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Mermaid Spotlight: Merman Jax

Written By Kate Vontaine 04 Mar 2018
Mermaid Spotlight: Merman Jax

How did you get your start?

"This is always a funny question because I believe like most other Pro Mers, we could say we started when we were a kid- swimming whenever we could and tying our legs together with bed sheets. I first focused on being a competitive swimmer as a child through young adult, then moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting and modeling. I soon felt uninspired by the work and also discouraged by how the industry didn't seem to know what to do with my racially ambiguous look. I eventually discovered that some SPFX artists were selling these amazing, silicone tails recreationally. It was like a light bulb went off and I realized this was how I wanted to work in the entertainment field. I've been happily doing it ever since with my aquatic-entertainment company, Dark Tide Productions." 

What did your first tail look like? 

"My first tail was created by Eric Ducharme aka The Mertailor. The color design was called "The Marlin" and was one of his standard color options back then; I think I might be the only person officially with that color scheme. It is a beautiful blend of dark blues, silver and gold. I still adore the tattered fluke so much and it really helped me start to create my brand. I had to semi-retire the tail as it got damaged during the training for and actually performing of, an underwater show with The Dive Bar Mermaids. My current tail is by Raven of Merbella Studios. This more tropical/tribal tail was also completely designed by the tailmaker. My tails are very different, but I love them equally."

What's your favorite thing to do on land?

"Try to figure out the next time I can get back into the water? LOL I can often lead a pretty quiet life, spending my time reading and enjoying my spirituality. Working a busy life as a Professional Merman, it is so important for me to make time to relax, restore and spend time with loved ones. I've also discovered how important it is for me to make time to enjoy being in and around water when I'm not actually working. A recent personal trip to Hawaii gave me the opportunity to literally just sit and enjoy the sand and surf. I did make some time to surf though! 

What is your favorite spot to dive and do your merman thing?

"Last year I finally had the opportunity to swim at Catalina Island with The Best Mermaid Channel Ever and I thought it was amazing. Style and energy wise, I've always been more of a Northern California (where I was born and raised) cold-water merman and Catalina was a lovely fit. The gorgeous kelp and the bright orange Garibaldi fish made for a very magical swim. Plus, I got to enjoy it with some of my best mermaid friends including Sea Angel Jenn! It was an experience I am very grateful for." 

What's your favorite underwater animal?

"My favorite underwater animal is the seahorse. I'm not sure what it is about these little ones that intrigue me so much. The contrast of these delicate little creatures, who also have a 90% predatory kill rate is fascinating. Even when I get fan art from people, they usually know to put some sea horses in there with me. Project Seahorse does some great conservation work for these unique creatures and people should definitely check them out."

What's your favorite thing about being a merman?

"That is quite the big question! So much of it is wonderful. I think the part that really makes me proud of what I do, is hearing the personal stories of people who connect to me and what I do. I started this working in this profession with pretty much no mentor, no one to aspire to be; there were basically no mermen and certainly no mermen that looked like "me". I really had to make my own path that required years of blood, sweat, tears and money. So, when I get messages, emails and art from people around the world, telling me how much they admire what I do, how I symbolize being your true self to them- it's something I don't take lightly. It is an honor and a responsibility to try and be a role model. From the spectrum of "I never knew it was ok to be gay", "I never knew it was ok to be a merman", "I never knew I could be a merman since I'm not white", I just never knew how many other people out there like me there were. I didn't realize the importance of representation and visibility, just by being myself. I am proud to be a gay, multi-racial, merman and if that has helped even one person find strength, courage or peace- then I have done something worthwhile in this lifetime."

Is conservation important to you?

"Yes, genuine conservation efforts are definitely important to me. Especially in light of Mers who try to use the environment as a very short-sighted platform to gain attention. If you really care and are honestly doing things to help, you just don't have to shout about it all the time. I have grown up my entire life not only being eco-conscious and donating money to wildlife organizations, but also by actually volunteering my time. From volunteering at animal shelters to beach clean ups, the time for arm-chair activism is over. Put your money where your mouth is."

How can we (your mermaid friends) help the ocean, our home?

"People sometimes worry they can't do enough to help with such an overwhelming issue and then end up doing nothing at all. Even something as simple as having the option to donate to a charity of choice, opposed to bringing a present for a special occasion, is wonderful. I really encourage people to research the local environmental issues in their area to see how they can best affect change. I also recommend researching into the companies/products you purchase. Many companies give back a percentage of sales or even have wonderful programs that support conservation. LUSH cosmetics is a great example of this. Besides being involved in various programs that support the welfare of both people and animals, they even specifically have program that works with The Ocean Legacy Foundation to turn ocean plastic into packaging. Every little bit of money and time spent volunteering helps so much in the long run- just do something!"
Follow him on Instagram @MermanJax!

And watch his newest swim video with The Best Mermaid <3Channel:
Photo Credits:  Johnny Stix, Cheryl Walsh, Bryan Forest, & Cheshire Visions


MerGirl Hailey - July 18 2018


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