BY LAURA MCFADZEAN
A professional mermaid who goes by the name Tarielle earns a living by flipping her fins and mesmerising strangers.
Also a Monash University Bachelor of Arts and Law student, Mermaid Tarielle has travelled internationally to perform at more than 300 corporate events and birthday parties since she was 15-years-old.
Growing up with a father who was a “massive water enthusiast”, Tarielle said she spent the majority of her teen years in water – scuba diving, free diving and surfing.
Although being a professional mermaid performer and a budding lawyer may seem like two drastically different career paths, she said there are more similarities than people might think.
“My job is to convince people of my opinion,” she says.
“I am a real mermaid and I will convince people that that is a fact, and I will discuss it with them until they believe.
“I think the things that attracted me to law are what attracted me to be a mermaid, but they’re just very different concepts.”
Having performed in the spotlight from a very young age, and been mentored by Maike Wende, owner of German party company Princess for You, Tarielle consistently holds herself to a high standard.
“Every time I present myself, it should be as if I’m presenting myself for a V.I.P. client. I’m holding kids’ dreams in my hands…and that’s a lot of pressure,” Tarielle says.
“I knew I didn’t want to look like a movie character. I wanted to be my own person; I wanted to create my own character,” she says.
“I didn’t want to be bound by someone else’s guidelines of what a mermaid should be.
“I had to make a decision – am I more mystical, elegant and mysterious…or am I more childlike, bubbly and sort of ‘The Little Mermaid exploring the world’? And I went in that [latter] direction because that’s more me,” she adds.
Her latest tail (pictured) consists of 9000 individually 3D-printed and sewn sequins.
The printer could only create 25 scales at any one time, totalling around 630 hours of printing.
“It took me the first five seasons of Game of Thrones to sew them on,” she says.
The party was orchestrated by Alyssa’s parents, who distracted the four-year-old while Tarielle set up in their family living room and transformed into a mermaid.
However, the outfit isn’t as comfortable as it looks exciting.
“It looks really elegant and really nice…but it’s quite unpleasant. It’s cold, it’s uncomfortable, things scratch, the outfit is not made for comfort – it’s made to look nice,” Tarielle says.
“Kids’ dreams and kids’ belief in magic is very special and needs to be nurtured, and that’s why that’s my job,” she says.
“We build friendships and it’s really lovely to be able to do that.”
She has not only performed across Australia, but also in Germany, Egypt and Sri Lanka.
In the future, she hopes to work on a cruise ship and perform at the Great Barrier Reef.
“I like the challenge. If I walk away from the party and I’ve been able to convince one kid that doesn’t believe that I am real; then that’s a successful day,” Tarielle says.
“That’s one more kid out there who can maybe hold onto the belief that anything is possible,” she adds.