On July 23, I spoke via phone with Eric Ducharme, a merman and mertailor. This year, he was featured on TLC’s “My Crazy Obsession,” which showed his passion for mermaids, creating mermaid tails and swimming underwater at a natural spring in Florida.
According to Eric, he remarked, “When I was a really young kid, my grandparents brought me to a mermaid’s amusement park in Florida, where they had mermaid shows throughout the entire year and they had women swimming around in mermaid tails. Like any other little kid I fell in love and I found something that I was attracted to. I wanted to be in that water, swimming with the mermaids. There was something about it that stuck with me for years. Growing up and going through school, I was extremely artistic and I was always drawing underwater creatures and I was trying to make mermaid and merman tails, in my case.”
Eric added, “When I was about eight years old, my grandmother taught me how to use the sewing machine and I was able to sew my own mermaid tail. Thankfully for her, it allowed me to perfect that and everybody around me realized my talent for sewing these tails. The first ones that I made were actually from spandex material and over the years I was a part of an underwater mermaid camp, where the kids were able to go and learn the ropes of the performers and get their photos taken in tails.”
The Florida native noted that a major inspiration to him was a woman named Barbara Wynns, who was a former mermaid, who assisted him in getting his first tail and subsequently helped him get scuba certified. “I have known Barbara for over 15 years and she is like a second mother to me and she helped me become a performer for the underwater department at Weeki Wachee Springs for many years. After that I quit, and I started my own business where I made realistic mermaid tails at the age of 16, where I experimented with a lot of rubber material and different fabrics,” he said.
Photo Courtesy of Andrew Delozier
Merman and mertailor Eric Ducharme
On being featured on TLC’s “My Crazy Obsession,” he stated, “I was originally contacted by TLC but I was a little skeptical about things, since I am not just some random person that you can pick up from the street and put me on a show about crazy obsessions. I always tell people that for me, this is more of a passion than an obsession. I jumped on the opportunity and they came to my home and my studio and they learned what I did and they took it to the next level and they helped me to distribute it throughout the entire world, so it’s been a phenomenal experience.”
Ever since his TLC debut, Eric’s business has grown exponentially, all over the world. “It has been a pretty successful run for me for sure,” he acknowledged. “All of the emails and contacts that I receive daily from people throughout the world is quite amazing.”
Eric revealed that he recently auditioned for “The Face Off.”
“That was a really fun experience, since I made it through some of the major auditions, but I didn’t make the cut on the show. I am still happy though since I created this empire and I want to continue to keep on building it.”
In the future, he noted that he would love to someday start his own fashion line, as well as his own accessory and swimwear lines. “There are so many directions that I am working on opening up,” he said.
For more information on merman and mertailor Eric Ducharme, visit his official website.