Flame-haired Melanie Long, 25, makes her living as a real-life mystical sea creature, complete with a hand-made outfit which took her a year to construct.
Melanie – who grew up surrounded by murals of Ariel in her bedroom – said: “When I told my parents I was going to be a mermaid that they were quite sceptical but they’ve always been very supportive of me no matter what I do.”
Melanie, from Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, moved to Phuket, Thailand, five years ago to work as a diver.
It was a job that brought her into contact with a Thai children’s charity that were looking for models to dress as mermaids for a gala ball.
Melanie leapt with a splash at the chance and came into contact with a girl “who had a swimmable tail made out of the same material as a wetsuit”.
“That was the first time I realised that people were making a living out of being a mermaid,” she said,
“Then, after a bit of research, I realised that there is an entire community of mer-people and looked into making this into something I could make money out of.
“Working as a diver you could earn anything between £20 and £80 for a full day of work but being a mermaid was much better paid.
“I eventually started a mermaid pod where I would train other girls to swim like a mermaid and hold their breath underwater.
“It got quite lucrative working at all sorts of different events travelling and performing for a few hours before joining in with the party so we ended up meeting lots of people and having a great time. It’s a dream job.
“The mermaid community has really grown over the past few years but I wouldn’t say I was a pioneer of that. I’m still very much finding my feet, or rather, my tail.”
She spent a year perfecting her very own £980 silicone tail similar to those used in the 1984 film ‘Splash’, starring Daryl Hannah, 55, and Tom Hanks, 59.
The handmade four-foot long swimmable tail allowed Melanie to enhance the illusion of a real life mermaid whipping its tail underwater.
Now Melanie can swim for nearly 100 metres underwater without coming up for air using it.
Proud mum June, 64, a retired make-up artist, admitted that she never imagined that Melanie would grow up to become a mermaid.
“I’ve always encouraged her to follow her dreams but when she was small I never imagined she’d grow up to become a mermaid,” she said.
Melanie has now returned to Scotland to study marine science and has conditional offers from Glasgow University, Aberdeen University, Edinburgh Napier and the University of Highlands and Islands all on the table for the autumn.
She is also in contention for a top diving prize and currently leads the pack in the contest to be crowned Miss Diving Specials 2016.
“I suppose you could say that I’ve been a pretty busy mermaid,” she added.