‘My wife and I are mermaids: this is why you shouldn’t let fear stop you following your dreams’

Harleen is a Black non-binary mermaid who wants other people to enjoy living out their own fantasies.

The avid swimmer has been a mermaid for more than 10 years and said they were at first uncertain about swimming with a tail.

“When I first put on the tail, I was uncertain about myself. But then getting into the water, I felt I was from some fantasy and I was living my magical mermaid life,” they said.

“A lot of people think it’s as simple as you just throw on a tail and that’s it.”

Harleen is quick to tell any sceptics that being a mermaid is a full-time career. “I’ve received a lot of confusion. I’ve received a lot of uncertainty. I say: ‘I’m a professional mermaid’, and they say, ‘Oh, well, it’s a fun little weekend job that won’t last more than a year or two’.

“Then I [tell them] I’ve been doing this for 10 years and they go: ‘Oh, it must be nice to not, you know, have a real job’. But it is a real job.”

Real or not, being a mermaid doesn’t come cheap.

“I’ve dropped $25,000 (£20,000) into mermaiding,” Harlane revealed. “From the tails themselves, to the makeup, to the tail care, the certifications, the body and skincare, because [it] does wear your body out. It is difficult, tails weigh anywhere from 21lb (9.5kg) to 60lb (27kg).”

In response to being accepted into the mermaid community, Harlane said they don’t consider themselves to be part of it “because I don’t typically follow the very princessy-type viewpoints that the mermaid community tends to have”.

Harlane went on to say: “There aren’t a lot of Black mermaids. As far as I’ve seen, I’m the only Black-owned mermaid company that also caters to diversity. We have disabled mermaids, we have different types of mermaids skin-colour wise.

“I get a lot of people asking, you know, the stereotypical questions” ‘Are you a guy?’, Are you a girl?’ I’ve had rumours spread about what I do have, what I don’t have.

“Honestly, at this point, it doesn’t bother much any more. I am proud to be non-binary and I’m happy about where I fall on that spectrum and that’s just me.”

Throughout their career, Harleen has been supported by their wife. “[She] is amazing. We’ve been married for quite some time and I love her so much. She has been my support and my backbone,” they said.

“She was actually already a mermaid at this established restaurant that had mermaids. So, I walked in and she was actually the one who hired me on and we realised we had great chemistry. She’s been my mermaid ever since.

“For anyone out there who’s afraid, scared, to do something that’s otherwise seen as childish or unique to the market, take the step, do it. Fear shouldn’t stop us, fear should drive us.”

Please login or register to comment on this story.