing the tail and showing my scales part of the time.
Any tips and tricks for fellow Mermaids?
I think my most important tip for fellow mermaids is to believe in yourself and be strong – Perhaps you’re very self-conscious about that tear in your tail, or hair clips or your swimming technique – don’t be! The kids can smell your fear, just own it, everything is according to your intention and as it is supposed to be and if you’re uncertain – make up a story about it. If you are oozing with self-confidence the kids will believe it as well.