Siuslaw News | What it means to be a professional mermaid – Siuslaw News | Candle Made Easy

July 27, 2022 — It started with a visit to the art shop for watercolor supplies and grew into a collaboration. Shannon Dawn Green, a professional mermaid and artist, visited the BeauxArts Fine Art Materials & Gallery in Florence earlier this month. There she spoke to shopkeeper Jo Beaudreau, a professional photographer. But it wasn’t until the city of Florence’s “Blast on Bay Street” block party that the couple decided to combine their talents.

“She says, ‘What are you doing?’ And I say, ‘I’m a mermaid.’ And she’s like, ‘What?!'” Green said. “I show her the cock and she said she wanted to take a picture of me.”

Beaudreau brought Green and her silicone tail to the Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint for a mermaid photo shoot.

Before Beaudreau took her there, Green’s only other beach visit in Oregon was the South Jetty, where she had to climb a dune to gain access to the ocean.

“There’s no damn way you can go up there and then back down, even without a tail,” she said. “But Jo told me, ‘I know where the starfish are.'”

The shoot encompassed the natural beauty of the beach, bright sunshine, locally blown glass floats, seashells and greenery, fully adorned with a custom made mermaid tail and costume.

It was “so cold” for someone from New Mexico.

“I just love swimming. I was born in Albuquerque, so I was a desert mermaid,” Green said. “But I can also hold my breath for a long time because since I was little I have refused to breathe in public toilets. So I accidentally trained myself for it.”

The ability to use her breath is an important skill for the mermaid.

Like many other kids who grew up around water, Green would wrap something around her feet to hold her legs together and practice dolphin-like swimming through the water.

Green has worked in broadcast journalism, among other things. One of their last stories was about mermaids, and they even gave her a spandex tail that she got to keep.

Later: “I was just playing around in the pool and people were like, ‘Wow, can you take a picture with my kids? Oh, here’s some money. Do you accept donations? Can you do birthday parties?’ And this job kind of fell into my lap.”

Eventually, as “Mermaid Shannon,” Green invested in a much nicer tail like those made by FlipTails, Mertailor, or Fin Fun Mermaid. Hers was custom made for her own body by a film effects artist. It was definitely an investment as quality cocks can cost several thousand dollars.

“It’s a business expense,” she said. “I bought a tail, and then I just kept working and switched to aquariums.”

According to Aquamermaid’s article, What Makes a Professional Mermaid?, professional merpeople must have strong swimming and water safety skills, as well as a tail. There are various certifications they can achieve. They also make public appearances, either out of the water or swimming.

“It’s very hard to make money from it because the equipment is very expensive,” Green said. “You have to have some insurance, otherwise the aquariums won’t just let you jump into a tank with real coral in it. You can’t put on sparkling makeup and swim with a tiny little environment full of fish.”

She uses food safe pigments and only on her lips when working in aquariums. It also looks at the water temperature, which is set for the actual aquarium inhabitants and not for the magicians just stopping by.

“I liked doing it because I felt so pretty as a mermaid,” Green said. “But I’m a grown adult, so I thought about how to make this useful. So I wrote children’s books about the sea and stuff.”

Her books are available in aquariums and online.

And now, years after leaving television behind, Green was featured on Fox News on July 6 and has been featured in magazines and other news segments.

Most importantly, though, is her work for charity and with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“I love working with them. It’s really crazy to find out that a kid could have asked for anyone and they wanted me to come,” Green said. “I’ll spend the whole day with them and just swim with them.”

Now a mermaid for 12 years, she has found a network of merpeople, often appearing on the same shows, attending MerMagic Con and Renaissance Faires. With the recent hype surrounding Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid and other mermaid-focused shows, “it’s a really hot thing right now.”

Green also believes that anyone can be a merfolk.

“We are super inclusive. My team makes sure we hire colored mermaids, plus size mermaids, mermaids who are older, we have mermen, we have transitional mermaids. We want everyone to know it’s for everyone. It’s not for skinny white girls. It’s for everyone,” she said. “It’s just fun. It doesn’t matter what size you are.”

Green spends the summer traveling with her husband. He works remotely and she has time to work on her art. You also meet people like Beaudreau.

“That’s what I really love about this area. When you go through all these big cities, a lot of people are not very nice. But not Florence,” she said. “The only other city I loved that much was Key West because it’s so weird.”

Green also noted that there are no native merfolk in the Florence area.

“There’s no mermaid living here, I checked,” she said. “It could be you!”

For more information about Green, visit and

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