The world is her oyster

Michelle Roberts professional mermaid
Michelle Roberts professional mermaid
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A Fylde coast woman took a dive into unknown waters to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a real-life mermaid.

Michelle Roberts, 31, discovered her passion for mermaids when she was just a little girl splashing around at her local swimming baths.

Michelle Roberts professional mermaid

Michelle Roberts professional mermaid

Now she takes to the stage as a ‘professional mermaid’ with her own ocean-themed performance company Siren Serenade.

Michelle, who lives on Highfield Road in South Shore, said: “I asked Santa for my first tail when I was eight or nine-years-old and years later my mum told me she and my nana had spent days sewing it together! I absolutely loved it and that’s what started it all for me.

“It was my hobby that turned into my career.”

The former Highfield High School and Blackpool and The Fylde College student worked briefly as a stage performer on cruise ships and pantomime tours after leaving education - but never forgot her childhood dreams of swimming with tropical fish.

A chance encouter with professional mermaid Samantha Siren two years ago inspired her to purchase her own specially-made tail and take her first tentative strokes into the world of mermaiding.

She said: “I can hold my breath for about two-and-a-half minutes. I went to a special mermaid school in Cornwall where they taught us diving techniques.

“I go to pool parties and meet-and-greets and charity events. Sometimes we just sit and take photos, and we sing as well.

“The kids think it’s amazing. Most children have never seen a real mermaid before and the looks on their faces are like: Oh my gosh!

“I can only imagine what I would have been like if I had met a real mermaid when I was little.”

As well as acting and singing, mermaid ‘Merchelle’ must stay physically strong at all times, as her blue silicone tail alone weighs a whopping three-and-a-half stones.

She said: “It weighs even more in the water. You need to be strong to lift it.

“We always tell children not to tie their legs together and jump in a pool because you need to be a strong swimmer.”

Now Michelle is looking forward to flipping her fins on national television, as she stars in a short Channel 4 documentary showcasing ‘extreme’ jobs and hobbies.

She said: “If it goes really well they’ll be doing a full-length documentary.

“People say to you as a kid that you should get a real job. It’s so crazy and they say you can never do it - but why not? I think people shouldn’t write off their dreams just because it’s a bit crazy or different.

“If it makes you happy then go out there and do it.”