She has spent hundreds of hours in a pool learning how to swim with a fish-like fin and now appears to look so realistic that she is using her obsession to make cash – as an actor for children’s birthday parties.
Corrine, from Easton in Pennsylvania, said she has been obsessed with mermaids ever since she met Disney character Ariel when she was seven-years-old.
Environmental studies student Corrine now spends her spare time dressing up as a mermaid and even meets up with other like-minded enthusiasts, who swim together in fresh water springs and pose for photos. Corrine said: ‘I met Ariel when I was younger and that just sparked everything for me.
‘As soon as we met and I saw her in real life I knew what I wanted to do. ‘It felt like I was meeting a celebrity and from then on I wanted to be just like that person. ‘To date I’ve spent about $3,000 on costumes. My most expensive tail cost $1,000 on its own.
‘I suppose it is a double life that I lead and I am proud of it. ‘There’s a place called Dutch Springs nearby where lots of us meet up to swim, take photos and live for a while as a mermaid.’ Corrine’s passion for all things mermaids was sparked into life when she visited Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida in 2005 at the age of seven, and met the red haired mermaid princess from the classic 1989 film. Before that, Corrine considered herself a casual fan of the movie, but that meet and greet led to an obsession with the mystery of mermaids.
At the age of 15 and with internet access, Corrine said she came across a fabric maker in Clearwater, Florida, who specialises in making mermaid tails. She said she ‘begged’ her parents for a tail for her next birthday, at a cost of $250. The present from her parents gave Corrine what she needed to spend hours in her local swimming pool, learning how to swim with a mono-fin, just like a mermaid. Corrine, who has a boyfriend, Ezra Rodriguez, 23, said: ‘I just love the mystery of mermaids. Are you a fish or are you a person? ‘I like feeling mysterious and got obsessed very quickly. ‘I started taking it much more seriously when I was 18 and I bought a silicone tail that cost $800. ‘I also started making my own tops because it breaks the bank a little to keep paying for tails all the time.’
Corrine, who currently owns three different mermaid tails, set up the @themaskedmermaid Instagram account dedicated to her hobby in 2017. She now has over 1,300 followers who flock to her page to take a look at magical photos and videos of Corrine and her mermaid pals. Her feed is filled with photos and videos of action shots in the water, underwater swims and typical mermaid poses for the camera. Corrine’s hobby has also led to employment and even takes bookings to appear at children’s birthday parties and charity events in and around northern Virginia.
She said: ‘It all started when I was just practicing in a community pool and I got asked to perform at a party by a parent. ‘I ended up getting quite a few requests and now I just get people reaching out to me on Instagram. ‘When I go along we play water-based games and sometimes I’ll just swim in the pool whilst a party goes on. ‘It all depends what the parents want but wherever I can I try to teach kids about the environment and why it is important.’
Corrine also set up a page on Facebook dedicated to mermaid enthusiasts in her local area. It has more than 200 members, many of whom meet up at Dutch Springs, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for group swims and photo shoots. Corrine added she has travelled far and wide across the states to visit fresh water springs so she can get the best photos and videos for her Instagram page. She said: ‘I am close to fulfilling my dream but I’m not there yet.
My dream job is to work in an aquarium. ‘I am proud of what I have achieved, getting the community together like I have. ‘It’s so nice to be able to meet up with other people who love it as much as I do.’