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Meet Charlotte’s professional mermaid—who owns a $6,000 silicon tail

Charlotte’s Shannon Rauch is a professional mermaid. No, seriously. Charlotte Five’s Sallie Funderburk and Alicia Thomas find out how Shannon became a mermaid, and how her passion for mermaid life helps children understand how they can save the oceans.

Sallie: How did you become a professional mermaid?

“It was just kind of accidental. I was in transition of one job to another. I had this swimming suit material, mermaid tail that I was practicing in just for fun. It made me lose weight. It was great. People had never seen this before, and they were taking pictures of me. And since I still didn’t have a job for a little while…I was like hey I could raise money for sea turtles by looking pretty, because I felt pretty! It covered my belly. I was happy. And it just got such alarming response that I found myself booked at birthday parties, being invited to aquariums…I did Science on the Rocks at Discovery Place recently, and it was really fun.”

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Sallie: Do you remember the first time someone approached you to hire you?

“The first time I was approached was actually at a swimming pool in Fort Lauderdale, and some guy asked, ‘Hey, do you do bachelor parties?’ That was actually the first time someone said, ‘I’ll pay you’.”

Alicia: So did you take it?

“No!” (laughing).

Alicia: What about your costume?

“It’s just a regular, nice expensive bra, like a Victoria’s Secret. And then you E-6000, you can build a house with that stuff, and then you just glue seashells, and then you could paint them or bedazzle them…”

Alicia: Do you wear wigs?

“Yes because the water really messes with my hair. So what I’ll do, if I’m swimming in a pool, I’ll put a ton of conditioner in my hair, put a swim cap over it, and then put a wig over it. Then there is waterproof glue you can use, and that way my hair doesn’t soak in any of that chlorine.”

Alicia: Do you bother with makeup at all?

“I use Koolaid powder to tint my lips, and then waterproof eyeliner.”

Images via themermaidshannon on Instagram

The CharlotteFive Podcast — presented by The Charlotte Observer and powered by OrthoCarolina — is a weekly podcast that aims to get you Charlotte Smart, Fast with fun, interesting and useful news about the city. It’s hosted by Sallie Funderburk and is a production of the Charlotte Observer and Brian Baltosiewich.

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