Bank worker reveals why she spends all her free time dressed as a mermaid
For many years, superstitious sailors travelling the high seas would tell tall tales about the mythical mermaids they'd seen on their voyages. These legendary daughters of Neptune were supposedly half-women half-fish creatures, who would try to tempt men into the ocean. Most people have dismissed stories of mermaids as being the result of too much rum and overactive imaginations. But I can now reveal that mermaids do in fact exist. What's more, one of them lives in Reading, England, and works in a bank when she's not making a splash.
Okay, so maybe she's not a real mermaid. But she is one in her spare time. Caitlin Hardy is a bank worker with an enduring love of the Little Mermaid who wanted to become one in real life. She attended four-day long course at a 'mermaid camp' at a private mansion with a pool, where she met with other fans of this usual hobby. There she was given an artificial fishy tail made out of polyamide and Lycra, and was taught how to swim in it.
Now she earns £100 an hour (approximately $128) playing the part of her mermaid alter-ego Liana Waterfall at parties. Caitlin is one of many people who have taken up 'mermaiding' - and there are even mermaid pageants nowadays, where cosplayers are judged on their costumes and swimming techniques. Caitlin herself was inspired by a video of mermaid Grace Page, who won the first Miss Mermaid UK pageant back in 2016.
Commenting on her newfound hobby, Caitlin stated: "As part of the package, you get given a tail. There was a tail giving ceremony, where we all got our chosen tail. They are made of material like a swimsuit with a hard monofin at the bottom ... I still have a nine to five job that pays the bills. It’s very different, as I work in a bank, which is a very straight, office-style setting. I do let little bits of my mermaid side come out sometimes though and people are surprised. I have quite long hair and people will comment on it and I say, ‘Thank you, it’s a powerful weapon as a mermaid,’ which normally starts a conversation."
As it turns out, being a mermaid is a lot more hard work than you might think. Instead of longing about the poolside, Caitlin has to practice her swimming every week, training with monofins instead of her tail, and she recently passed her AIDA free-diving qualification, which means that she can breath underwater for two minutes unaided.
Caitlin believes that her mermaid persona has given her a newfound sense of confidence, stating: "I don’t think I’ve ever felt so good about my body – you lose sight of any lumps and bumps when you see how graceful you look with a tail. It’s made my confidence soar. I’ve always been a water baby. I loved the little mermaid when I was younger. When I was about three, I told everyone I wanted to be a mermaid but the adults around me just laughed about it.
She added: "Now my mum loves telling them that I actually am one. I am living my childhood dream. People seem to think everyone who does this as a hobby is a bit eccentric, but of course we know we aren’t actual mermaids! Mermaid Liana Waterfall is just another side of me that I love, but most of the time I’m just plain Caitlin, who works in a bank!”
If you'd like to hire Caitlin for an event, and have a real-life mermaid at a party, then you can check out her official website here for more information.