It’s an unusual tail of an underwater beauty pageant with a twist.
Rebecca Latto, 22, is hoping to make a splash in Miss Mermaid UK – a national sealife-themed event designed to raise awareness of the importance of marine conservation.
Rebecca, who will be representing Edinburgh, has been looking for an opportunity to do something different with her life and after seeing an advert for a mermaid camp, she signed up immediately.
“At the camp I learnt skills that will help me as a professional mermaid such as how to swim in a mermaid tail and safely hold my breath underwater.
“It was a great experience and it made me realise that becoming a professional mermaid was an option,” Rebecca AKA Mermaid Becca Blue, said. “People are initially taken aback when I tell them what I am doing.
“They don’t really understand at first, when it comes to mermaids they think of Ariel from Little Mermaid and that it’s not normal but I’ve always had this thing about being different – I don’t like doing what other people are doing and this is definitely unique.”
Rebecca, who is currently working as a waitress at Park Bistro in Linlithgow, took lessons to gain an AIDA certificate in free diving to help towards her dream of becoming a mermaid.
“I learnt techniques to help me to swim for longer by keeping calm – relaxation is a big part of it,” Rebecca explained. “I had to prove I could hold my breath for two minutes while swimming 50 metres.”
Adding a touch of mythical magic to children’s parties, sea-themed events or summer beach parties mermaid bookings are more commonplace in America but a swell of demand in the UK has seen an increase in professional mermaids.
And the pageant is one way for the wannabe underwater entertainers to raise their profile and flip to the top of booking lists.
Similar to beauty pageants the event includes different rounds such as evening gown, beachwear and an underwater photoshoot, where Rebecca will be dressing up as a mermaid – complete with a life-like tail.
If successful she will be put forward to represent the UK in Miss Mermaid International in Egypt. “I would love to win the Miss UK title. I am very new to the mermaiding experience so it would be incredible if I was to be successful.
“I also want to take the chance to support marine conservation. Especially now as there has been so many incidents of plastic in the ocean and the pollution of water. I think everyone can help. Even if they can’t donate but just switching to reusable shopping bags or to stop using disposable straws. Even little things like that can make a big difference. Also a lot of marine life is become extinct because of habitat destruction which could be prevented, people just need to be aware of it.”
“This is a really important cause and if I make it to Miss Mermaid UK – and possibly further to Miss Mermaid International – I can support them further.”
The winner will be picked from a pool of regional champions from all over the country at the Billing Aquadrome in Northamptonshire on July 29.