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Student Spotlight: Nicia Brighteyes

How did you first begin your mermaid journey and why? I feel like my journey really started as a little girl. My parents put me in swim classes at a young age because I was always too brave and drawn to water for their comfort. I grew up on the Central Coast of California and my Aunt and Uncle had a beach house in SoCal, so I grew up with salt water in my veins. I stumbled onto the mermaid community years ago but didn’t get my first tail until 2021. It was a birthday gift from my sailor, Troy and the absolute most beautiful piece of art from Finfolk. In 2022 after he passed, I decided to fully dive into making mermaiding a business and attended my first Mermaid Freedive retreat.

What does being a PADI mermaid mean to you? The education I’ve gained from PADI and Mermaid Freedive has made this incredible dream a reality. PADI is such a great organization and they are such a wealth of knowledge. Being able to be one of their mermaids is really an honor. What are you doing with your certifications? My main focus is utilizing the skills I learned for mermaiding. I want to go as many places as I can and explore all of the underwater worlds in my tails. But I also want to use my certifications to help Mama Earth. Whether that’s assisting with kelp forest restoration or aqua farming because these are two passions of mine, I just want to be of service.

What goals do you have in the future? Honestly, I don’t even know. I’ve never been in a position where the world is my oyster like this. Mermaiding has created so many opportunities that I could never have dreamed of. I think I want to build my business to the point that I can drop everything, pack my tails, grab my closest friends and go places that fill us with joy while we create content. I would love to have a regenerative ocean farm and pair that with mermaiding in various ways. I’d love to assist the Oregon Kelp Alliance with kelp forest restoration and be part of their dive team. The book Eat Like a Fish was life changing for me in regards to opening my eyes about regenerative ocean farming so I’d love to figure out a way to work with Greenwave.

What made you decide to go with Mermaid Freedive for your mermaid and/or freedive certifications? I had been following Brandee for awhile and had just been in love with what she does and how she’s so authentically herself. When I had the chance to go on her retreat, it was something I couldn’t pass up. Her retreats are so different from just taking a PADI course with a local instructor. It was my first time fully immersed in the community with likeminded Mers. I’ve never felt more supported in this community.

What is your favorite part about Mermaid Freedive? The community, for sure. And the constant opportunity to attend events! The friends I’ve gained through this community and the chance to see them all together in one setting is so special.

What is your conservation initiative and how do you plan to use it? Kelp restoration, ocean farming, protecting our oceans and helping our otter multiply and thrive. All of it.

How has the mermaid freedive community helped you? I’ve really made the most amazing friends from this group, people that live all over the world who I truly treasure. I had fears of immersing myself in the mermaid community because I’m not the typical type of mermaid you think of. But the retreat allowed me to step into the power of myself and the strength that comes with having thick thighs and all that.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell our audience about yourself and your journey? I really want to stress that we know the Mermaid community will be going through a shift because of the recent documentary. But there is a place for the competitive space and a place for the healing space and they at times run parallel. This community is incredible when you find your soul pod, but don’t become discouraged if it takes some time to find them. Nicia Brighteyes, 36

Myrtle Point, OR


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