She may not have an actual fish’s tail, but she can hold her breath for nearly five minutes, and this real-life mermaid spends her days swimming with sharks!
Naomi Trott is a 34-year-old archaeologist and senior cultural heritage consultant who spends her spare time traveling up and down the country as a mermaid.
However, she says being a mermaid is “hard, hard work,” as she has to hold her breath for over four minutes underwater.
She has described the response she gets from children across the country as “magical.”
Naomi has also been moved to tears as one child said, “Mummy, look, there’s a ginger mermaid-like me.”
The 34-year-old does her day job four days a week and keeps one weekday and the weekend free for her hobby.
Naomi, who is from the UK town of Bristol, said, “It’s incredible seeing children’s faces light up when they see a real-life mermaid; it’s magical.”
“It’s tough being a mermaid; it’s hard, hard work. When you’re there in the tank, you can be cold; it’s physically tiring, but when you go down there, and you see a little kid in front of you just absolutely losing it, and they’re waving, it’s wonderful.”
Naomi often plies her unique craft in aquarium tanks swimming amidst sharks, rays, and other sea creatures.
“We’ve got constant radio contact with the staff members at the window on the other side. One of them said, “when you went down there, there was a little girl, and she said, ‘Mummy, look, there’s a ginger mermaid just like me.’ I cried; it was just so wonderful; I’m really lucky that my day job is flexible to allow me to do this part-time.”
Since she was a very small child, Naomi has loved the water describing herself as a “water baby.”
As she got older, she then progressed to wild swimming and trying out “mermaiding,” where she tried on a monofin and “tail” for the first time.
Naomi says, “I was lucky enough that my parents gave me swimming lessons when I was a kid.
“I loved being in the water, I was a real water baby. I got into wild swimming a few years ago, and through that, I saw lots of adverts for being a mermaid.”
“There was one of these in Bristol that I went to, and I met a few like-minded people there. Swimming with a monofin and tail on for the first time was very exciting. It was the high point of the experience to transform into something else – a bit of escapism in one way; it was really great. I realized that holding my breath was important if I wanted to take the mermaiding further – so then I realized that I would have to train in freediving.”
Unlike Disney’s Princess Ariel, who would do anything to give up her tail to walk on land, Naomi’s dream was just the opposite, to strap on the tail and swim like a fish!
So to make that dream into a reality, so she started the rigorous free diving training sessions.
She got her first AIDA (Association Internationale pour le Développement de l’Apnée) qualification in 2019 – and gained her AIDA three-star freediving qualification in October with Bristol Freedivers.
Naomi said, “I started training with that and got my first qualification which enabled me to start doing some mermaid shows. In order to maintain that level, I must train regularly. Lots of training goes into it, and you have to keep it up in order to be ready to do shows.”
She has now been doing this since 2019, when she took to the water as a Mermaid for the first time with Performance Mermaids at Manchester Sealife.