Mermaid Crowned MerPalooza Bad Ass Introduces Her Muse and Her Pod

Style Coven caught up with MerPalooza 2012’s Bad Ass Mermaid Chelsea Holifield after what turned out to be quite the successful and controversial event at Wyndham Orlando Resort. (For more on the controversy, see Style Coven Exclusive – MerPalooza 2012 Mermaid Convention Ousted from International Palms Resort in Orlando Florida for Supporting Gay Rights!).

With help and encouragement from her family and her muse (famous Hollywood “tail man” Thom Shouse), Chelsea became enamored with mermaiding, trained to swim with a tail, met her earthly mermaid pod at MerPalooza and was crowned the show’s most bad ass fishy lady.

Held Aug. 11-12, MerPalooza 2012 was the world’s biggest mermaid-themed gathering ever. Hundreds of mermaids, pirates, fairies and other magical and mythological creatures showed up at The Wyndham Orlando Resort for a trade show, swim fun day with pool games, a mermaid pageant and charity event.

We are fascinated by this emerging mermaid trend (even Disney got into the act by hosting a mermaid recruiting booth at the show!). For an insider look at today’s mermaids, here are some excerpts from our deep sea soul searching interview with bad ass Chelsea Holifield.

How did you win the MerPalooza trophy?

I am not a pageant girl, fashion girl or even considered trendy. I have never won an actual trophy and this one means more to me than I thought a trophy could. After a long weekend of being not only the smallest one in the pod, it turns out I am the toughest!

I always carry a knife (and thanks to new mer pal Robin), I had a new knife that I proudly carried against my back the whole time. I’m kind of the edgy mermaid.  I come from a pirate Renaissance faire background and I know how to take care of business. I don’t mind getting dirty or working hard. Because of all this, I was given the nick name Mer-Gyver, which I proudly accepted and now wear as a badge of honor. After busting tail at the MerPalooza trade show, I was given my trophy! Thom gave me the trophy for being a BAM (bad ass mermaid). I worked hard, I kicked ass, and Mer-Gyver was born!

I would never have the opportunities I have now without Thom. Thom is more than a boss. He is my Mer-Papa. Thom teaches us, watches over us and laughs with us. With him and the other girls, we are more than a pod of mermaids: We are a family of mermaids who really love and care for each other


What inspired you to become a mermaid?

I wasn’t inspired by a movie though like most I love (the 90s blockbuster film) Splash. I wasn’t inspired by a loss or tragedy like some in the (mermaid) community who have a story to share. I wasn’t inspired by a person or a place. I was just born with a grand adoration of water. I love the ocean, rivers, streams and pools.

Wherever there is water, chances are I am in it! I am Pisces, I have been swimming since I was two years old and I’ve been a scuba diver since I turned 18. My mother refers to me as her water baby and I was raised with the old stories of mermaids, sirens and sailors.

In fact, I come from a long line of sailors and fisherman. My family sailed and worked the waters of the North Sea in Scotland for many centuries. For many who lived off the ocean and counted on it for survival, just as many of my family gave their lives to the North Sea. Their blood is my blood and I like to think that — though their bodies where never found — they link me to the waters of the North Sea for all times.

I feel the most grounded when I am in the water. There are sounds of silence down there, that make you forget your worries and teach you to listen to the silence of the water world around you. Being a mermaid was just the next step in my evolution. It is another extension of my own being. Being in the water connects me to my family, my element and my heart. I could not think of a more natural thing, than being a mermaid.

What did you need to do to prepare for the tail experience?

Before I was even asked to come to MerPalooza, I was in training. Thom, who knew of my back ground in diving and swimming, wanted me to be a strong swimming mermaid. After a few trips to the shop – after learning and working alongside Thom — it was time to begin my water training.

Thom gave me a large black mono fin and sent me on way. I was confident that this was going to be easy for me. Well, It’s not easy, but it’s not hard either. I could swim slowly and float about easily. As the days went by, I found myself swimming faster, longer, and most importantly, with some grace! After about a month of swimming in the mono fin, I thought I was a bad ass. I could really move with turns, twists and hand stands came easily now!

My favorite new trick was to swim on my side down the length of the pool and twist around to go back! I kept a “dive log” on Facebook, so everyone would know my progress.

Soon after, Thom gave me a lovely green fabric tail to swim in and the first chance I had, I was in the water! Thinking myself somewhat of a bad ass, I thought I had this. I was wrong.

The fabric added more resistance and the tricks did not come so easily anymore. Not to be discouraged, I kept up my training and soon I was back to swimming gracefully! I was not to actually swim in the urethane tail until I arrived at Mer-Palooza. I knew I had to be ready and nothing was going to stop me from being a great swimmer. Every step was important. It gave me a goal and I worked hard to achieve it!

I trained daily by working on my mermaid art and learning from Thom. However, that was not all I had to prep for Mer-Palooza. I ended up as the test mermaid for the new line of mermaid prosthetics, fins, gills, scales, and even webbed ears!

In addition, Thom had an amazing makeup artist, Brenda Salome, come out to do my makeup and turn me into a real creature of the deep sea. I had also created my own scale pasties and large bibbed collar from the old scale pieces pulled from my tail.

What things are in the works for next year?

Everything is coming and going so quickly. Mermaid gigs are coming in and I am looking forward to everything the world has to offer me! I hope to continue to show, sell and create my art. I hope to work as a mermaid and bring a little magic into the world. I always say…Improve, Uplift and Enlighten….so I guess that is what is in the works for New Year!

Style Coven Lifestyles Editor at Large Sheryll Alexander contributed to this story.



Summer Job

Trevor Saylor

Since I have been working all summer, I have been continuing my “Summer Job” series that I posted about previously. A lot of it is done on film but a good number of shots have been taken with my phone as well. I have decided to post some of the iPhone shots here, and will save the rest for when I finally finish up and can edit it sufficiently.


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Amazing article combining two of my favorite things: fashion and mermaids. Nice work.

I am a mermaid

So I had a deep suspicion that my one true love Tim Gunn might appreciate the strangeness and wondrousness of mermaids, and I emailed him and asked if he’d talk to me for a bit about mermaids and fashion for my brand new blog – and this, my very first post. Because as you will see and as this blog becomes filled with wonders over the next many months mermaids are everywhere in our lives and culture, including the bust- and hemlines of the extremely glamorous mermaid gown. And Tim Gunn knows everything. When he agreed, even gallantly claiming to be “honored” by my request, I done fainted dead away and had to be revived with smelling salts. And then the following took place.

I know. He is awesome.

Do you feel that mermaids and mermaidly allure have a place in today’s fashion world?

When we consider…

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Authentic Vodou Priestess Reviews Vodou Style Graphic T Shirts

According to Haitian lifestyle expert, Harold Courlander, a noted American novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist, “Properly used [the word ‘voodoo’] specifies the black magic, witchcraft, mojos, greegrees, love potions, hate potions, etc. that once existed (and possibly to some extent still do) in the American South among blacks and whites alike.” As Mambo Asogwe LaReina explained it to me, Vodou (also spelled Vodoun, Vodun, or Vodu) refers to a type of spirituality practiced today in Haiti, parts of the U.S and throughout the world. It is not a derogatory word, whereas, the word “voodoo” has been overused in the media and has negative connotations. Moving forward, I am now going to use “Vodou” in order to show respect for the practitioners and the spirits. Modern day Vodou Style combines traditional Vodou images connected with the worship of the spirits or loas with current fashion and artistry to celebrate a spirituality and a lifestyle in which the spirits, worship, music, dance and induced trances connect the ordinary human being to the divine. The resulting street style is vibrant, colorful, spiritual, sexy and not exclusive to Vodou devotees. It should be noted that now that vodou is an integral part of the HBO original series, “True Blood” there are increasing numbers of ordinary people who think that Vodou Style is cool. Meanwhile, the authentic Vodoun Community boasts a population of talented artists, designers and craftsmen who should be represented and respected.

In 2011 the award winning Studio City Tattoo sponsored a tattoo t-shirt contest in connection with Tattoo Magazine. Tattoo artists from all over the world submitted designs in the competition and the result was an amazing collection of graphic t-shirts that have become popular among tattoo aficionados worldwide.
Style Coven selected 4 shirts from this collection to be reviewed by Mambo Asogwe LaReina – Yvette Smith ,Vodou Priest, Artist,Seer, Reiki Master – Radio Show Host by Paranormal Investigator (Team Psychic); our resident Vodou Style Expert for the trend we have named “Vodou Gaga” – a street style sported by haute vodouns and voodou fans everywhere.
Here are Mambo Asogwe LaReina’s reviews for this week’s round-up of Vodou Gaga Glam and our own feedback in a girl-to-girl chat about style. We had so much fun that we are definitely going to do it again… and maybe next time she’ll have time to give me a reading!

Skull and Roses

Mambo: (Skull and Roses) “This design has the best Vodou vibe. It definitely has a “Baron” feel to it. The roses around the skull give homage to Baron’s wife Madam Brigit, Ashe! Love this one! Can I have it in an extra small so it’s real tight on me? 🙂 XXX 666 XXX.
Style Coven: “I knew you’d love this shirt! Clay, do we have an extra small left or have they all sold out? This design is sooooooo popular! Wait a minute,Yvette… I’m checking! You’ve got to send us a picture of you rocking this if we have one in stock. Seriously…”

4 Eyed Fortune Teller

Mambo: (Four-Eyed Fortune Teller) “Vodoulicious! I love this fortune teller with her all seeing eyes everywhere and the skull and snake like wrapping. This one I’d wear out in public with big o’ sunglasses and lots of bracelets!”
Style Coven: “My thoughts EXACTLY. I like your style. I have this one in a small and I’m thinking of blinging it out with Swarovski crystals to make it more magick. What do you think?”

Dead Girl

Mambo: (Dead Girl) “This reminds me of a sexy pin-up girl in the style of “Day of the Dead,” but it needs some text like “Dead Girls need love too” to make it pop. In terms of the “cool factor” ranging from 1-5 I’d give it a firm 3, but the style has potential.”
Style Coven: “I have this shirt and I’ve made it more style friendly by having it razored. I cut out the neck and slit up the back so I could tie if from behind and make it sexier. It’s one of my fave shirts to wear with skinny jeans. I guess I could write in the slogan in fabric paint pen if I really wanted to. Hmmmm…”


Mambo: (Unicorpse) “You know, I guess I am just not into unicorns… dead or alive. While I’m told that this was one of the most popular shirts, this design is the least “Vodou” cool in my opinion, because there are no unicorn symbols in traditional Vodou.”
Style Coven: “I had an assistant who literally begged for this shirt to wear to an event. Granted, she was NOT a Vodoun, but a cute little blonde who was into rock ‘n roll and Boho Chic and she just thought it was so pretty.”

Style Coven: Tell you what, your fans can purchase these shirts in men’s and women’s sizes along with the rest of the entire collection by clicking HERE.

Studio City Tattoo will mail them a guaranteed $5.00 dollar rebate after they email their confirmed order number with their mailing address along with the Code: MAMBO by clicking HERE.

About Studio City Tattoo: Winner of Citysearch best of Los Angeles 5 times in a row 2005-2010, winner of Fox LA’s best of LA . Studio City Tattoo has been tattooing stars in Hollywood for 20 years. Many of Hollywood’s top names have come through our doors, Pat Benatar, Miley & Billy Ray Cyrus, Will I am, Kirstie Alley, Cher, Tommy Lee, Slash and Lenny Kravits to mention a few. To go to their website please click HERE.

Mambo Asogwe LaReina

To find Mambo Asogwe LaReina – Yvette Smith ,Vodou Priest, Artist,Seer, Reiki Master – Radio Show Host by Paranormal Investigator (Team Psychic)


Listen to Mambo LaReina every Tue at 11pm est on Tenacity Radio hosting the

“Mystic Seekers Radio Show” To hear past episodes go to archives: