by Rebecca Parsons
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor? Fireman? Pro surfer? Astronaut? How about a mermaid? This actually is not as far-fetched of a dream as it may seem. Being a professional mermaid is a career that not only exists, but is one you can actually be successful in. We got the chance to sit down with a real life mermaid and hear what it’s like living life with a tail. Here, Mermaid Linden tells us her story.
Tell us about your background.
From the time I was walking I was swimming. I was obsessed with the water from a young age. I would watch PBS and wildlife documentaries with Jacque Cousteau and just awe over underwater world. I was captivated by it. I also really enjoyed painting, drawing, photography, and shooting video. I would steal my parents camera and take pictures. It seemed to kind of just melt into this idea that maybe I should make wildlife documentaries; maybe that’s what I’m supposed to. I went to film school at Emerson College with the idea of creating underwater documentaries.
What inspired you to pursue a career as a mermaid?
As soon as I saved up enough money I got certified for scuba diving, a lifelong dream. I cried underwater the first time I dove, it was so awesome. Shortly thereafter I found out about the sport of freediving. It was the coolest thing in the world and something that thought I might actually excel at. So I started training. I traveled to Grand Cayman to film an underwater documentary about freediving and for the first time asked one of the athletes if I could try on their monofin. The moment I put that thing on I felt so empowered. I’d never moved so quickly through the water and I felt like a mermaid. And then it dawned on me: if I want to educate people about the ocean maybe this is a really unique and fun way to do it. What if I were a mermaid teaching about the ocean?
How did you first start your company?
I had this dream to have a mermaid tail but I had no idea how to begin. But when you really set your mind to something things do line up, the stars do align, and the universe provides what you need. Sure enough, a friend of mine from Emerson knew I was doing underwater production and he met this guy, Allan, who wanted to do an underwater music video. He was a special effect guy. Through a series of magical events the funding came into place. The special effects artist showed up in my life and was enthusiastic about the project, and for seven months Allen and I created my first silicon tale which was 35 pounds. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done to date. Along the road of making that tail I was making a website, learning web design, creating a business model for something in which there was no business model, and was trying to find ways to market myself; there was so much to it. It’s been a really crazy, challenging, long-term adventure to get to where I am right now.
What kind of events do you do?
‘Edutainment,’ where education meets entertainment, is my passion. I ‘edutain’ at aquariums, non-profits and charity events for adults and children alike. And I get to do really fun things on the side like private parties with celebrities; those are just the fun little side things that keep the bread and butter going.
Tell us about your YouTube series, Mermaid Minute?
I think of most of my best ideas when I’m shampooing my hair. I have this theory that I’m massaging my brain and it goes ooohh that feels good, here’s an idea. That’s how I thought of Mermaid Minute. Mermaid Minute itself is a one minute episode about a subject in the ocean. It can be a creature, a phenomenon, a habitat, or a conservation message, but usually it’s about an ocean creature.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
That’s so hard. Everyday is the highlight. Swimming with whale sharks—being in the ocean and freediving with these amazing creatures and being as one with them— is incredible. But seeing the look on a child’s face when they walk in and see what they believe is a true and real mermaid is probably the most precious and magical thing that almost always brings tears to my eyes. Uploading a video that I know might change someone’s view about our oceans and help save one more coral reef or one more species, is an amazing highlight. Doing events with Make-A-Wish Foundation. It’s just the most fulfilling job I could ever imagine having.
How long can you hold your breath?
I can hold my breath for just over 5 minutes and dive down to 115 feet and back up on a single breath.
Where do you see your career taking you in the future?
I’m so excited because it keeps evolving in ways I never even dreamed. I have partnered with Body Glove and they have allowed me to design an entire line of children’s swim products that are mermaid inspired. Monofins are the cornerstone of the swim line. I continue with my web series and have the dream of going network with that or to Netflix—having an actual 30-minute format show for children that’s edutainment inspired about the ocean. I can’t even begin to dream or imagine fully what the potential for the continuation of my career is. A good friend of mine always says that luck is opportunity meeting preparedness. The world is full of opportunities and I feel I am very prepared.