We had the good fortune of connecting with MeduSirena W. Marina Anderson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi MeduSirena W. Marina, what do you want your legacy to be?
When I started this line of work in the early 90’s, the idea of a woman swimming in a fishtail for people’s entertainment seen through an underwater viewing window was seen more as a relic of a time gone by.
I’ve always been inspired by underwater venues and shows that took place back in the 1940’s – 60’s. The Golden Age of Tourism.
Fast forward 15+ years later, and the shows are more popular than ever. The Mermaid Movement if you will mega to take root- with new mermaid groups everywhere. “Fishtail” production by manufacturers and crafters now make it easier to find mermaid ensembles. More underwater venues are also emerging; providing opportunities for newcomers in the field to train and perform.
I currently continue to star in and run the legendary underwater shows at the Wreck Bar, also teaching and offering workshops at conventions all throughout the United States. It’s gratifying to help people learn and refine their own techniques in underwater movent. Learning to work in a liquid stage environment is a very important foundation of a professional aquatic performance. I will always make the physical aspects of dance itself the priority in my work.
I’m proud to have played a part in the current aquatic performance renaissance, and in the restoration of this type of venue and entertainment.
As one of the trailblazers of the Underwater “mermaid” movement, I hope to have inspired many to pursue their own artistic ambitions in this field.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My primary interest is in underwater dance, visual art and acting. I also do occasional underwater stunt work, in addition to training models and aspiring underwater performers.
I also emcee, star in, and produce the “MeduSirena AquaBurlesque Swimshow” and “THE AQUAMEN” Underwater Boylesque Swimshow, the only running underwater burlesque swimshows in the U.S.
Back when I started, the concept of an underwater swimshow seemed abstract to those unfamiliar.
It made it a bit of a struggle- not only to find venues that would allow for such a performances, but also to find costumes and equipment; back then they weren’t as easy to find. Most of it I had to make and build. Underwater photographic equipment was also very basic. I had to submerge a fish aquarium and put a camera inside it in order to take underwater shots. This was before GoPros or smartphones.
It was also a challenge to get swim jobs back then, as it seemed to be such an abstract form of entertainment to those unfamiliar.
My ambition was to preserve the forgotten venue as well as the lost art of aquatic performance. When I first approached the Sheraton Yankee Clipper Hotel, they didn’t have much of an interest in having shows at The Wreck Bar, despite the establishment’s history. But they did say that I could come and “practice” anytime.
I did weekly, until the bar began to fill up and enough interest was generated. The hotel reconsidered.
As a result, “The MeduSirena Mermaid Swimshow” at The Wreck Bar began running weekly in 2006.
I had to do it all myself from scratch, from costuming, training, music (via tapes and a CD player) promotions (back then via MySpace) and performing of course.
Initially I started as a solo act. As the swim performances gained popularity, people began to approach and ask to learn and join. Their enthusiasm was encouraging. Before I knew it, I had a small troupe (pod), and the rest is history.
Now The B Ocean Resort, the MeduSirena Swimshows at The Wreck Bar have been central to the hotel’s unique atmosphere, with “AquaBurlesque” performances in addition to Classic Mermaid Swims at the family friendly “Mermaids and Mimosas Sunday Brunch”.
I now have an amazing pod- “AquatiCrew” of swim performers. They are not only good studies, supportive and enthusiastic, but they are also genuinely kind and wonderful people.
Its an honor to now take my experiences and apply them further toward my career, mentoring and coaching others in similar entertainment fields via workshops all over the US.
My particular swim style is very physical- It’s always important to continue to learn and train- it will prepare you for more possibilities.
Luck = preparation + opportunity.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m an old Florida junkie, so I’d recommend places like The legendary Mai-Kai Polynesian restaurant (reopening in 2022!)
The Coral Castle is a fantastic relic.
The Venetian Pools are gorgeous.
Wilton Manors has some terrific restaurants !
Wynwood is fascinating.
The Morikami Japanese Museum
Robbie’s Fish Camp in Islamorada
Ya gotta get an everglades tour- it’s beautiful out there.
Of course THE WRECK BAR at the B Ocean Resort Fort Lauderdale for the AquaBurlesque and The Aquamen adult Swimshows and the family friendly Mermaids and Mimosas Sunday Brunch!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Huge thanks to My MeduSirena AquatiCrew- their love of their craft and support of my work means more than I can ever express. The Wreck Bar staff, DJ Kenny, Mark, Christine, Maria and Felicia, they are every bit as important as the swim show itself.
Nani Maka Maloney – who performed at The Yankee Clipper during its Golden Age – she’s a legend. And always my inspiration.
My fans in the “Mermaid” and “Tiki” scene- both the east and west coasts; for their warmth, support and enthusiasm. They are the current that always keeps me swimming happily.
My husband and son who always support and encourage through smooth and challenging times.
The great Rory Snyder for his sound business mentoring and advice. Kari Hendler for being such an brilliant muse, confidant and advocate for the aquatic arts, and also my fellow trailblazing members of “The Mermaid Trifecta”, trailblazing Swim performers Linden Wilbert and Hannah Fraser.
Lastly, to that little girl who sat at the bottom of the swimming pool, looking up at the surface in wonder. I revisit that memory every time I swim.
Sveinn Photography MeduSirena