What it's like to be a professional mermaid making $45,000

Rose Medina makes around $45,000 a year as a professional mermaid who swims and performs at events — and there's a lot that goes into making the fantasy come to life. 

© Provided by Business Insider Inc 13937855_10208519415995690_3748288709928476109_o

By Katie Warren, INSIDER

Rose Medina used to teach about marine mammals at the New York Aquarium. Now, she makes a living as a marine creature — at least, a mythical one.  For the past eight years,
Medina has made a career as a professional mermaid.

[post_ads]It all started when one of her lungs collapsed in 2005. After the health scare, Medina took up swimming to help heal and recover. When a friend recommended she wear fins to make swimming easier, Medina came across mono fins and discovered the unspoken career of professional mermaids.

"I was like, what is this all about? And I started to research about mermaids and stuff and what they did and watched videos," Medina told INSIDER.  "I said to myself, 'You know, they do some amazing things and they bring smiles to kids' faces and they're enjoying what they do, so I can definitely do this.'"
Medina "performs" at children's birthday parties, promotional events, and more — and makes up to $800 per event.

Medina, whose working name of "Mermaid Lanai" is inspired by a Hawaiian island, offers different event packages for varying prices.

"When I started mermaiding, I did it as a hobby," Medina said. "But when I did professionally, I started with a few references. So when I started making money it started at maybe $100 to $150 per event, depending on what it was."

Now, she charges between $200 and $800 per event.

"The last party I did was $325, and that was for a wet-and-dry event because I can get in the pool and swim with the kids for an hour to two hours," she said. "And then an hour out of the water dressed up, when we sing the birthday song and play games."

At a private event last summer, she made $800 plus a tip.

Medina told INSIDER that she's been making around $45,000 a year mermaiding.

Her tail cost $3,200 — just one of the many costs of being a mermaid.

Medina's current mermaid tail — her third — was custom made by the company Got Mermaid for $3,200. It weighs 40 pounds.

"The first tail I had done was a tail from a company called Fish Butts and I think it cost me like $200," she said. 

That first tail was made of latex, but Medina worked her way up to a full platinum silicone tail, which is what she has now.
Her husband designed the tail based on her color and style preferences. "I'm technically supposed to be a pelagic mermaid, so I'm supposed to be a mid-water type of mermaid," Medina said. "Out here we have humpback whales and we have sharks, so I said I wanted a modified humpback whale fluke. In the front I look like a princess, like it's nice and pretty. And in the back I have spines and dorsal fins and tattered fins and stuff. That's my look."

Got Mermaid is in the process of making her second tail right now, which Medina said is going to be pink, gold, and blue.

But there's more to achieving the mermaid look than just the tail. Medina spends up to $275 for each mermaid top and at least $100 for a decorative headpiece. Her makeup, which she likes to buy from Kat Von D, costs her between $150 and $200 every two months.

"You got to make the makeup waterproof and you have to make sure it looks right," Medina said. "I have a specific look for certain things."

Then there are the party favors and accessories that she hands out to children.

"I'll give out wishing stones, and coins and different things," she said. "If the parents request something different, I'll have it in my treasure chest for the kids."

Medina also spends about $250 per year on performer's insurance.
To get her mermaid business up and running, Medina estimates that she initially spent about $8,000.

"I think I spent about $8,000 just starting and that doesn't include performer's insurance and classes for CPR, free diving and all of that," she said.

Medina is certified in CPR and also in free diving, which is diving under (often deep) water without a breathing apparatus. These certifications aren't required to become a professional mermaid, but getting them doesn't hurt, she said.

"It's highly recommended to have proper swimming skills and to be able to hold your breath longer than a minute," Medina said. "You want to get that look down pat, and if you're doing underwater performances, it is kind of recommended."

During her performances, Medina twirls around in the water and even does front flips.

"Underwater, on a good breath, I can hold [my breath] for three, three-and-a-half minutes, depending," she said.
The transformation from human to mermaid takes a lot of work.

"I love Kat Von D products like you wouldn't believe," Medina said. "And I'll do my hair and then I have a flower, a beautiful fabric flower, which matches my tail."

On the way to the event, she'll review the client's information and specific tidbits she wants to remember about the child.

"I'll ask the parents, 'What is your child's favorite color? Does she have a pet?'" Medina said. "Something like that will give the child an instant connection."

Medina also connects with the children by telling them fantastical stories about her "ocean friends" — and the kids will often tell her their own stories.

"They'll tell me stories about mermaids and princesses, unicorns and stuff, and it's fun," Medina said. "To watch these kids light up is the reason that I do this job."

And believe it or not, mermaids are quite in-demand.

Medina keeps especially busy during the months of April through January.
"I've done 35 events in the past couple of months," she said. "I've done parties and I just did two major events for Time Out Kids and Time Out New York at the National Geographic Exhibit." 
The kids don't always know how to react.

The older children are almost always immediately excited to see Medina.

"I can tell you about 15 times in the past couple of months I've been tackle-hugged by kids that are just so excited to see a mermaid," she said. "I love that."

But the younger ones can sometimes be a bit nervous.

"A lot of them were just in awe because there's an eight-foot mermaid in front of them. But after a while, they just warm up to me. I'll talk to them and they start to come closer, and I'll talk to them again and try to gain their trust."
Medina still remembers the day she decided being a professional mermaid was the career for her.

During a mermaid meetup at the beach, a little girl came up to her and asked about her tail.

"She wanted to play with me and she saw me in tail, and I talked to her and I played with her," Medina said.

Afterward, the girl's mother came over to speak to Medina.

"She came over to me in tears and said, 'Thank you so much for making my daughter's day special,'" Medina recalled. "'Today is her birthday and we couldn't give her anything so we brought her to the beach.'"

The woman gave Medina her number and said to let her know when she started doing parties.

"And that just kind of kicked everything off for me," Medina said.

That first party she did for free, but she gained so many references from the mother that she was able to kick-start her career.
Medina's most memorable event was a proposal in Central Park.

Once while she was working an event, a man approached her and asked if she would help him propose to his girlfriend in Central Park.

Medina put on mermaid attire and perched herself on a rock in the lake. Her assistant brought a camera so it would look like they were doing a photo shoot.

Nearby, the man proposed to his girlfriend — but he pretended he had lost the ring.

"He's like the best actor because he was looking for the ring and he's like, 'Oh no,'" Medina said.

Michael Kelley/Business Insider

Medina looked over at the couple and asked if everything was OK.

"And the girl looks at me in shock and she says, 'You're a mermaid!'" she said. "And I'm like, 'Yeah, I'm doing a photo shoot.' And the guy's like, 'I just proposed to her and I lost the wedding ring.'"

Medina offered to "help" and brought out an abalone shell with the ring inside it, which she passed to the man so he could give it to his girlfriend.

"It was the best," Medina said. "They actually got married on my birthday last year."
Medina is also an active part of the mermaid community.

From the annual Mermaid Parade at Coney Island in New York City to a mermaid convention in North Carolina, Medina keeps up with her finned friends.
Medina and the other working mermaids she knows have formed a partnership to ensure that they're all paid fairly.

"I'll tell the girls, 'Listen, don't charge less than you're worth,'" she said. "Because you've got to remember that we're dealing with children and we're dealing with people. You have to factor in traffic, how far you go, the materials you spend, accessories and things for the kids."

Medina hopes that her mermaid career will eventually expand into something even more meaningful.

"I hope to one day work at an aquarium as well as be an ambassador in education to teach future generations on how to conserve our planet," she said.

Related: 9 mermaid beach accessories, because we are doing this summer right [Provided by Hello Giggles]


Note: If you think this story need more information or correction, feel free to comment below your opinion and reaction.

Business,796,Career,18,Investing,36,Markets,33,News,653,Personal Finance,18,Real Estate,20,Small Business,36,
Business News: What it's like to be a professional mermaid making $45,000
What it's like to be a professional mermaid making $45,000
Rose Medina makes around $45,000 a year as a professional mermaid who swims and performs at events — and there's a lot that goes into making the fantasy come to life.
Business News
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Read More Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share. STEP 2: Click the link you shared to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy