Monday, September 30, 2013

Mermaid Ondine of Merlesque

Today we travel to England for a chat with Mermaid Ondine of Merlesque Mermaids. Merlesque also includes Mermaid Lorelei and Mermaid Melusine, and they each bring their unique talents to the group. Let's give Mermaid Ondine a warm welcome! And, after the interview, I have a music video to share with you from another UK resident.

Cynthia: Thank you for the chance to chat with you today! Please tell us a little about yourself, Ondine.
Ondine: My name is Mairead Kelly, a.k.a. Mermaid Ondine (upper right in photo). I grew up in Kent, England, and went on to study at Cambridge University - I loved the town, so I stayed. Now I work as an accountant by day, and a professional mermaid by night.

Cynthia: How did you come to found Merlesque?
Ondine: I met Frankie (a.k.a. Mermaid Lorelei - lower right in photo) at Cambridge University where we both studied Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic. After graduating, we stayed in touch and met Demelza (a.k.a. Mermaid Melusine - on left in photo). The inspiration for Merlesque came from Demelza. She's always had a fascination with mermaids, and when she studied art at university her final project centered around depictions of mermaids in different cultures. Through her research for the project she came across international mermaid performers like Hannah Fraser, and she pointed out to us that there was a real gap in the market for mermaids in the UK. She didn't have to work hard to persuade us - Frankie and I were completely enchanted with the idea, and so Merlesque was born!

Merlesque was quite a long time in incubation; it was over a year from our first meeting to our first gig. We took a lot of time to do masses of research on professional mermaids first - everything from finding out more about monofins to looking into the best aquarium-safe glue for costumes. With the exception of our swimming tails, we make all our costumes ourselves, so there was a lot of sequin-sewing to be done before we were ready to launch. We also spent plenty of time training ourselves to swim in monofins - we've definitely surprised a few people at the pool!

I've always loved swimming - when I was a child, whenever we went on holiday somewhere warm with a pool, I was always the last one out of the water, no matter how wrinkly it made me! I got back into swimming a couple of years ago when I was suffering from a pituitary tumor that affected my heart - basically my heart rate was constantly really fast so I could only do the most gentle exercise, which meant that I got into swimming again. After having had my first surgery, I'd been able to be more active and took up dancing, so swimming had fallen by the wayside a little - but the idea of learning to swim as a professional mermaid and performing underwater definitely appealed to me. It was a completely new type of challenge.

Cynthia: What's it like being a professional mermaid in the UK? What kind of performances do you participate in?
Ondine: Inevitably, being a professional mermaid in the UK is different to working somewhere hot and sunny like Florida or Australia - the climate is definitely more of a challenge here. There are a few other professional mermaids who are active in England and around the UK, but it's far less common than in the US. One of our mermaids, Frankie, has done a photo shoot on an English beach at sunrise - the photos are beautiful but she was freezing cold the whole time!

Although we do travel internationally to sunnier climes, we've also developed some indoor and non-water-based acts for Merlesque in the UK, to work around the weather - our acts range from providing atmosphere at a burlesque night, to a musical act, to mermaid-themed kids parties both in and out of swimming pools. We're currently working on yet more acts and we're hoping to have mermaid fire performance, aerial performance and a cabaret act launching in the near future.

Cynthia: Tell us all about your events for children.
Ondine: Working with kids is always magical - they're so amazed to see a real mermaid! We do kids' parties both in swimming pools and on land, and of course we also tend to attract a lot of attention from children at family events. It's great to ignite their curiosity and answer their questions about life under the sea.

The excitement definitely manifests in different ways for different children; some just come up straight away for a chat, while others are more shy at first. There are all sorts of fun mermaidy games to play in swimming pools - mermaid races are always popular - and on land we can also run mermaid-themed craft activities, face-painting, and even give kids the chance to dress up as a real mermaid and have their photo taken.  We also work alongside other performance companies, so we can even arrange for circus performers or other children's entertainers to perform alongside our mermaids.

I also think that swimming alongside a mermaid, even in a shallow paddling pool, is a brilliant way for kids who are less confident in the water to come to see swimming as something fun and exciting.

Cynthia: What about events for grown-ups?
Ondine: Adults are often just as excited as kids to see a real-life mermaid! When performing at events, the Merlesque mermaids always provide a hugely popular photo opportunity - everyone wants to get their picture taken with a mermaid, and frequently to ask us a few strange questions as well. We've performed at all sorts of different events for grown-ups, from appearing in a bathtub full of glitter at a stately home, to serving drinks and cheeky mermaid limericks at a burlesque and cabaret supper club.

Cynthia: Other than performing, what's involved in being a professional mermaid?
Ondine: A lot of work goes on behind the scenes that people don't necessarily see! For instance, costume-making; we have different costumes for land-based gigs and swimming gigs, and although we buy our swimming tails, everything else is hand-made by our mermaids, from our glittery land tails to our shell-encrusted tiaras. We're always working on developing new acts, arranging photo shoots or filming, and planning for the future of Merlesque.

Cynthia: Do you enjoy working as a group?
Ondine: I think working as a trio is a real advantage; it gives us increased availability for gigs, and we also each bring different areas of expertise to the company; for instance, Demelza is our graphics whiz, while Frankie has experience of running other performance companies, which comes in very useful. Fortunately we get along well and we always enjoy working together at gigs.

Cynthia: What do you enjoy doing when you are not mermaiding?
Ondine: We're all pretty busy outside our work with Merlesque! Frankie/Mermaid Lorelei is a professional aerialist and performer, and Demelza/Mermaid Melusince is a professional belly dancer. I'm currently studying for my final exams to qualify as a chartered accountant, as well as working as an accountant. I also run the Merlesque Twitter account, which features a lot of very bad mermaid puns ("Did you hear about the mermaid with a transparent tail? It was a sheer fluke"), so even when I'm not mermaiding I'm usually racking my brains trying to think of more jokes for the account (any suggestions are gratefully received!).

Cynthia: What else you would like to share with us?
Ondine: We're really excited to be expanding mermaid performance as an act in the UK! We'd love to hear from any of your readers, especially other mermaid fans in the UK, so please do get in touch through Facebook or Twitter (@GrumpyMermaid) or via our web site.

Cynthia: Thank you very much, Ondine. Best wishes to you and Merlesque for many more years of mermaid fun!

Siren, a Music Video

Tanya Seifert is a singer and songwriter who loves mermaids and all things mystical. She has recently released her latest music video entitled Siren. In it, she is a seductive mermaid that lures men to their demise. This is the darker side of mermaid lore.

The music video can be found on YouTube. Here are a few words from Tanya...
I am a singer from London, England. I have been singing for 8 years and write all my own songs. I've always been fascinated by myths and legends and love to incorporate them into my music. Mermaids are such beautiful and mystical creatures but people often forget that there is also a darker side to them... The Siren. She lures men to their demise with her voice and beauty and in my song 'Siren' she is also a metaphor for the femme fatal, a woman who uses her beauty and sweet words to manipulate men into giving them what she wants and then leaving them.
The song was written by me, produced by Sky Adams and features rapper Eek who speaks about the torment he willingly suffers at the hands of this beautiful siren. The video was directed and produced by Gavin and Zoe of Fry Films who captured the essence of the song perfectly and really brought it to life! I hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it.
Thank you for sharing your video with us, Tanya! You can connect with Tanya at Facebook and Twitter.

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

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mermaid Sightings

In an article by Daniel Cameron for The Epoch Times, we once again ponder the question, Are mermaids real? The article is said to contain ten credible mermaid sightings, a few of which also include videos.

The first story is from Israel, and one we have looked at before. This video appears to be cleaner than the one we saw previously. Might it be a girl that made herself a tail? Would one of us move like that?

The second story features marine geologist, Dr. Torsten Schmidt. His story ended up on the Animal Planet special, Mermaids: The New Evidence. This tends to make the story less credible in my book.

Shark Tracking

Meet Beamer, a Blue Shark, and Rizzilient, a Mako Shark. They are just two of the 47 sharks you can track at the Ocearch Global Shark Tracker web site. When you click on one of the shark pings on the map, you are presented with a photo of the shark as well as when and where they were tagged.

A shark that was tagged near Cape Cod is now hanging around the east coast of Florida.

View the current positions of the sharks, or tracking activity over time. Can you find Cyndi?

The web site also contains an answer to the question, "Why help sharks?" Be sure to take a look!

You can help Ocearch track more sharks by making a donation.

Facts and Legends

Mermaids & Mermen: Facts & Legends, the title says it all. This is an article by Benjamin Radford for LiveScience.

"Mermaids have long fascinated us. Humans have always wondered what it would be like to fly high above the clouds or dive deep into the briny seas."

We all enjoy reading the legends of mermaids and mermen. You've come to the right place.

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

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Monday, September 16, 2013

The Twilight Swimmer

This week, I am very pleased to be able to introduce you to The Twilight Swimmer, a young-adult novel by A C Kavich. The title is available on Amazon and Amazon UK, and the Kindle version of the novel will be available for free from 9/16/13 to 9/20/13.

"Night after night, sixteen-year-old Brandi Vine is drawn to a rocky New England beach. The very spot where her sister's lifeless body washed ashore after a night spent swimming alone. Brandi mourns beside the cold water, unaware of the haunting gray eyes watching her from beneath the waves... Brandi soon yields herself to a forbidden romance with the young man beneath the water, the only one who can unlock the mystery of her sister's final swim."

I hope you will enjoy reading this novel as much as I am.

Mako Mermaids Update

On Sunday, September 15th, Netflix released the remaining 13 episodes of Mako Mermaids season one. The second half opens with school principal Rita risking exposure as a mermaid.

What do you think of Mako Mermaids? The show appears to have quite a following with mermaid fans, and my original blog post on the show continues to receive more views than any other individual post.

Send me your comments on the show at the email address below, positive or negative, and I will share them with my readers.

Mermaid Swim Fin

When your young one tells you she wants to learn to swim like a mermaid, this Mermaid Swim Fin may be just the thing. The swim fin is actually a small mono-fin, comes in pink or purple, and fits children's sizes 1 to 7. The fin is manufactured by Finis, THE name in mono-fins.

San Marcos Mermaids

Blogger Gerard Vlemmings, otherwise known as The Presurfer, brings to our attention an article in Collector's Weekly, "The Real Mermaids of San Marcos, Texas."

The Aquarena in San Marcos is no longer a reality, though residents remember it fondly. Get your 'Daily Dose of Diversion' in this little bit of Texas history.

SL Mermaid Dances

The merfolk of Second Life (SL) love music, and they love to dance. The photo below is from a recent mermaid dance which is held on a weekly basis. If you are a mermaid or merman in the virtual world of Second Life, watch for event notices in the popular mermaid groups. For those that are not yet a member of an SL mermaid group, send me an email and I will suggest ones you can join.

Mermaid fans that haven't tried Second Life can get more information at as well as my first blog post on the subject.  Click the image to see it full-size.

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

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Undersea Hotels

Looking for the perfect hotel for your vacation? Yahoo Travel and CNN Money have just what you need. A recent article by Julianne Pepitone explores six undersea hotels around the globe.

While a number of these undersea hotels are still in the planning stages, a few already exist.

A perfect place for a mermaid to relax at the end of the day, but would one be able to afford to stay there?

Dragon Con Cos-play

The web site EPBOT is all about Geekery, Girliness, and Goofing Off. In a recent post, Jen shares a number of great photos from Dragon Con. Number one on the list is a mermaid known as Christie.

Other notable photos from the collection include Kermit, Oscar The Grouch, Wonder Woman, Disney princesses, and a grumpy Tink. And, this is only part one!

Great collection, Jen! Looking forward to seeing part two.

The Bobbit Worm

If you are reading this blog post in bed, you should probably skip this topic. Just sayin'.

Matt Simon's Absurd Creature of the Week is going to be hard to beat... and equally hard to forget. The 10-foot Bobbit Worm has Matt's vote as the ocean's most disturbing predator.

"If you survive initially, you get to find out what it’s like to be yanked into the worm’s burrow and into untold nightmares."

Brace yourself, and then check out Matt's article in the Science section of Wired.

League of Mermaids

The younger mermaids in the audience may want to check out the new game League of Mermaids, which has recently been released for the iPhone.

"The new game is a puzzle title where players advance through increasingly difficult challenges."

I was planning on talking about this game earlier, but the title could not be found in the App Store when this related article by William Usher came out at iPhone Informer. You should be able to find it now.

Too Much Love

Copenhagen's Little Mermaid statue is well known throughout the world. Recently, Kazakhstan unveiled their own mermaid statue in the city of Pavlodar. Everyone loved the new statue.

Is there such a thing as too much love? The mermaid thinks so. After only two weeks, the statue had to be taken down for repairs.

"She was particularly popular with newly-weds who insisted on having themselves photographed in front of the statue."

Check out the whole story in this article from BBC Elsewhere.

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

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Once a Mermaid

This week, Yahoo Screen presents a video on the mermaids of Weeki Wachee State Park in Florida. The video talks about how the mermaid shows got started, and how the park has changed over the years. We meet several mermaids in the process, and witness the delight on the visitors' faces when the curtain opens and the mermaids appear.

"Once a mermaid, always a mermaid."

The video is a great introduction to the park for those of us that have not been able to attend in person.

This just in: During August, seven former mermaids returned to Weeki Wachee to perform before a packed audience. Read the full story over at TBO.

Mermaid Leggings

There IS something fishy going on here. A chance to show your mermaid side when on land in these mermaid leggings by Solilor.

"If your fella is totally obsessed with fishing, this may just be a great way to get his attention off rod and reel and back on you."

Laurie Kay Olson has the details at InventorSpot. The leggings are currently on sale for $15.99 at Amazon, but the one-size may not fit all.

Mosaic Mermaids

We turn our attention now to the west coast of the US, where mosaic mermaids adorn a Los Angeles gas station. The Glass Art section of Craft Gossip has the details in an article by Cathi Milligan.

Mermaid Shampoo

Our friends over at Mermaid Perfume are now offering Mermaid Shampoo and Conditioner. The price is $35 each, or you can get the shampoo and conditioner as a set for $60.

"Orange blossom flowers & coconut. Sulfate free, all natural, all hair types."

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

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