2020 has been a real doozy, starting with wildfires and fear of World War 3, and erupting into the year of the plague. At first it was just some foreign disease that seemed no worse than the flu. Here in America, hardly anyone was truly worried right away. I never thought it was going to spread to the US or my area. Then it did spread. EVERYWHERE. They announced that it was a pandemic and the world around us entirely changed. Masks. Social distancing. Hand sanitizer and toilet paper shortages. Mass panic. Then there was lock down.
As stores and schools closed down, business owners were left scrambling, including many professional mermaids. I myself was not yet a professional so, I didn’t bear the same brunt as some mermaids. No contact is hard when your job is swimming and interacting with little kids who get up close to you to talk and take pictures. I have sympathy for all of those mermaids who lost much business.
For me, the lockdown was a time to reflect on where I want to be in life and what I want to do. I’d always known I wanted to be a professional mermaid (at least ever since I discovered it was a thing) and I decided to devote more time to mermaid stuff. I started posting more frequently on Instagram and learning how to make graphic designs, a skill which I've been using to enhance new and already existing mermaid content.
I wanted to learn all kinds of things. I took online courses and practiced writing and designing graphics. I also spent time taking mermaid pictures. I live right by a creek, where I would go to take pictures in my mermaid tail and to swim in.
All the mermaids turned their focus to their online mermaid presence, which is what I did as well. I watched mermaid videos and engaged online with other mermaids. I watched videos on how to be a professional mermaid and I would practice certain mermaid skills in my free time, which there was plenty of.
Some skills that can be practiced from your bedroom are mermaid poses, mermaid movements, mermaid makeup, crafting mermaid accessories and tops, practicing talking to kids in a mermaid voice, holding your breath, singing, and building strength for swimming by exercising and doing yoga.
I worked towards advancing my writing career by freelancing for a website called Textbroker.com. The pay was low, but it gave me experience and a couple extra bucks, which was appreciated since my swim coaching job was closed.
That experience helped me to land a content creation internship through Aquamermaid. Then I was really living my mermaid dream! Combining my two passions of writing and mermaids was a huge deal for me, a step up the ladder towards accomplishing my dreams.
For Aquamermaid, I began writing blog articles, then eventually doing social media posts, and now I do all of that plus editing website pages and writing newsletters. The internship has given me much knowledge on the minutiae of the mermaid business. I even became an ambassador and started making some commission from their mermaid tail sales(use the code OLIVIAGILBERT if you want to save 10%).
The pass the brush challenge became the newest trend that all the other mermaids were doing and of course I was invited to join one through Aquamermaid. There were so many other video collaborations being done around the mermaid community. It was like this pandemic sort of brought everyone together.
The pandemic also brought me and a friend together when she needed to get out of New York before it got bad there. She stayed with us for a few months. She was a big help in taking mermaid photos for me and helping me to create a Little Mermaid rap song. That was my first Youtube video. An 80’s style rap of Part of Your World. We had fun making it and blasting it afterwards, no matter how silly it was. I used my newly found photo editing skills to turn some of my mermaid pictures into gangster Little Mermaid photos. I called myself “Lil’ Merm.”
It didn’t take off the way we had hoped, but that’s okay. I continued all my mermaid things. I started making Tiktok videos, which soon prompted me to begin making Youtube videos more consistently. It was a good time to start videos, with my bakery job being slow and having quit my swim coaching job after it reopened and I worked for about a month, uncomfortably.
We went into the green phase after a while. That’s when I got my first ever gig booked. I knew it was risky and not advised with the virus still around. But I accepted the request and prepared. It was my dream afterall. The CDC says there is no evidence that the virus is spread through pools, and the whole gig was in a pool. A VERY chlorinated pool. In fact, it basically bleached my tail. It became extremely faded and parts of it changed color. Looks like I have an excuse to get a new tail!
I’ve since been working on my Youtube channel and growing on Instagram. I also just recently launched my website, which was a huge milestone for me! Especially buying the domain. It was expensive, but I figure if this is my dream then I need to take chances.
So, here I am! Living my best life, working on my mermaid career, putting out mermaid content, and really just finding myself. I empathize with those who have lost much during this pandemic and I am grateful that I have been one of the people to have some positive results from it.
Keep on staying healthy and safe!