Today’s post is about how I’ve never grown out of my passion for mermaids, and neither has Nora Kaitis, Professional Mermaid and the Founder of AquaMermaid Chicago. She so graciously invited me to take a class last Sunday at AquaMermaid Chicago and here’s how it went…
I was stoked. I told all my coworkers, castmates, and friends that I would be taking a freaking MERMAID class over the weekend. Some were excited for me (see my fellow mermaids-on-land ladies), some were intrigued (see 90% of the males), and some were weirded out (I won’t name names to protect the innocent). But I was delighted!
We started the class by putting on our fins and tails. It’s more challenging than it sounds! It’s crucial that you get those fins on real tight as they are hard to adjust once the tail is securely in place. You could tell that the other girls in the class were just as excited as I was to be there making their dreams a reality. Our instructor, Sarah, started the class off by both easing us into the water and into what we could expect for the session. I must commend her on her commitment to her craft while still keeping the class laughing and having a fun time. She took nothing too seriously and in turn, neither did we. Sarah made me feel like the name of the game was MERGIRL-POWER!
Once we got in the water, Sarah took us through several different moves and tricks. We split up into groups and learned how to wave tails at each other, blow mermaid kisses underwater, and how to sail through the water gracefully. The last ten minutes of class were dedicated to free swim and photos. Nora happily took photos for anyone who wanted them. It was such a delight to see friends getting pictures taken together. I even met a girl who was only visiting Chicago for the week but wanted to try out AquaMermaid. Her mother and grandmother came to watch! I assume she is around my age and that her being-a-mermaid dream that stemmed from her childhood, just like mine. As we left, Nora handed out cute little bags with otherworldly blue glitter and her business card. It was an adorable and thoughtful gift. I think that was the most enjoyable aspect of the adventure- the attention to little details. No one felt silly for playing Mermaid for an hour. Everyone was able to relax into their own fantasy without judgement.
Nora was kind enough to answer a couple of my questions about AquaMermaid:
1) How did you come to be a professional mermaid?
A friend sent me a link to a video to the mermaid school in Canada. I loved the idea. I thought it was something that both kids and adults would love. I also loved that the main product of the mermaid school is something fun, new and active! And I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
I have had a lot of experience as a teacher in the Peace Corps (Benin 2008-2010), lifeguard and swim instructor for over 6 years as well as relevant experience in dance and modelling. Chicago didn't have a mermaid school, so I knew if I wanted it in my city, I would have to create it. I got along very well with the founder, agreed to license her business (www.Aquamermaid.com), and headed to Montreal for five days of Mermaid School! I launched my AquaMermaid school in Chicago on July 31, 2016.
2) What about being a mermaid appealed to you?
Everyone loves the idea of mermaids. You feel so great in the tail - you just glide through the water and swim so beautifully. I love that mermaids symbolize beauty and health
Many professional mermaids use their platform to create awareness about ocean conservation. In Chicago, we are blessed with the Great Lakes - I knew we just needed mermaids!
3) Why have you decided to use your love of mermaid and swimming to host Aquamermaid Chicago?
I knew that if I loved the concept and how to swim like a mermaid so much, other people would! I remember getting home from mermaid school in Montreal and dying to get back in the water! I knew this was something. I just had to bring it to my hometown.
There's so much you can do with the mermaid tail. We do our mermaid classes in a pool, but you can take the tail for a swim anywhere for swimming - lakes, the ocean, etc. You can also do some gorgeous photoshoots. It's such a great way to feel beautiful and strong.
4) In your opinion, why is the use of fantasy important in our adult lives?
It's important to never stop playing - even to adulthood! We just hosted a sixtieth mermaid birthday and the guests just had a blast splashing, swimming and making jokes. It's important to never lose our sense of humor about life!
Becoming a mermaid is such an awesome way to feel beautiful and live life like a fairytale!
I grew up right next to Lake Ontario and moved to Chicago, right next to Lake Michigan, in 2005. I did competitive swimming in middle school and I've always lived near the water. I enjoy swimming, boating and camping in the summer. I received my scuba certification in 2011 and like taking dance classes; mermaiding is the best way to combine both of those! My undergrad is in Fashion Design and my master's is in Art Education.
I highly recommend checking out AquaMermaid Chicago and look into booking them for your next birthday party, children’s event, bachelorette party, or just checking out their weekly classes.
You can find out more about AquaMermaid Chicago at www.aquamermaid.com
If you would like to purchase an AquaMermaid tail, you can visit https://www.aquamermaid.com/collections/store/products/mermaid-tail#a_aid=aquamermaidchicago&a_bid=2ef432d7