Thank you all for swimming by! Today, we have the pleasure of chatting with Merman Christian from Maryland, USA. Christian is already making a splash in the mer world, and I would like to introduce you to him now.
Christian: Well my real name is Chris O'Brocki, but I'm also known as 'CHRISTIAN', and I'm from the Baltimore area, but I'm a lot closer to Pasadena, which is more near the water- very convenient for a Merman haha! I'm an active staple in the film business and have been for the past several years, mostly independent work but I've had my share of major studio work as well. When I was in high school I majored in theater, but my other BIG major was Marine Biology. Ever since I was a kid everything was always about sharks, rays, whales, dolphins, starfish, and of course... MERMAIDS. I watched Splash and The Little Mermaid so much I wore out my VHS tapes, so thank God for DVD and BLU-RAY!
Cynthia: How did you first become a merman?
Christian: Well, going along with my answer to the prior question, my love for the ocean really started when I was little. I would spend hours in the pool and tub with all my rubber shark and whale toys imaging I was part of their world too. I would always beg my mom to take me to the aquarium, and when my family went to the beach every summer for vacation, they could never get me off of it! Now that I'm older, Mermaids came back into my life a couple years ago when I started making my own monofins. That's when I discovered the whole Mer-community and saw how passionate others were just as much as I was, only they took it a step further and were professional mermaids or mermen. It was about a year ago when I decided that I was finally going to take that step too, but I also wanted to do it to gain awareness about keeping our oceans clean, something I believe people don't care about as much as they used to anymore. I'm in love with the Caribbean, but the Chesapeake is my real home and I want to do my part to make it better, so here I am!
Cynthia: I hear that you created your own tail. Tell us about the design and the details you chose.
Christian: I DID make my own tail! Well when it came down to the design, I looked to the design of Daryl Hannah's famous tail in Splash, the extra fins, the awesome blend of colors, and the fluke design. I'm kind of obsessed with that shape, but there are a couple different ways I've seen it done, so the fluke on THIS tail is a blend of Splash and a Lyretail fish, and of course I had to have extra fins on it. When it came down to the colors, I must have gone through at least 5 different schemes and blends until I finally did this one and thought to myself 'THAT'S IT!' Plus like I said before, I love the Caribbean and tropical colors so all of my future tails will have those elements. The tail itself is made from Neoprene and the fins and fluke are from a special material mixed with silicone, which I cant share that secret, haha.
Cynthia: You are friends with Mermaid Marla. Has she inspired you in any way?
|Christian and Marla|
Christian: She sure has! Marla is just great, plain and simple. I had actually been a fan of her work and been following her online for quite a while, but we first became friends when I commented on a picture on her Facebook page and then later on she sent me a message on mine and once I found out she had moved to Maryland, a Mer meet-up was on! I got to meet her and her husband recently, and we ended up doing a surprise photo shoot right there at the Baltimore Inner Harbor. It was my first time doing one as a merman and they both made me feel so relaxed and comfortable. She has been at this for a long time and she's definitely an inspiration to me to keep chasing this dream no matter what age I am, or any obstacle that comes my way, I'm just going to hold my tail high and keep swimming. Plus she has swam with Whale Sharks and that has been on my bucket list even before I got a tail!
Cynthia: Do you currently work or perform as a merman? If not, do you have plans to?
Christian: The only work I've done so far has been for print and video, but I am trying very hard to bring Merpeople to the National Aquarium here in Baltimore. I've made friends with most of the divers and they said once I get certified, then I can join them in the tank, tail and all. I think it would be a great addition to what we're all about at the Aquarium, and what better to educate people about environmental conservation than a Merperson?
Cynthia: Tell us about your work to save the environment and the oceans?
Christian: In addition to me being a spokesperson and symbol for the Chesapeake Bay, I'm also part of the ACT program at the national aquarium. We go out and clean up the tidal marshes and beaches, re-plant trees, pick up anything that is recyclable or that just doesn't need to be there. I also would like to attend some watershed meetings and do some charity events. I would also like to see that marine animals aren't mistreated when they are in captivity. I'm not against animal attraction parks, like I enjoy them quite a lot, and I believe in rescuing an injured animal from the wild and helping it get back on its feet and releasing it back to its home, which is what we do at the aquarium, but I've never been crazy about orcas being in tanks for performing purposes. Dolphins are one thing, but killer whales are far too big and their behavior can be unpredictable at times. I don't blame the trainers at all, it's not their fault, they're just trying to help and educate others about these beautiful animals, but I think after a certain amount of time its time to let go and let them go. I mean how would you like to sit in a bathtub for 20 years?
Christian: Well I do enjoy taking my sailboat out on a day off, which I don't have many of those haha, and I also like to write screenplays. I have some ideas for a couple shark movies and some pretty crazy horror movies, because they've always been my favorite. Sometimes I'll embrace my inner geek and attend some horror conventions or get asked to be a guest. They're so much fun, I highly recommend them!
Cynthia: Do you have any special or amusing stories from your merman adventures?
Christian: Well I haven't had too many yet, but I'm going to change that. The most special one so far was meeting Mermaid Marla and her husband. It was a fun and perfect day. We have this tourist thing at the harbor called URBAN PIRATES and its basically a pirate ship that gives tours for kids and adults, and it takes you out for a cruise and they treat you like you really are a pirate. Anyway it just happened to be sailing by when Marla and I were on the dock having the photo shoot. EVERYONE on that boat started freaking out and taking pictures and calling out to us. It was so fun and funny!
Cynthia: What else you would like to share with us today?
Christian: I guess what I will leave you with is that any dream can be a reality no matter what your age, but the key is to never give up on it. We all have set-backs and bad things happen to us, I know I sure did, but I looked past that into what I wanted my future to be with this new exciting dream, and so far its definitely paying off. You can be a mermaid or merman even without a tail, its whats in your heart and what you choose to do with it.
Cynthia: Thank you so much, Christian, for chatting with us today. I am looking forward to hearing about your future adventures. Readers can follow the adventures of Merman Christian on Facebook.
Best wishes and starfishes,
cynthia (at) goldmermaid.com