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Odd Jobs: Professional mermaid - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Odd Jobs: Professional mermaid

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MONTREAL -

It was an unusual sight for guests at Hotel Bonaventure in Montreal, a brilliant tail undulating just beneath the water. Could it be?

"I'm a mermaid. I teach people how to swim like a mermaid," said Marielle Chartier Hénault, professional mermaid.

Not just one mermaid, but a whole school.

"You make dreams come true," said Marielle.

The 24-year-old has figured out how to make money flipping her fin as a professional mermaid.

"It's a real job," said Marielle.

But her aquatic career started with mermaid modeling.

"People were stopping by laughing. It was just making people feel really happy. I said, 'How could I share that good energy with people?' And I said, 'Let's start a mermaid school,'" said Marielle.

Three months ago she launched the AquaMermaid Academy north of the border, offering unique swimming classes at three pools throughout Montreal. She says business is booming.

"People are calling me from all over and it's like a tourist attraction now," said Marielle.

"Welcome to the Aqua Mermaid Class. Today three objectives," said Marielle .

Fun, fitness and learning something new, that's Marielle's motto for her adult students. For one hour they trade their legs for spandex tails.

"When your feet come out of the back, you unzip the zipper and you fix it," said one of Marielle's students.

Marielle worked with a mono-fin master and an Olympic synchronized swimmer to develop the low-impact cardio core workout with a fantasy twist.

"The trick is to contract your abs and also to open your fingers," said Marielle.

It's hard to get the full experience sitting on the side of the pool.

Marielle: Did you put the strap behind your feet?

Reporter Jennifer Costa: Yes. Whoa! (laughs)

Jennifer Costa took one for the team, working muscles she didn't even know she had.

But for kids, the draw is different.

"It's a dream. They feel like they are princesses," said Marielle.

Teaching is only part of a professional mermaid's aquatic duties. Marielle frequently slithers back into her 40-pound silicone tail for bachelor, bachelorette and pool parties. She's hired to promote watersports, and resorts recruit her to attract guests.

"I have an odd job but it's the best job for me," said Marielle. "Do what you like, just dream big and do it."

Earning a living making her very own fairy tale.

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