A real-life little mermaid who earns a living playing Ariel

© KeVin155
Melanie Long turned her childhood Disney obsession into a career which sees her embody The Little Mermaid every day.

Melanie Long grew up idolizing Ariel from The Little Mermaid and hoped to be her one day. Now, she kind of is.

Long moved from the UK to Phuket, Thailand to work as scuba diving instructor. “I got into scuba diving thinking it would be as close as I could get to become The Little Mermaid,” she said.

After arriving, she heard of a children’s charity that was looking for people to dress as mermaids for a ball. To prepare, Long made her own mermaid outfit and worked on her breathing.

She then spent a year creating a handmade silicone tail, which cost her $1,380 to make.

“After a bit of research I realized that there is an entire community of mer-people and looked into making this into something I could make money out of,” she said.

Long then trained other girls to be like mermaids, showing them how to hold their breath underwater and move like a mermaid would.

Long can swim 85 meters underwater and has held her breath for three and a half minutes.