Real life 'mermaid' devotes her lifestyle to saving deadly sharks and manta rays

Have you ever seen a real life mermaid? This fish out of water makes a splash wherever she goes.

Hannah Fraser (aka Hannah Mermaid) is an underwater performance artist and ocean activist, who embodies the the life and soul of the mythological creature. Not only working as a model and an entertainment performer, Hannah puts her life on the line as she swims with sharks, whales, manta rays and other marine life in an effort to inspire ocean conservation around the globe. Check out the unbelievable photos above, or watch video of her mermaid endeavors below.

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Born in Byron Bay, Australia, Hannah says she was obsessed with mermaids since an early age. Soon enough, she was inspired to become a real mermaid after seeing the romantic comedy, Splash (1984), which featured actress Daryl Hannah in the role of 'a real mermaid.' At the age of 9, Hannah made her first mermaid tail, out of a plastic orange tablecloth with pillow-stuffing, which she used to swim in her pool until it fell apart after six months. It wasn't until her mid 20s did she start creating her own, high-tech mermaid tails.

Hannah has since embarked on a lucrative career as a professional mermaid, being featured on the front cover of magazines, in music videos, and even in a children's book, "Last Night I Swam with a Mermaid." The underwater celebrity dedicates a percentage of her earnings as a mermaid toward ocean conservation charities.

Capable of free-diving up to 50 feet below the ocean surface on a single breath of air, Hannah says she can hold her breath for up to two minutes. Her work has been featured in numerous documentaries, including the Academy Award-winning expose on dolphin abuse, The Cove (2009).

"This is a lifestyle, not a job," said Hannah. "When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is to start breath hold training."

Devoting her entire lifestyle to being a mermaid, Hannah has trained in yoga, deep breathing and maintaining an extreme personal fitness routine in order to transform her body for the aquatic life. The extraordinarily imaginative photos that have come out of a results of this transformation have gained her worldwide fame and over 100,000 followers between Facebook and Instagram.

Teaming with with world famous photographers, the fantastic and groundbreaking images are painstakingly crafted to bring awareness to marine threats, such as over fishing, pollution and sonar testing.

Think those sharks were photoshopped? Think again.

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Emmy Award-winning cinematographer Shawn Heinrichs shot this underwater performance art piece with Hannah dancing among a swarm of tiger sharks, without any protective gear, as a protest against shark culling in Australia.

"The message of this shoot is not 'hey everybody, jump in the water, take off your mask and fins and hug a tiger shark.' That would be stupid," said Heinrichs in the behind-the-scenes video. "Our message is to actually expose this animal as the sentient and intelligent creature that it is, deserving of protection and respect."

Hannah and Heinrichs have been instrumental in helping campaigns to change governmental protection laws for manta rays and sharks. "We aim to engage seaside communities in protecting their local ocean animals and eco system by education, and inspiration," said Hannah.

Together, with Heinrichs and other high-profile filmmakers, Hannah is currently working on a feature documentary, Tears of a Mermaid, documenting their work and struggle to promote marine life conservation.

Hannah performs for live audiences.

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In 2011, Hannah worked under contract for the Atlantis Paradise Island resort in the Bahamas as a live performer, dazzling audiences as a real mermaid in a series of aquariums. The resort claims that the aquariums compose the world's largest open air marine habitat.

Hannah Mermaid swimming with even more sea creatures.

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Shot in Tonga, Indonesia and Australia, Hannah swims with whales, turtles, seals, dolphins and other marine life.

Follow Hannah:
Her website

Photos used with permission.

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