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Shannon Rauch proves mermaids are indeed real

Updated: Jan 30, 2019

Let’s just go straight to the question we all want to ask: what is your profession?

I am a professional mermaid. In fact, I am one of North Carolina’s few mermaids.

And what exactly does a landlocked mermaid do in Charlotte?

I work every weekend- mostly for children’s birthday parties. But some of my work has taken me to the ocean too!

So, you actually have been a mermaid in the ocean?

Several photographers have reached out needing me for their photography portfolios. In exchange for giving them the rights to the pictures, I have been able to have some amazing experiences. In St. Croix, I dove with sea turtles and other aquatic life, as well as posed with some notable underwater statues. On another dive boat trip in Mexico, I dove alongside whale sharks. That was amazing! That shoot took a lot of coordination, since we only had about five seconds to get the perfect picture.

Most of us don’t know about mermaid tails. What’s their story?

Well to start they have to be custom made. I create a body cast of my lower half and then send it into the maker. The mold requires me to duct tape a garbage bag around my legs before the mold is applied.

Give us the tail specs:

The tail dry weighs just under 50 pounds. It’s made out of the same material that the special effects artists use for movie props called smooth on dragon skin. Some tails have a hole in the bottom so water can drain out afterwards. However, my tail retains the water and is significantly heavier after swimming in it. I need to be lifted out of the water since I cannot use my legs. The tails are made out of silicone and neoprene and is neutrally buoyant.

How many tails do you own?

I own five tails in all and have three in production. My current tail, my show tail, cost $4,500. My very first tail (which is in retirement due to water wear) was $500.

Is it difficult to swim in a mermaid tail?

It’s amazing how quickly you can swim with it on! That’s how I am able to free-dive down to 15-20 feet in the ocean. I did train a lot in the ocean to get used to moving it. My whole body transformed since it provides an amazing workout for multiple muscle groups, especially my core.

How do you see yourself as a mermaid or how does it make you feel?

My tail in my “tiara” for my bottom half! It does make me feel glamorous and requires me to get into character for certain events. I definitely have my mermaid persona during any event that involves children. They are so funny and come up with the funniest questions. So many of them see me as a real life mermaid. When I am in the water (especially the ocean), I feel so peaceful. The quiet takes away every stress. It’s really special.

How have you used your tail to give back?

I have posed for photographers who are trying to bring awareness to aquatic issues. I do many charity event appearances as well; that’s how I actually started in order to practice and get my name out there.

Are there any local events coming up where kids can visit with you?

Yes! Starting April 30th, kids will have the opportunity to swim with me at the YWCA. There is a form on my Facebook page that gives all the info. I am doing a book signing and photos at Toys & Co to celebrate Earth Day, April 22nd.

Is there a mermaid community?

Absolutely! I am the cofounder of a convention called NC Mermania that is held in Greensboro. CNN covered the event and mermaids from all over the world attended. I stepped down from coordinating the event so I could enjoy just being a mermaid and enjoy the fun. You would be surprised about how many people make a living being a mermaid!

What does your family think?

My husband is 100% supportive and helps with the business aspects, as well as getting me in and out of the water. My kids help make party giveaways like sea crowns. My kids are particular about when I talk about my job, since it often dominates a conversation. I am sensitive to that for them. I have an 11 and 15 year old, while my husband has a 17 and 19 year old.

So how did you become a mermaid? It’s not common!

I was working at FOX when the Sea Life Aquarium in Concord was opening. The station wanted a reporter dressed as a mermaid in the tank for the event. The event didn’t end up happening, but I found inspiration for my new career. At the time I was a social media director and when the station went through some organizational changes, I decided to leave and pursue being a mermaid.

Connect with me through email, my Facebook page, Twitter, and my website!



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