Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mermaid Natalie

Today I have the pleasure of chatting with Mermaid Natalie, The Mermaid of the Pacific. As Natalie will tell you, being a professional mermaid is a lot of work, but it can be very rewarding as you will see. Please welcome Mermaid Natalie to the blog!

Cynthia: Hello Natalie, please tell us a little about yourself.
Natalie: Hello, my name is Mermaid Natalie, The Mermaid of the Pacific. I am currently swimming in Southern California in Orange County, Los Angeles Area. I love to travel and I LOVE swimming in warm water!

Cynthia: How did you first get into mermaiding?
Natalie: I have loved Mermaids since I can remember. From Madison in SPLASH to Ariel in Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid. My first experience trying to be a mermaid involved my bathtub and a carton of Salt. I turned the bath on, poured the salt in and thought all I had to do was relax in the warm water, just like Madison from Splash. Needless to say all I got was an earful from my mom and learned never to do that again! Growing up I would "play" mermaid in my pool, throwing some of our toys to the bottom of the deep end, securing my two feet together by putting both feet in one of those old diving rings and diving for as many toys as I could on one breath. I received a fabric tail as a gift one year and traveled everywhere with it.

As I grew up I became an actress and model, and I would always look out for these specific castings. Ended up working as an impersonator for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies so when On Stranger Tides came out, and the characters I usually played were not in that movie, mermaid was the next obvious character for me in my group. We hooked up with Thom Shouse, The Tail Man, and I have been working with him ever since.

Cynthia: Tell us about your environmental activities.
Natalie: I have done a handful of beach cleanups and I am an avid fan of "Rise Above Plastics" and "Ban The Bag." I feel like our planet needs to reduce, reuse and recycle more. Especially when it comes to plastics. Everyone can start by bringing their old plastic bags or reusable bags to the grocery store. Also refilling a water bottle and reusing it over and over. If you want to do your part start small but hookup with a group like the Surfrider Foundation. Eventually I will have an Environmental tab on my website with great information on how people can get involved and what they can do from home.

Cynthia: What could one expect at one of your events?
Natalie: I do a lot of corporate events and children's birthday parties. No matter what the event you can find a lot of camera flashes and a lot of smiles. Adults and children alike get very enthralled by a mermaid. Most have lots of questions, many of them just like to gush over their love of mermaids. If it's a party where I am swimming you can definitely expect a lot of splashing and squealing! Kids are always trying to replicate my movements when I am swimming in a pool with them. It's fun to see children as excited about mermaids as I was.

Cynthia: Describe your work as a professional mermaid, model and actress.
Natalie: As a professional mermaid, model and actress I have a very fun yet busy life. I have to be very careful not to overbook myself or to book too many events in one day. I Have worked for many companies through the years like Mattel, Gentle Giants, Walt Disney Co and AMC.

I really love doing live events where I get to talk and interact with people. I find humans so interesting to talk to and watch and love meeting new ones! I also love photoshoots! Some photoshoots can be very difficult due to the weather or the location but the magic the photographer can create is always amazing!

Cynthia: Who has been a major inspiration to you?
Natalie: As silly as it sounds, my parents have been a huge inspiration to me. My dad was a Drum Major, an Environmental Engineer and a Pastor. So I know I can follow my dreams no matter what. My mother loved everyone unconditionally and always was willing to help a friend in need. These are qualities I try and emulate in my everyday life.

Cynthia: Have you been to any of the mermaid gatherings?
Natalie: I have! I was honored to be one of the spokesmodels for Merpalooza in Orlando Florida in 2012. We had a fantastic time doing news interviews. I also had a wonderful time meeting so many people in the Mer-community. I had no idea there were so many people interested in mermaids!

Cynthia: Do you have any special stories from your mermaid adventures?
Natalie: I had a really fun experience at a photo shoot in Hawaii. Our first location we were swimming was a pool next to this big waterfall. I met a little girl who's dad was trying to get her to swim. She was a bit unsure of putting her face in the water. I swam over and showed her how a mask worked. And as I swam in the pool the little girl would not take her face out of the water.

A few hours later we were shooting down on the beach. Another little girl walked by and was so astounded there was a mermaid on the beach. She proceeded to collect all the seashells on the beach and came over to give them to me. She asked me all about who my friends were under the sea and if I knew Ariel.

However the moment that really meant the most to me was this one: I was hired to be a “dry” mermaid at an event that ran for a couple weeks in Hollywood.  Towards the end of one the day, when there were not many people around a little girl came up with her family that LOVED mermaids! This little girl however was in a wheel chair and could not get up to the stage where my sitting rock was perched. So I flipped and flopped to the bottom level where she and I would be sitting eye to eye.  We talked for a while about what it was like to be a mermaid and live under the sea. How different waters are different temperatures and what mermaids eat. Then one of her parents came up and mentioned that she had a disease that made it very difficult for her to walk and that is why she was in the wheel chair. They asked if anything difficult had happened to me, and if I had given up.

I could tell her parents were looking for some inspiration to get her motivated to continue to practice walking at home. The little girl continued to tell me how she thought walking was really hard, she could not do it on her own and sometimes it hurt or felt weird.  I told her I knew exactly how she felt. That my dad was A magical king of the sea and he can give me legs to become human. But the silly thing about legs is you don’t just “know” how to walk with them... They feel weird like wiggly seaweed sometimes. I still practice every day... OH, and I fall down a lot! But my friends help me by holding my hands, or I grab onto things, and every day I get a little bit better. Being a human and walking is really hard but I want to be able to walk like a human one day just like how some humans want to swim like a mermaid. I told her that sometimes I even practice walking even when I don’t have legs! Of course she wanted to see and I made her a deal, if I showed her how I practice as a mermaid she should show me how she practices as a human. And we each took turns. Me hopping around as a Mermaid, and her getting out of her wheelchair taking a few steps away and back with the help of her dad.  We both exclaimed how tiring it was, but I told her the more I practiced the easier it got and the less tired I got. She promised to practice.

Closer to the end of the event I saw her dad again. He had come back hoping I would still be there. He thanked me profusely for what I had said to his daughter.  He told me every day she was asking when she could get out of her chair to practice walking like she promised me she would. I didn’t realize how much of an impact I could make on people until this happened.

Cynthia: That's a great story, what else you would like to share with us today?
Natalie: I have known about the Dive Bar in Sacramento for years. It is a bar on K Street where they have a giant fish tank above the bar and Mermaids swimming. I have always wanted to visit, but also swim with these beautiful mermaids. I have been chosen as a finalist in a contest to swim in the tank as a Mermaid. I am so excited!!!! The last day to vote is March 5th and the announcement of the winner is made on my birthday! EEAK! This would be such an amazing experience to meet other mermaids and finally swim at the Dive Bar. I would love if any of your readers would like to check it out. Here is the link.

However if people visit the bar and vote in person, 1 in person vote is equal to 25 Facebook votes. So if you're in the area, stop by for a rest, and ask the bartender for a ballot. Ask the bartender or server for more ways to vote!

For 2013 every month I am releasing a monthly themed mermaid picture on my website and my Facebook page. I love when people comment when they like a new photo creation I have uploaded. I shared my "Frost Mermaid" in January and "Will You Be My Valentine Mermaid?" In February, so expect a new Photo for March!

Cynthia: Thank you very much, Natalie! Readers can connect with Mermaid Natalie at her web site as well as Facebook.

Best wishes and starfishes,
Gold Mermaid Cynthia

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