My life as a MERMAID – Meet Jennifer Elizabeth
(DiverWire) The “mermaid” community continues to grow. Recently high-profile mermaid Jennifer Elizabeth recently wrote a biography for Miss-Scuba.com.
How I first became a ‘mermaid’…well, there is a lot of layers to that. My parents had me in swim classes when I was an infant, so I literally swam before I ever walked. They always wanted feel safe with me growing up around a pool in the backyard. I would always swim after school when I was little. The worst punishment was taking that away from me. My father made me my first mermaid costume when I was 7 years old. I was obsessed with the movie ‘Splash’. The whole reason I wanted to be an actress was so I could be a mermaid in a movie. In my little girl mind, I was gonna be the mermaid daughter in ‘Splash 2’.
Cut to high school and once again I had my dad make me another mermaid costume. I won 1st place with my costume in a mermaid contest on Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey the following year, 1997. A whopping $100! I moved back to Los Angeles in 1998 to pursue acting and later on stunts. Everyone who got to know me, knew quickly how much I loved the water and mermaids. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I created her room to have an underwater feel to it. In 2009, a friend and stunt cooridnator I know had me be a mermaid for her daughters party. I quickly put together my costume.
I have always been annoyed with mermaid costumes, though. Mermaids can’t walk and most costumes look like long skirts and the ones that are super tight make you walk funny. You might as well not walk at all. Suddenly, I had the urge to see if I could find an actual mermaid tail! One that I could swim in….and live out my dream of being a mermaid. Because, clearly, ‘Splash 2’ never happened.
On line I found the Mertailor. A young man in Florida who devotes his life to the mer world and makes the most beautiful tails. I was SOLD and super excited! I sent in my measurements and received my tail a few months later. While I was doing my search, I came across other ‘professional mermaids’ and realized to my delight I could make this into a job! So for the past 4 years I have been a mermaid for parties, events, photo shoots…anything that wants the extra magic for any occasion.
I currently been making my own mermaid tops. I first ordered them along with my tail from the Mertailor. But since I helped my dad make my top in high school, I wanted my mermaid to feel like me, my creation. Authentic!
I am a mermaid because its always been my alter ego and while it gives me a feeling of great fullfillness to be one, I enjoy being it for those that believe in indulging in some whimsical fantasy. Its not only children who find delight, but the few times I have done events or been on location for a shoot as a mermaid, how many adults want their picture and some even share when they were little how they wanted to some type of super hero or even ladies who have always loved mermaids. There is something magical about it, and when I dress up, as crazy as it sounds, I tap into something inside me that feels alive. A complete happiness. When I get to swim in my tail, its the most serene time I am having.
The coolest thing that I want to happen as mermaid, (but hasn’t yet) is to swim in the ocean with actual fish and sea life. No pools, no tanks. Real ocean. It almost happened for a short movie I was going to do off of Santa Catalina but the funds fell through. Other than that, the coolest thing was a photo shoot I did in Malibu and how many people and children started freaking out that a mermaid was on the beach. I became an impromtu dinner show to the people eating at Moonshadows above…I had a semi circle of people around all with their cells phones out….I am pretty sure a few Facebook pages had me on their wall. hahaha!
Sadly, I was not one of the mermaids of the Caribbean. I wasn’t scuba certified yet, since I heard that you had to be…so I was rushing to get that done….only to find out they not only hired girls who were NOT certified but alot of the girls were having trouble with the tails….a small lesson to let you know to still put yourself in the running; especially if you have training in something that most people do not. But I did get to train in scuba; something I always thought about but never got around to it. So I may not have got to be a Caribbean mermaid, but it challenged me and lit the fire for me to get scuba certified. So now, whatever movie, tv, comes along that needs a mermaid. I will be ready.
My eyes are set on the ABC television show, “Once Upon a Time”. They are planning to use the character Ariel, and even though I am not a name actress, maybe I could be her ‘mermaid’ stunt double!
Originally published on Miss-Scuba.com