Not a Fish Tale: There Are About 1,000 Full-Time Professional Mermaids in the U.S.

And you can be one, too!

Photo: Courtesy Dive Bar

Being a mermaid is hard work, but someone’s got to do it.

According to Fast Company, about 1,000 someones are doing it, in fact. That’s the number of people employed as full-time professional mermaids, per estimations and interviews gathered by the site.

One of those merpeople: Rachel Smith, head mermaid at Dive Bar, a lounge in downtown Sacramento, California, where she and other women perform in a 7,500-gallon aquarium.

“It’s really hard,” Smith explained to Fast Company. “Our legs are tied together, the fish are running into us, and it’s dark. Our tails can weigh up to 35 pounds, but the saltwater makes us float, so we have another five to 10 pounds strapped between our legs; the movement is all from your core, so your abs are really working as you go through the tank.”

Other aspects of Peak Mermaid in 2015 America: North Carolina’s MerFest, which attracted 650 merfolk in January, and Fin Fun, a company that sells 50,000 mermaid tails a month to wannabes across the country. Mermaid exercise classes, which aim to strengthen your core via mermaid-style underwater maneuvers, are also a thing.

Linden Wolbert is one of the more successful and visible mermaids working today. With a dedicated Instagram following and a YouTube channel with nearly 25 million views, Linden is successful enough to command a $250/hour rate for her appearances at parties, events and seminars.

Wolbert is hardly the only person doing laps in the mermaid game: There’s an International Mermaid Swimming Instructor’s Association, and Michigan’s Mermaid Fitness. There are also hundreds of makeup artists, face painters and event planners through companies such as Thumbtack and Austin Occasions in Texas who are ready for hire to help plan you or your child’s next mermaid, under the sea, or pirate party this Halloween.

Daryl Hannah, if your agent is sleeping on this, you need a new agent.

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