By Mark McConville
MEET the woman who became a mermaid to overcome confidence issues and now helps others do the same through her performances.
Video footage shows Kariel the Mermaid swimming underwater with a friend in brightly-coloured tails that she makes herself.
Other incredible images show the performer posing on the beach in her tail, swimming by a group of excited kids of reach out to touch her tail and a packed beach watching on in anticipation of the beginning of one of her shows.
Kariel explained how turning into her alter ego helps her confidence and what the Mermaid teaches kids.
“I love the message I can share with others with their full attention while they are in awe of the realistic fantasy sight they see,” she said.
“I also love becoming my alter ego – a loud, funny confident fish compared to my natural shy, quiet demeanour.
“I love the way it feels to have fish follow me and make me part of their underwater world. I love continually reinventing and making the costumes and vision I imagine a mermaid to be.
““I’m currently still performing twice a week in Hawaii at my own live show called “The Brave Mermaid Show” which helps kids and families obtain self confidence to make their lives and world a better place.
“You know writing this makes me feel so full. I’m really making a difference and doing what I’ve always wanted to do.
For Kariel, the legend of the mermaid was a fantasy she craved to make a reality. Like a true mermaid, this Hawaii resident dove into the depths of her dreams and spent over 400 hours on her first handmade tail back in 2009.
“I made mermaid costumes with my grandmother and mother every year since I was three years old,” she said.
“In 2009 I made my first swimmable mermaid tail. I had a deep calling to feel what it would be like to be a real mermaid amongst the fishes under the sea.
“It was a dream I longed for my whole life. I took action on my life and moved to Hawaii to become part of the sea and the ‘aloha spirit’ that called to me.”
Kariel has had to overcome challenges in her life including having auditory processing disorder, which means her brain takes longer to process sight and sound.
Despite this the creative performer published her first book, The Brave Mermaid, and has more in the works as she seeks to make a difference to people’s lives.
“The key to life is just to be happy, if you finding your joy then joy will follow in your light.
“When I look at my videos and images, my heart burns with passion and my soul calms and believes that there is more than life in this universe.
“There must grace and I know with the power of self confidence, drive and persistence anything is possible.”
Kariel recalls how people thought she was crazy when she set out to make her first water tail and how people used to think they’d saw a real mermaid when they spotted her.
“Before mermaids became somewhat normal to see, people used to scream in either fear or delight because they thought they saw a real mermaid,” she explained.
“Some people cry, but the mermaid really seems to inspire a glow in everyone.
“Sometimes I almost feel like it’s a power suit when it’s on my super power is to fix hearts and instilled possibilities in those around me, which was always my dream.”
For more information see www.mermaidkariel.com