Mermaids are REAL. Don’t believe me? Let me introduce you to professional underwater swimmer, ocean activist, model and artist: Hannah Fraser.
Since childhood, Fraser has been passionate about mermaids, turning her life long dream of being a mermaid into a reality and using that passion to raise awareness for ocean conservation. An active environmentalist, Fraser has travelled the world, has splashed about with some of the earth’s most amazing ocean creatures and has worked tirelessly with numerous organizations and campaigns to shine a spotlight on the plight of our oceans and its endangered inhabitants. Fraser has appeared in several films, performs as a mermaid for charity events, has produced breath taking photo shoots and also creates gorgeous handmade mermaid tails in her spare time. A percentage of her earnings as a mermaid benefits anti-whaling drives.
I had a chat with this Australian mermaid about how she turned her dreams into a reality to make a change and give back to the ocean world she loves and respects. True, her tail may not be a real fishtail, but with her unwavering love and devotion for the sea and all living things within it- if anyone qualifies to be mermaid, Fraser takes the cake.
Courtney Lambert: How did you get your start as a mermaid?
Hannah Fraser:I have always been fascinated by mermaids and spent countless hours drawing detailed artworks of mermaids and dolphins. I began modeling, costume designing and performing at dance parties in my early 20’s. At one point all my passions converged and I became the live version of my artistic dreams. I made my first tail at age 9, after seeing the film ‘Splash’ starring Daryl Hannah.
CL: How long have you been an ocean environmentalist?
HF: Swimming in the ocean as a mermaid, becoming one with the underwater environment and having the opportunity to see such magnificent creatures at close range inspired me to campaign against ocean degradation, pollution and overfishing. Most dear to my heart are the whales and dolphins, the closest relatives of the mermaid, who bring so much playfulness, interaction and trust to their encounters with humans. I have been actively campaigning for an end to the slaughter of whales and dolphins through direct action and through education, awareness programs and beautiful imagery in my mermaid videos and photos since 2003.
CL: What do you strive to accomplish with your work?
HF: I hope to encourage others to take an interest in the ocean through creating inspiring imagery of humans connecting with ocean wildlife, and to realize we have a responsibility to care for all creatures on this planet as fellow beings. I have been lucky enough to travel around the world to so many amazing tropical beautiful islands, swimming in many different oceans and interacting with a large array of sea creatures. I began to notice sick animals, beaching, pollution, coral reefs dying, unsustainable fishing practices and rubbish dumping. When you are actually swimming in these conditions it really hits home that the ocean is in a dire state and it is only because of human beings!
CL: Why did you choose ocean conservation?
HF: The ocean is our lifeblood. If we mess it up with pollution, overfishing and killing these incredible species that hold the knowledge and the wisdom of the ocean, it’s only a matter of years before the rest of civilization crumbles. We cannot survive without the ocean- It’s the womb of the world.
CL: Are you working on any conservation projects now?
HF: This week Emmy Award winning cinematographer/photographer Shawn Heinrichs and I release our latest project, which focuses on the theme of ‘Betrayal’ and how humans have treated the whale species. The cinematic short film showcases an awe inspiring and heartwarming connection between a human and a baby humpback whale, connecting when they thought all hope and trust was gone. The mission of this project is to bring inspiration over devastation at this moment when the fate of the humpback whales is teetering on the verge of their protected status being taken off the endangered list.
Also in a world first, we completed an underwater conservation fashion shoot with pods of Pilot whales, considered by many as illusive wanderers of the sea. In conduction with the Humpback whale project, the goal of this shoot was to highlight the beauty and vulnerability of these ancient looking whales and to inspire global audiences to care more about these creatures. See our new photos and film at: http://www.bluespheremedia.com/2013/10/betrayal-activist-dances-with-whales-to-highlight-their-plight/
CL: What are some of the biggest problems the ocean/ocean inhabitants face today?
HF: We are facing a global ocean crisis after the recent Fukushima nuclear meltdown and the oil spills in the Gulf, plus the huge amounts of rubbish debris breaking up into tiny plastic fragments that are killing animals and the unsustainable fishing that is leaving our oceans barren of entire species.
CL: Do you hold any special events to raise awareness for ocean conservation or do any sort of fundraising?
HF: Shawn Heinrichs and I are working with a new non-profit called Blue Sphere Foundation which will create events to fund more direct action of inspiration over devastation projects to bring awareness, action and change.
I’m also working on a documentary that showcases my adventures as a mermaid and the animals I’ve encountered around the world. It highlights the passionate ocean activists I’ve worked with and the initiatives they are taking to create solutions!
CL: How can people get involved and help out?
HF: There are always the basics of Ocean conservation: Don’t waste water, always pick up trash- especially on the beach or near waterways, recycle & re-use, support good non-profits such as Blue Sphere Foundation, Oceania project, Sea Shepherd, Save Japan Dolphins, Mermaids for Sanctuaries, Mission of Mermaids, and Surfers for Cetaceans.
In particular, to help the whales and dolphins:
1. Write NOAA speaking out against the delisting of humpback whales
2. Demand our governments enact more protections for whales
3. Demand our governments stand for whales at the IWC and not open commercial whaling
4. Don’t visit captive mammal sea parks