Hannah Fraser, Professional Mermaid, Artist, Activist
and Model - August 2017
Fraser official website
and how did you discover your artistic streak?
been artistic since I was a tiny child. My mother
was very artistic and as I was growing up she engaged
me in lots of fun play with stories, paint, pottery,
calligraphy, creative writing and dress ups. I excelled
at drawing and spent endless hours creating fantasy
worlds of mermaids and fairies.
When did you first become interested in Mermaids,
and what was the point where you knew you wanted to
incorporate much of your life and career around mermaid
culture and the like?
soon as I could draw stick figures, they had tails!
I was always fascinated by the idea of beautiful maidens
living in the sea, riding the waves and living one
with the ocean! As a kid I naturally swam With my
legs together and felt totally comfortable underwater.
I used to go to the library to research where I could
find mermaids in real life! I was so frustrated that
no-one seemed to be able to tell me. When I was 9
years old saw the film 'SPLASH' starring Daryl Hannah
as the mermaid, and it blew my mind! It was the first
time I realized that it was possible to make my dream
of being a mermaid happen in real life.
realized it was my dream to have a tail too, and created
my first mermaid tail with the help of my artistic
and supportive mother.
in life I learned to swim underwater with a hand crafted,
fully functional mermaid tails, that took me many
months and thousands of dollars to design and create.
Being a professional mermaid was a SELF CREATED job.
There are no schools I could go to, or agents that
would find specific mermaid work for me. I had to
be self motivated and creative in my approach to making
life near the ocean began after I finished school
and moved to the sub tropical paradise of Byron Bay
NSW East Coast of Australia.
had continued making mermaid art for 20 years. Now
I began modeling, performing and costume designing.
I was hired for an underwater photoshoot, and the
imagery that was created showed me that I was born
to be in the water!!It was the one point where all
my passions converged and I became the living example
of my artistic dreams.
I create high-end art tails.. and each one takes over
4 months of work to make. There's a lot of intensive
sewing, gluing, and constructing. It's a labor of
love, but worth it in the end. My tails are functional,
durable, self-fixable and very beautiful! They are
fully functional underwater and help me to swim fast.
have been performing as a mermaid since 2003, and
to my knowledge I was the first person to make a full
time career out of being a freelance professional
mermaid. Creating a career that fit into my passion
rather than trying to fit into an existing career
path hasn't been easy, but endlessly rewarding.
moved to Los Angeles in 2010 to fully explore into
my passion, and make the most of my career in a place
where there are many creative people with a lot of
motivation! I have worked in many of the world's top
aquariums, performed at large scale events, and been
featured in photo shoots, campaigns and short films
for many large companies and creative ventures. I
have swum with great white sharks, whales, dolphins,
manta rays, stingrays, turtles, seals, and a wide
variety of other sea life. SO far I still have all
love of mermaids was definitely something that was
part of my soul no matter where I lived or what else
was going on in my life. I used to have dreams of
flying.. and now when I swim in the ocean, I feel
like I am weightless, flying through an ethereal landscape
of beauty! Dreams do come true!
parts of Australia and the world has being a professional
mermaid taken you?
have been incredibly blessed to travel to some of
the most beautiful and remote tropical locations for
my work! I have swum with great white sharks in Guadalupe
Island in Mexico, Tiger Sharks in the Bahamas, Humpback
whales in Tonga, Pilot whales in Hawaii, Mantas in
Indonesia, Turtles in Australia, Seals in the Galapagos
Islands, tropical fish in Fiji, and many more adventures!
I am heading to the Cenotes in Mexico next!
the biggest and most significant mermaid projects
you have ever worked and participated in?
Heinrichs and I took on a projects that people said
We created the world's first Whale Shark Fashion shoot,
encouraging one Island community to make more profit
by non-invasive eco-tourism than from shark finning.
The photos and story went worldwide.
we took on protecting Mantas Rays.
creatures are giant, harmless, majestic beings whose
numbers are dropping dramatically. They are being
hunted relentlessly in mass numbers merely for their
gills which are sold on the Asian food market.
Convention for International Trade of Endangered Species
called CITES meets every 3 years to decide which animals
will be listed for protection. We created the short
film Mantas Last Dance, to inspire people to care!
It went viral worldwide, and was shown to the convention
delegates at CITES. Manta rays were put on the protected
list, garnering more votes than any other animal,
land or sea.
also shot a film with Tiger Sharks. What I witnessed
when interacting with them was astounding to me. Of
all the animals I've connected with in the ocean,
they were the ONLY ones who came around again and
again to be touched and even tickled on the nose!
I'm not suggesting that everyone go and try to pet
They are still wild apex predators,
and I was with a group of trained professionals.
film 'Tigress' was seen by over 50 million people
the first day it was released on TV networks and online.
Once people saw these animals in a different light
interacting harmlessly with a human, interest soared,
and people felt connected to the issue!
a call to action, it inspired thousands to sign a
petition to the Environmental Protection Agency of
Australia to end the shark culling program. Soon after,
CITIES increased protection for 5 species of sharks.
of these efforts have been in conjunction with thousands
of environmental organizations around the world calling
for transformation and compassion.
you have any mentors and people who have inspired
you in your career?
Seleki, an environmental film maker and amateur underwater
filmer was an initial help in shooting the very first
mermaid footage of me, and giving me help and ideas
on creating my own monofin.
Heinrichs has been instrumental in inspiring me, collaborating
on environmental campaigns and to be able to swim
with large ocean animals.
mother, Ri Fraser was the initial inspiration to make
a tail, and she has helped me creatively throughout
my entire life.
father Andy Fraser was helping organise and fund some
of the environmental projects for Tears of a Mermaid
film before he passed away in 2014.
the Channel Seven 'Today Tonight' feature around the
time that much of Australia finally become aware of
you, or was there a key splash media or event prior
to that which helped make the masses of Australia's
aware of you?
first big TV interview I did in Australia was A Current
Affair and the first big job I got was being featured
at Sydney Aquarium for the arrival of the resident
your top few environment campaign projects, and why
are they so important to you (and why should they
also be very important to the world)?
have focused my energies on the larger sea creatures
because they capture the attention of the public,
and all of these animals are affected by the other
issues we need to fix, such as over fishing, by-catch,
ocean acidification, pollution, and sonar. Particularly
the whales, dolphins and mantas have captures my passion,
as they are intelligent sentient beings capable of
truly meaningful interaction and connection.
you still create and market your own mermaid tails
still create my own tails (although I collaborate
with silicone artists such as Finfolk Productions,
Flip Tails, Mermaid Kariel and See Through Sea who
make amazing decorative flukes and fins for my hand-scaled
have never marketed or sold my tails as they are incredibly
detailed, expensive and time consuming to create (6
months of labor and thousands of dollars in materials.)
Due to my insanely busy schedule.
been the most enjoyable television, movie and documentary
appearances for you?
part of academy award winning documentary 'The Cove'
was the most rewarding because it reached so many
people that did not know about the issue of dolphins
being killed and motivated direct action which has
helped the situation.
here for part 1 of the interview
LIFE MERMAID INSPIRES JOYFUL ACTIVISM~