Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mermaid Odette

Thank you, dear readers, for visiting my blog and telling others about it! Today we will be chatting with Mermaid Odette of Arizona, USA. If you thought there wouldn't be any mermaids in the Arizona desert, you would be mistaken! Join me in welcoming Odette to the blog!

Mermaid Odette
Cynthia: Hello, Odette, tell us all about yourself.
Odette: I work as Mermaid Odette in Tucson, Arizona. I mostly work in Arizona, California, and Hawaii, but will travel anywhere in the United States for gigs. I make all my tails, accessories, and props in a workshop downtown. I have been mermaiding since 2009.

My abilities that make me a professional are my swimming and performance abilities. I've performed since I was 12, and have been a swimmer since age six. I enjoy entertaining and putting a smile on the dimmest face.

Cynthia: How did you first get into mermaiding?
Odette: I've been working for a historical fantasy theme park called Valley of the Moon since I was 13, and we have every type of creature except mermaids. I love swimming so I thought of bringing the two together.

I worked hard trying to make tails with no knowledge on anything but costuming and sewing. I figured out fins and then the monofin thing then got inspiration from online info. I wasn't completely happy with how tails were made, and started making tails in different ways that included adding scales one-by-one and using materials that seemed inappropriate for a tail which got me the golden emerald tail.

Mermaid Odette - photo by Joelle Higdon
Cynthia: Tell us about your Mermaid 101 Panel.
Odette: The "Mermaid 101" panel is something I started a few years ago to give people a chance to learn about being a mermaid. The panel talks about how to make a fabric tail, who you can buy from, swimming and breathing techniques as well as a lot of immediate, straight-forward, scientific, and personal info that you can't get online.

I give answers to even the professional things and tell them where they need to go to get started. It has been presented at many conventions, but has been done at Connichiwa for 3 years now, and I'm making it more amazing every time.

The panel has gotten so many good reviews that I decided to expand availability to Chicago and Southern Florida once I get a chance to catch up in Arizona.

Cynthia: What kind of performances do you do?
Odette: I perform a lot of swimming gigs and private parties. I get a public event almost every month now. I've performed for many different types of events and I love it! Public and swimming events are my favorite! I have done art galleries, parades, a concert, conventions, festivals, parks, birthday parties, movie presentations, Hawaii tour where I dived for snorkelers, and a unique birthday party at Hotel Congress as a vampire mermaid swimming with snakes.

Mermaid Odette by Joelle Higdon
Cynthia: What other activities do you participate in?
Odette: I promote water conservation every year through the Tucson Water Festival, presented by the Tucson Arts Brigade. I work on bringing a lot of issues that a desert mermaid would face, and how important water is. Most of the articles I'm mentioned in are because of the Water Festival and the amazingly fun and educational atmosphere.

Cynthia: You have been transforming a pool into a kelp forest for photo ops?
Odette: I haven't finished it yet, but I thought of a fun way to make a kelp forest with some tough plastics. Since its simple and abundant, I will be able to make a lot of kelp strands for wonderful photo opportunities.

Cynthia: Have you been to any mermaid gatherings?
Odette: I haven't been to any but I have a few followers who will join me for a pool swim at public events. I love meeting other mermaids or aspiring ones!

Cynthia: Do you have any special stories for us from your mermaid adventures?
Odette: I had a magical encounter with a whale. I had no idea they would swim that close to shore. I was appearing at a beach for a party in Maui. I went far out to enjoy the waves before they came when I see this huge fluke come out of the water. I looked down and saw the form of the whale and watched her, mimicking her movements, dancing with the whale. I still regret not having a camera at that moment. It was so magical feeling close to what I love.
Mermaid Odette

Cynthia: Tell us about the Water Show.
Odette: I have a new type of performance I hope to get started by 2015. Its called the "Mermaid Odette Water Spectacular". It is made to be viewed by poolside with difficult stunts most tails cannot handle. Some moves are modified from vertical to horizontal so people can almost experience the same feel that an aquarium mermaid show has to offer and more.

There are special effects other than tails involved that will cost around $30,000 to complete the way I want it done. Its a crazy idea but I always like to dream big. I have already started putting the pieces together, and I'm very optimistic about it.

Cynthia: You make all your own mermaid tails?
Odette: Yes. All hand scaled. I enjoy making tails in new ways. I have also been working on a new tail design for over a year now. I've been doing research on the scales and intact epithelium of fish to try to make the most realistic tail ever made. I've had the opportunity to study fish through physicals (as I study veterinary science). Everyone seems to like cycloid scales the most, so I'm dealing with many of those fish right now.

I want the kids to truly believe, and I want to be able to teach them cool facts about fish that way. Its looking good so far, but still doesn't feel like a fish yet. I may be selling tails in the future.

Cynthia: What else you would like to share with us?
Odette: I will be opening an Etsy account to sell props and accessories called aluremermaidstore this summer.

Cynthia: Thank you for chatting with us, Odette! Best of luck with the Water Show! Readers, if you would like more information on Mermaid Odette, swim on over to her web site and Facebook page.

Best wishes and starfishes,
-Mermaid Cynthia
cynthia (at)

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