Cynthia: Good afternoon, Marie, please tell us a little about yourself.
Marie: My name is Marie Hart and I am employed by Walt Disney World. I am originally from New York State, but have lived in Florida for 18 years. I enjoy visiting the local theme parks, but the greatest joy I get is in investigating all the natural treasures that the Sunshine State has to offer. My favorite spot is Sanibel/Captiva Islands. It is the perfect place for shell collecting, dolphin watching, scuba and snorkeling, and hiking on nature trails.
|Mermaid Marie - Photo by Benjamin Gruder|
Marie: When I was 8 years old my parents brought me to Florida on vacation. One of our stops was Weeki Wachee Springs, the City of Mermaids. I was immediately enchanted by the underwater mermaid show. The girls were mesmerizing, down in that sparkling Spring, doing their water ballet and deep dives. When I got home from that trip I took one of my Mom's stockings and created my first mermaid tail. I played the record, "The Little Mermaid over and over again, and acted out the part of the heartsick mermaid. I grew up on the original Hans Christian Andersen version of the story where the mermaid didn't end up getting her Prince. As Fergie sings, "Fairytales don't always have a happy ending do they?"
Cynthia: Can you name one or more of the mermaids or humans that have inspired you.
Marie: As mentioned previously, the Weeki Wachee mermaids have been a huge inspiration for me from an early age. I also admired Glynis Johns who was the mermaid in Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid. She was the first mermaid I saw in a movie. In my 20's it was Daryl Hannah / Madison from Splash. Nothing can top this sweet love story! Currently my idol is Hannah Fraser. I admire her for living her dream and being such an inspiration for our young generation by teaching them to honor and care for our Mother Ocean and all of her creatures.
Cynthia: Are you active in environmental work?
Marie: I have donated my time to numerous causes through the Disney Volunteer Group and Disney's Wilderness Preserve. My ongoing passion has been to rescue abandoned/feral cats, having them vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and adopting them out to loving homes.
Cynthia: Have you been to any of the recent mermaid gatherings?
Marie: I was so sad to have missed the Mermaid Convention this past year in Las Vegas. Unfortunately my "Mermaid's Purse" would not allow me to afford the trip at the time.
Cynthia: I see you are going to the Mer-Palooza Mermaid & Pirate Party in Orlando in August.
Marie: Yes. I am so excited to finally be able to meet all the new mermaid and pirate friends I have been conversing with online. To be able to dive in and frolic with so many kindred spirits is going to be a dream come true!
Cynthia: How did your family and friends react at first to you being a mermaid?
Marie: I always blamed my Father for starting it all when he took me to Weeki Wachee Springs and told me I needed to be as graceful and lovely as those mermaids. Now when he tells me "Marie, you need another mermaid statue like you need a hole in the head", I just sing the Disney Little Mermaid song to him- "Look at this stuff, isn't it neat? Wouldn't you think my collection's complete..."
Believe it or not, my Dad was the photographer for my mermaid photo shoot at Sanibel/Captiva in my purple neoprene mermaid tail. He finally got to see his daughter in action swimming in the ocean waves! I think I finally made him proud. As for my friends, I think they always knew I was a bit of an eccentric and a restless spirit, being born in the sign of Aquarius. They always say that my mind and soul seem to be in a different world. I have been known to spend the whole day in the water, and when finally coming out, getting totally "Land Sick".
|Mermaid Marie - Photo by Miles Hart|
Marie: I have always loved to sing, which I guess fits right in with my mermaid persona. If you are driving next to me on the road you will probably hear me belting out "Part of Your World" or another tune at the top of my lungs. My favorite mermaid themed song is "Ocean Gypsy" by Renaissance.
Crafts, Photography and Gardening are my favorite hobbies. Halloween is my favorite holiday since it gives me a great excuse to dress up and decorate my house. My very first mermaid costume was made with a pair of green velvet pants, lots of glitter paint, and a scallop shell bra. It won first prize at the local Halloween Parade that year!
I collect mermaids, fairies, witches, black cats and frogs in statues, artwork, etc. My favorite pastime is just enjoying nature while hiking with my dog, Luna. It's the little things that end up being the biggest for me. I still get mesmerized by a dragonfly, the full moon, a shooting star, an ocean wave.
Cynthia: Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
Marie: I would just like to tell everyone to live your dream and do what makes you happy. Life is too short to live it trying to please everybody else. Don't let fear stop you from going where your heart leads. And, stop every once in a while to feel the warmth of the sun on your face, listen to the rain, watch a sunset, give someone a hug, and leap into the ocean of life and let your mermaid/merman spirit shine!
Cynthia: Thank you very much, Marie! You can find Mermaid Marie on Facebook, where you will also find a number of her too-cute animal photos.
Best wishes and starfishes,
cynthia (at) goldmermaid.com
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