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Netflix's MerPeople

Mermaid Sparkles

Earlier this week, Netflix released their new docu-series MerPeople, which gave some insight into the world of mermaiding. I asked the Windy City Merfolk Pod to give their opinion on the new series, so you can learn what people in this community actually thought about it!

Sarah- I love the opening. Showing the struggle and reality. Oh, the eye pain .. felt that one. pH is such a killer and my eyes wept for them.

Love that they showcased more than skinny white mermaids. I love that we showed the world that mermaids are more than what used to be shown. The training we go through and the strength we need are really shown in this episode.

Mermaid sparkle: I feel for her and this to Me is an example of why experienced and professional performers are worth being hired over newer performers with no 'mentor' to teach them those hard lessons. I feel bad for her though like the filmmakers really wanted to pry on her misfortune and make her seem more inept than she is. They could have focused more on her performance and her ability to connect with the kids. She clearly has personality but I would worry by showing her tail malfunction they could really hurt her brand. It makes me sad for her in a way that reputation is everything and the documentary makers chose that angle.

My boyfriend aka mertender elite was excited to watch this his biggest takeaway was "finally people on a wide audience will really appreciate what you do for the reason I appreciate you...they will see what you go through"

Major flaws: I would love to of seen the discrepancy in this episode between groups like circus siren pod and pods that are not as rigorous. To showcase that there are a variety of mermaid groups and companies that offer a variety of performance styles and abilities. I feel it showcased the: if you want a 'good' mermaid then you need to go to an elite company who have the skinny, pretty girls and the drilling boss or you are not getting quality. Which we all know that is not true. They should have explained why her company is like that (mainly the tank situation).

Overall review: I really liked it. I love that they show how hard it is and what dedication we have. I do wish they would have talked about PADI and other mermaid certification courses. So many ppl are going to get into it now, and that is great but it's dangerous. It would be awesome if they gave information on safety courses. I wish they focused more on Che. I feel like they started strong with portraying her, then showed her struggle with circus siren pod auditions...and that is where they left her. She does so much. I also feel like they portrayed that if you are skinny you are fit and physically able to do it well. If you are heavier you can't be a top athletic mermaid. We know that's not true.

I love the variety of mermaids showcased. It was a good representation of our community minus they didn't show many mermen who have larger bodies. A lot of rather athletic-looking men. Much like women male presenting mers also get held in the 'you have to be skinny and fit' stereotype. They showcased female-presenting mers of everybody but why not males?

Overall I liked it and I think it's great to open the door for muggles to understand us more and be able to ask questions.

The Blixunami

Brenden- OK SO I am one episode into the Mermaid documentary, and I really like it so far! It feels representative of the segment of the community I’m part of, and Morgana's feelings about mermaiding as a danger art is similar to my own views. I’m glad it’s not a Tiger King situation, which was one of my concerns going in.

I was surprised that it was a four-episode series instead of one long documentary, but I like it. It makes our community more accessible - which hopefully means more mermaids! I probably would have known this if I’d paid more attention to the trailers haha.

I am SO HAPPY they put a spotlight on the early mermaids at Weeki Wachi. We all know that it was (and is!) a landmark for mermaids. These ladies paved the way for us today, and I don’t think their stories are familiar to most folks. The dangers they faced early on were eye-opening. One event described was similar to a more recent death in the community.

My heart breaks for Sparkle. Her story is a real one for a lot of landlocked mermaids, and seeing her massively expensive mythic tail break during a gig made me physically gag. And with no backup! But that’s real life. I’m glad it got resolved, and the kids had an amazing time. I hope her story is counterbalanced in a later episode with more positive successes because I know she’s an amazing mermaid.

I’m interested to see more of Ché’s storyline. Having met her recently, I only know her as one of the best in the industry - but this was recorded a little before I met her. Seeing this part of her journey is inspiring.

I hope we see more tail makers. Having been to the Mermaid Aquarium Encounter this past year, I loved seeing it built. It’s definitely impressive, and the shows today are great. I loved seeing the difference between his and Circus Siren Pod’s auditions. I wonder if they’ll mention that Weeki Wachi and Mertailor’s Mermaid Aquarium Encounter are just 30 minutes apart.

I liked Episode 2! I am SO HAPPY Sparkles got her accolades. She worked so hard, and I’m thrilled that her hard work paid off.

The spotlight for MerMagic Con was on point. I hope they explore the convention further because last year was so much more than just auditions for Circus Siren Pod. Morgana’s own journey is illuminating and shows how hard-working and scrappy she is shining a light on exactly what it takes if you’re going to be full-time in this industry.

Loved seeing other folks in the community like Merman Icarus get a cameo - though I do wish we knew more about their contributions to the community (like Icarus being a maker, others being a hobbyist, etc.)

I wanted more Ché!! But she had a moment, and the fierce training and determination were on point.

I appreciated Blix and Red River Merman getting more of a spotlight. A LOT of people in the community find healing in this hobby - whether it’s from past trauma, addiction, or just needing the meditative calm the water brings. Blix brings something unique with his music, and I enjoyed Red River Merman’s training at Mertailor under Barbara’s tutelage. I want to see more of her!!

Our own Mermaid Emily's tail being worked on by Eric the Mertailor

Kylie- I loved that they showed the former Weeki Wachi Mermaids doing their thing IN the water, and not JUST reminiscing. If anything, I would have loved to see more. Seems like it's like riding a bike.

I just finished it and I thought it was great! It was very insightful and accurately captured the atmosphere of the community. I loved seeing people I've met and geeked out about how closely it hit home.

The focus was on professionals and the performance side of things, but I do wish they had shown more of the safety protocols. I didn't see anyone breathing up or doing recovery breaths, so I feel like the freediving aspect was kind of lost. Morgana's safety concerns were important, but it could have really driven the point home if they had mentioned CPR certifications, or the need to swim with a buddy/safety diver. You call it a danger art, but don't talk even mention the precautions we have to take? I wonder if the producers cut that stuff because it's too mundane?

Otherwise, I loved seeing Mertailor's journey beyond the posts I had already seen. Where was Finfolk? I thought it was strange that they weren't even mentioned when listing off the biggest tail makers.

Overall, I'm going to tell everyone I know to watch it because I feel like it would give them a better idea of wtf I mean when I use "mermaiding" as a verb. I have a feeling that this, along with the release of the live-action Little Mermaid, is going to increase interest to a level we've never seen (Mertailor already said their website crashed). Our little community is now exposed to the wider world, and it'll be interesting to see how it continues to develop in the next few years.

Laura- My overall opinion is it has a lot of emotional moments that touched on some things we can all relate to. I wish they would've had more diversity as fair as tail makers, I'm a huge die-hard fan of Weeki Wachee mermaids and the circus sirens. I also wish they would've included more things on the safety aspects since that's something we're always trying to get through to people of any age.

Bre- I love seeing the journeys and hard work of fellow merfolk. Watching them chase their dreams was very inspiring. We often see each other online but don't really get to deep dive into each other's personal stories. It was cool to get to know these merfolk on a deeper level. I loved that they included different ages, body types, and skin colors. Ioved seeing the old-school Weeki Wachee mermaids. I do wish they would have shown pods around the country. Something other than just a few of the more popular merfolk. I think more tail creators should have been highlighted. I do wish they also highlighted mermaids using their platforms for causes and education. Our community is more than just beauty pageants and performing. I hope they choose more seasons to highlight other merfolk and different aspects of mermaiding.

Our own Mermaid Emily in the background of MerPeople

And myself, Emily- for me this was definitely a long-awaited release! I was first introduced to the documentary at MerMagic Con 2022 as I was there when they were filming. You can even see me in a few clips of the event in episodes 1 and 2! There were a few "almosts" for me as well, as I was one of the people who applied to attend the Circus Siren auditions (where Morgana's rule of "No Dead Mermaids" came in), almost made it to AfroMermaid '22 (I was there in '21!), and almost on that cruise (a certain announcement is currently on hold in that area.) I am also friends with many of the mermaids featured, such as Sparkles and Blix (who actually did the group mermaid art featured in our shop!). While watching with my family, there was a lot of- that's so-n-so, I met them at _, that's the guy we talked to at Mertailor and he teaches your friends' kids swimming lessons, etc etc. So overall- it was just a really cool experience. I am really hoping for a Season 2, and if asked I would 100% participate!

I would have liked a bit more of a look into the safety aspects of it, and how there really are years that are put into this, it isn't something we just say we want to do and just but a $5000 tail and jump in the water and hope for the best. It was somewhat mentioned, but maybe not stressed enough that it's not just work, there's quite a bit more that goes into it. Especially for someone like me, running a company, designing apparel, training my performance team, starting my school, finding a location, training that staff, insurance, connections, and then the non-professional part of it, like the pod, social activities, swims, keeping everyone included and engaged, and so so much more.

But yes, overall I loved it!

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