Cara Nicole Neo, 22, mermaid-for-hire
What she does by day: An English Literature undergraduate at the National University of Singapore
Her hobby: Mermaiding - swimming while wearing a mermaid tail to indulge fantasies of being the finned mythical creature - which is a niche activity similar to cosplay. It is particularly big in the US and is picking up around the world.
It became a side business when... She bought a spandex mermaid tail last June. She's now Singapore's first professional mermaid and entertains at children's parties, where she sings, tells stories and performs tricks in the water.
Stats: She earns $200 for 45 minutes of work and does two jobs a month.
Find her at: www.facebook.com/ syrenaswims and www. syrenathemermaid.weebly.com
I bought my first tail online last June for a few hundred dollars. It was very basic - the scales on the tail were 2-D and it weighed 1.5kg. Then, last December, knowing I wanted to start entertaining at parties, I invested in a made-to-order silicone tail that costs over $3,000. My new tail is really a thing of beauty, with 3-D textured scales in shades of gold, pink and purple.
The first time I tried on my new tail was a disaster! It weighs 15kg and is so tight I spent nearly an hour squeezing my legs into it. It took days of trial and error, but now, I can get it on in under five minutes.
Mermaid Syrena is my performance name. Getting the swimming technique right took months of practice, and I even trained with a Canadian free-diving instructor so that I could hold my breath underwater for longer. My current record is two minutes and 20 seconds.
My boyfriend Josh carries me into and out of the pool during events. I can't do it myself because the tail is so heavy. Josh even wears a shirt that says "Mer-tender"!"
1. To read the rest of this article, get a copy of the September 2014 issue of Her World, Singapore’s No. 1 women’s magazine. Her World, published by SPH Magazines is available at all newsstands now.
2. Ankita Varma is a features writer with Her World magazine by SPH Magazines.
Check out more stories at www.herworldplus.com.
Also, check out the September 2014 issue for these stories:
a) The hottest technicolour bags and shoes. Guaranteed to liven up any all-black office ensemble.
b) Organic, safe-for-you manis. Think water-based polishes and gel nails with minimal filing.
c) It’s okay to job-hop. Gen-Y bosses tell you the new ways to get ahead.