THIS IS THE TALE OF A ROMANTIC MAN, DOUG, WHO TURNED A SAD AND INSECURE FABOVERFIFTY WOMAN, DENIECE, INTO A MERMAID, AND HELPED HER TO SEE HOW BEAUTIFUL SHE REALLY WAS!
DOUG AND DENIECE ARE REAL PEOPLE, AND THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED.
Deniece had met Doug after coming out of a rough marriage. “Her ex made her feel like she was worth nothing, and she was emotionally beaten down,” Doug explained. She’d say, ‘I am fat. I am old. I am a truck driver with big shoulders.’ She had come to believe those things.”
One summer day, after Doug and Deniece were dating for about two years, Deniece was feeling pretty bad, so Doug suggested they go riding in his convertible. “She barely spoke and I could tell she was really down,” he remembers. They stopped at a small town to wander around and grab lunch. Spotting a cast iron mermaid in one of the shops, Deniece started taking pictures, and her mood improved greatly, Doug recalled. “We had a great day.”
A couple of days later, out of the blue, Deniece sent Doug a photo of the cast iron mermaid. “It had really struck something in her, so I decided to drive back to the shop and buy it,” Doug said. “I left it on her stairs. I was showered with love!”
Since then, Deniece has come to equate her new beginning with mermaids. She has mermaids all over her living room, from mermaid necklaces to a wooden mermaid.
When Doug heard about a North Carolina photographer, named KellyLynne, who specializes in mermaid shoots, he decided to book one for Deniece because he wanted to “make her feel like the loving woman I know she is. To keep her blooming and coming out of her shell,” he told KellyLynne.
The shoot went swimmingly. I recently spoke with KellyLynne to learn more about it and about her business.
How did you get involved with mermaid photography?
I’m primarily a wedding photographer. Have been doing that for 13 years. Originally from Michigan, I moved to Emerald Isle, NC, because my family had been vacationing in North Carolina for three generations, and since I was very little I dreamed of living on its coast.
When I arrived in North Carolina three years ago, I bought a few mermaid tails online and started doing shoots, and then I began making and painting the tails myself. I make them for babies, too. Now I get inquiries from as far away as Australia. I had no idea there was a mermaid craze until after I started my business. I was obsessed with them since I read Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid when I was young and thought women would love the idea.
Why do you think many women like mermaids?
Mermaids are mysterious, beautiful and powerful creatures. Maybe women don’t feel powerful and beautiful enough.
Is it unusual to do a mermaid shoot with a woman over 50?
Deniece was actually the first woman over 50 who did a session.
What was Deniece’s reaction when you started to work with her?
She was very insecure, but I assured her that I’m a very good photographer. I do some ‘nips and tucks,’ but I never make anyone look like they are not. Doug took Deniece to a salon I recommended to do her hair, nails and makeup. After the shoot, he surprised her with dinner at a local restaurant, and had them make her a mermaid cake.
Where do you do your mermaid shoots?
I’ve been photographing weddings out of state for years. I like to go to the Florida Keys for my mermaid shoots. I’ll line up about six people before I travel out of town.
Can you choose any color mermaid tail you want, and do you supply the tops, too?
You can choose a color as long as I have it in your size. I have to constantly retouch the tails with paint since they’re often in saltwater and take a beating. I don’t provide tops. Doug bought the one for Deniece.
How did Deniece’s shoot work out?
This is the email Doug sent me when he and Deniece returned home after three days.
‘Kelly, You were amazing. You instantly took on my passion for the woman I love and made it your own. Everything you helped me with made these last three days less stressful so I could see to it that Deniece had the time of her life.
‘You took a scared and timid woman, and transformed her into a beauty. You were very skilled in getting her to pose. She loved how you spoke to her. But even more, you understood her heart and her fear. You protected her and made her feel wondrous.
‘When you posted the pictures, Deniece trembled, she couldn’t breathe, she was speechless. She started to see what I had been telling her, but still didn’t believe it totally. Then the likes started, as well as the comments saying how beautiful she was. You did that. You helped her heal and transform.
‘When you posted more photos, and the positive feedback continued, you could see Deniece’s pain and suffering melt away. After you posted the third photo, I had a look on my face that she had never seen. It was one of a man in awe of seeing the woman he loved made that beautiful. Later she looked at me and said ‘I am beautiful, aren’t I?’ I broke down. I took her in my arms and we cried together. To see the woman I love heal in front of my eyes brought me a joy I never knew. Your work did that.
‘Deniece sent me this text: ‘You made me believe this: I am beautiful! I am worth it! I am loved!’
‘Again, Kelly, thank you are but two simple words, but tonight they truly come from my heart.’
Learn more about KellyLynne’s mermaid sessions here.