Hannah Mermaid – Making a Splash

Hannah Mermaid – Making a Splash

By Sandra Conte

editor@earth-emag.com

27th May 2013

Hannah Mermaid is an Ocean Activist who dons a variety of tails for her many performances and photo shoots around the world. She has a passion for the deep sea and protecting it with multiple awareness raising strategies, which she shared with Sandi at eARTh.

Living in the United States but hailing from Byron Bay Australia, Hannah lists her roles as ocean activist, model and performer and commands an audience with her underwater artistry. She can leave you simultaneously holding your breath and breathless, with her deep sea antics. In fact, you will wonder how she does what she does.

Chosen by ‘gun’ photographers such as Shawn Heinrichs and Kristian Schmidt for underwater modelling, Hannah explains, “We recently did a whale shark conservation world-first fashion shoot and ‘manta’s last dance’ manta ray conservation shoot together to spearhead the cause to have manta rays put on the endangered list at CITES - (Convention for International Trade of Endangered Species) - we won the vote by 80 per cent!”

Hannah suggests her peak physical capacity for this sort of work is perhaps borne of a lot of time spent visiting a meditation yoga ashram in India through her childhood and teen years, with her mother. Hannah also gives some tips for budding mermaids: “For breath hold - yoga, dancing, breath training, meditation and relaxation all assist. Five minutes prior to going in the water, I slow down and deepen my breathing, then 10 seconds before I dive I breathe super deep and faster to get a lot of oxygen through the body”.

Hannah explains there is a lot more to it than meets the eye - “To be able to create convincing mermaid photos and footage you need to have a very strong breath hold ability, an extremely strong swimming ability, (with your legs bound together) to look comfortable, be dive certified, not be afraid of underwater wild life, have ocean experience in tides, currents, waves, varying temperature, swimming with your eyes open underwater without goggles, and have modelling experience!
I’ve also learned to act underwater, and convey a lot of emotion and expression without speech. It’s a continually challenging and exciting profession!”

Tracing her many activities as an actor and active activist, it is sometimes a case of life imitating art. Hannah once took centre stage with actress Darryl Hannah, who incidentally appeared on the big screen as a mermaid in that 80’s movie entitled ‘Splash’. Here in their group photograph for Earth Day in downtown LA, Hannah (Fraser) chose to wear her anti-kill designed outfit to speak out against the slaughter of whales and dolphins. This is another example of Hannah using a ‘moment’ to raise awareness of the big issues.

Hannah says she can remember Darryl Hannah’s film, “I was nine years old when I saw the film ‘Splash’ and I realised it was my dream to have a tail too; I created my first mermaid tail with the help of my artistic and supportive mother”.

Recognising the benefit of working with celebrities to bring a greater focus to causes that bring grief, Hannah helped organise a Surfers’ paddle out at The Cove in Japan with pro surfer David Rastovich, actresses Hayden Panettiere and Isabel Lucas, to bring focus and awareness to the slaughter of tens of thousands of dolphins every year in Japanese waters.

Hannah explains it is her attraction to water and creative play that she hopes will also shift people’s thinking – “I feel the most free and expressive while underwater. I think there has been a dreamtime when mermaids were part of our reality but with the age of technology, we’ve lost touch with that. I’d like to help awaken people to their personal experience of creative play, where the lines of fantasy and reality blend. Being a mermaid is my lifelong expression of joy. I hope everyone finds their own passion... and lives it! “

Hannah travels the world to provide education about ocean beauty and the conservation of animals and has a documentary called ‘Tears of a Mermaid’ being released in 2014.
eARTh emag hopes to bring a curated gallery of photographs of Hannah in subsequent issues.

www.hannahfraser.com
Photograph: Whale shark by Kristian Schmidt

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