The Little Mermaid’s Halle Bailey: ‘As a child, seeing a black Ariel would have changed my life’ (2023)

Inside Halle Bailey’s apartment, in West Hollywood, the 23-year-old singer and actor is glowing in the early morning sunlight. This is not interview hyperbole: she really looks as though she is glowing. Rob Marshall, the director of The Little Mermaid, said he cast her as Ariel because she had an “otherworldly sensibility”, and, instantly, you can see what he means. Yesterday, an important package arrived. It contains a collection of Disney merchandise: branded water bottles, shirts, Ariel dolls. This stuff, with her face on it, will soon to be in the homes of countless parents with small children all across the world. “I was astounded at how cool all of it is,” she says, sweetly. “Like, insane.”

Bailey is a Disney star cut from old-fashioned cloth. She is impossibly polite, awestruck by her new life as a Disney princess, ignoring the negativity – more on that later – and seemingly utterly lovely and unflappable, or at least well media-trained, or probably both. She offers opinions, but is careful to balance them out: she misses her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia she says, but, equally, she loves Los Angeles. Somehow, despite the imminent release of a reported $150 million -200million blockbuster that will ultimately rise or fall on her performance as a character already beloved by millions, she is perfectly calm.

The original Little Mermaid came out in 1989, as the Aids crisis raged, adapting the Hans Christian Andersen fairy-tale into an animated children’s film that remains a top five contender in any list of the best Disney films of all time. It has a history of being more subversive than it might initially appear. Ursula, the sea witch, was based on the drag queen Divine, while Ariel’s dissatisfaction with the constraints of her life under the sea have long been viewed as a metaphor for coming out. Or, if that doesn’t work for you, you might prefer to see the film as “a beautiful story about a young woman changing her core identity to please a man”, as the comedian Trevor Noah joked on The Daily Show last year.

The Little Mermaid’s Halle Bailey: ‘As a child, seeing a black Ariel would have changed my life’ (1)

In 2019, it was announced that Bailey had been cast in the forthcoming live-action remake. At 19, she was already a pop star. As one half of the duo Chloe x Halle with her older sister, she had been in the public eye since they became YouTube famous as younger teens. “Suddenly, there are a lot more eyes on me than I ever would have thought,” she says, adding that she tries not to think about it. When news of her casting broke, the racially charged hashtag #NotMyAriel trended on Twitter. It continues to re-emerge when a new trailer or poster appears, with clips or teasers, for example, being strategically “downvoted”.


If we see anything negative about ourselves, of course, it’s going to hurt, or sting, a little bit

Given the extent of the noise, is it really possible not to think about it? “Yeah, we’re all human beings, so if we see anything negative about ourselves, of course it’s going to hurt or sting a little bit, especially remarks like those. I expected it, honestly.”

Her breezy front gives way a little. “I mean, yeah. The world we live in today, just being a black woman, you have a certain awareness that comes with life, in general. So I wasn’t very surprised or shocked. I think it’s just the way that you respond and move, and know that inside you’re worthy, and you’re here for a reason.”

Bailey received widespread public support, including from Jodi Benson, who voiced Ariel in the 1989 film, and Halle Berry, who tweeted: “This means so much! Can’t wait.” When the first teaser appeared in 2022, TikTok filled up with parents filming young black children, astonished and overjoyed at what they saw: this new Ariel, swimming up through the wreckage of the ship, into the light, was black, too. This is what mattered to her. “Because I feel like, if I would have had a black mermaid, that would have been insane, that would have changed my whole perspective, my whole life, my confidence, my self-worth. You’re able to see a person who looks like you, when you’re young? Some people are just like, oh, it’s whatever, because they’ve had it their whole life. It’s nothing to them. But it’s so important.”

(Video) Young Black girls react to Halle Bailey as Disney’s new Ariel l GMA

Who did she look up to when she was growing up? “A lot of musicians, amazing black women who were singers, like Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Janelle Monáe, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé ... ” Her eldest sister, Ski, had Destiny’s Child posters on her bedroom wall. “I remember growing up and feeling like I had a lane I could pursue because of these women. They made me feel confident in the skin I was in.”

Bailey is one of four children. As well as Chlöe and Ski, she has a younger brother, Branson. They are all close. She was raised in Atlanta, and you can still hear traces of the accent. When she was about three, she began appearing in advertisements. “Little print commercials,” she explains. “People would come up to my mom and say, ‘Oh, they [she and Chlöe] should model’,” she says, laughing. “My mom was like, really? Sure. And next thing you know, I’m modelling and doing photoshoots and little commercials in Atlanta and things here and there.”

The Little Mermaid’s Halle Bailey: ‘As a child, seeing a black Ariel would have changed my life’ (5)

Acting wasn’t her main ambition. “Music took over when I was very young,” she says. Halle and Chlöe taught themselves how to play instruments by watching videos online. When they were 11 and 13 respectively, they posted a clip to YouTube, singing Beyoncé’s Best Thing I Never Had, and, later, Pretty Hurts. The videos took off in a big way. In 2012, their viral success earned them an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The whole family moved to Los Angeles, so that Chlöe and Halle could pursue their musical dreams. Their father, Doug, was their manager for a long time, though when I ask if that is still the case today, Bailey says it is not. “Mmm-nnn,” she says, shaking her head. When did that stop? “I don’t know the exact pinpoint for it. A few years ago? Maybe, like, two years ago?” The family ties are loosening: while Halle has made inroads into the Disney world, Chlöe has just released her first solo record.

Beyoncé is a big part of their success story. Chlöe had already played the younger version of Beyoncé’s character in the 2003 film The Fighting Temptations, about a gospel choir in Georgia. When Beyoncé set up her management company Parkwood Entertainment, Chloe x Halle, as they were then known, were one of the first acts she signed, giving those viral covers the official seal of approval. They toured arenas with her as her support act, and appeared in the videos for the album Lemonade. Is Beyoncé a mentor? A friend? “She’s all of the things, honestly. A mentor, a friend, a sister, an aunt,” says Bailey. “I mean, she’s an icon. She’s a legend. And the way that she just carries herself and holds herself – it feels as though she’s normal, like a regular human being. But I’m like, ‘You’re Beyoncé’,” she says, as if in awe.

There are moments when you sit with Beyoncé, and she’s a regular person. But then you see her become a superhero on stage

Even after all these years of working together, you still feel that way? “Yeah, of course! There’s moments where you sit with her, and she’s a regular person, like you and me,” she says, kindly. “It’s cool. But then you see her become a superhero on stage.” In 2020, Beyoncé presented the sisters with a Billboard Rising Star award. “You manage to shine in every room you enter, and I’ll always love you,” she said.

(Video) Why Does Hollywood Keep Doing This?

The Little Mermaid’s Halle Bailey: ‘As a child, seeing a black Ariel would have changed my life’ (6)

Halle was 13 and her sister 15 when they became pop stars. As Chloe x Halle, they have released two albums, though in 2022 they got their own, individual social media accounts, and Chlöe released her solo album, which Halle is quick to plug (“Her album, In Pieces, is a beautiful, beautiful work of art”). I ask if it feels odd to be working on her own, after so long together. “It doesn’t feel odd or awkward at all,” she says, firmly. She is fiercely supportive of her sister, and says Chlöe is the same when it comes to her. “She’s a big part of the reason why I was able to be okay every time I walked on that Little Mermaid set. She came to London with me for the first month, just to make sure I was okay. She was like, ‘You’re good, you can do this’, and then she went back home.” Their “independent journeys”, as she puts it, were inevitable, “but we’re never far away from each other”.

Together, they were nominated for five Grammy awards, worked hard, played the game, toured the world. It meant that Halle essentially grew up in the spotlight. “It’s part of the reason why I feel so at home on stage, because that was my home for a lot of my childhood.”

Has it made her more mature than other 23-year-olds? I imagine not many of her peers were doing their homework on the tour bus, waiting to open for Beyoncé. “I feel more mature in certain areas of life,” she says. Business is easy for her, for example. “I feel like a woman when I’m in those lanes. But something so simple as being at home, or doing errands, I feel like, oh my gosh, this is a big deal.” She pauses. “Because I didn’t have the regular bricks-and-mortar way of schooling, I didn’t go to prom, I didn’t experience those things. So in my personal life, it feels like I’m experiencing a lot of things for the first time.”

Is it a kind of delayed adolescence? “Yeah. You said it perfectly. I guess it’s not just errands. It’s living alone for the first time.” She moved out of the family home three years ago, though much of that time was spent making The Little Mermaid in the UK. Now Chlöe has an apartment in the same building as Halle. “We’re on different floors,” Halle says. “So I have my own space, but we’re not too far from one another.” Chlöe’s cat, Apollo, occasionally makes an appearance on our video call, chasing Halle’s cat, Poseidon, around the room; she is cat-sitting while Chlöe is on tour.

The Little Mermaid’s Halle Bailey: ‘As a child, seeing a black Ariel would have changed my life’ (7)

Domesticity is a new world. “To pay my own bills and keep up with the timings of things, things like that are, like, whoa,” she says. “Or being out at a club with my friends.” Is she able to go clubbing with her friends? “If I wear, like, shades and a mask. In LA, everybody is somebody, so people don’t really bother you. They kind of just leave you alone.”

Bailey was asked to audition for The Little Mermaid after Marshall saw her at the Grammys, with Chlöe, performing Where Is the Love, in tribute to Donny Hathaway. “I didn’t think it would be for Ariel. I thought it would be for one of the sisters, or something.” When she got the script, she realised what role she was up for.

She flew to New York, where Marshall and the producer John DeLuca talked to her about her family, calmed her nerves, and asked if she would rather sing or act first. “I’m comfortable singing, so I was like, ‘Well, maybe I’ll sing first.’ I just closed my eyes, and sang the song Part of Your World, and I remember opening them and seeing them crying. I remember instantly being scared that I had done something wrong.” You thought they were bad tears? “I thought, oh no! Then I realised, quickly, that they had liked it.”

Filming took place at Pinewood Studios, in Slough, about 20 miles west of London. It was supposed to begin in 2020, but almost as soon as Bailey arrived, the pandemic meant filming had to stop. When it restarted, she found she was alone a lot of the time. The city was largely closed. “Everything was shut down, it was almost like a ghost town. I had been staying close to Canary Wharf, by the water. I had said to myself, I want to be by one of the elements, so let me get by the river. That made me happy, to at least be able to wake up and see the water every day,” she says, in what might be one of the most romantic descriptions of Canary Wharf ever uttered. During her spare time, she made jewellery, and briefly set up an Etsy store to sell it. “Then it just got overwhelming. I was like, I have to stop, I can’t send all of these out!”

Filming required her to be in the air more than it did in the water. She was in a harness, pulled up high, simulating a swimming motion. “That’s how you get the sense of, like, I have no legs, and I’m a mermaid,” she explains, sincerely.

(Video) Halle Bailey Surprises Tiny “The Little Mermaid” Fans!

This might be a silly question, but did you have to swim with the tail on? She did not. “But, for example, when I’m pulling Prince Eric on to the shore, for the first time, I had to wear my tail. Because it was all about proportions. You know, she’s very long, and much bigger than Eric.”

Does it feel odd that the film is finally going to be out in the world? “Honestly, yes. I think the delay tricked my brain into thinking: oh yeah, that was a fever dream, that was crazy, maybe it’ll never come out. Now that I’m starting to see the trailers and the teasers, I’m like: who is that person I’m looking at? Wow, she feels so much different to who I am now.”

How is she different? “I was very shy, I almost felt like I was – and still am, in a way – in my shell. And, you know, it took a lot of courage and confidence, and me saying to myself, ‘You can do this’, because I think, as women, we do doubt ourselves a lot.”

She had done some acting before; her biggest role had been on the sitcom Grown-ish, where she and Chlöe played siblings at university, compared in the show to “the twins from Tyler Perry’s The Shining”. But this was something else. She learned a lot, and learned it quickly. Melissa McCarthy, who plays the new Ursula, was a revelation. “She comes on set and says: ‘This is what I need, this is what I don’t need.’ I watched her, and I was like, wow, you can do that?”

“That girl has got roots down and she sings from her heart,” McCarthy told a US chatshow last year, adding that she, too, burst into tears when she heard Bailey’s version of Part of Your World for the first time. “She’s a remarkable young woman.”

At 23, Bailey seems to have fulfilled many of her dreams. After The Little Mermaid, she was cast as the young Nettie in the forthcoming musical adaptation of The Color Purple. She got to go home to Atlanta for a few months to film it. “I guess I’m just trying to adopt certain characteristics about these women that I play, that teach me a lot about who I want to be.”

Given the pressure, I’m struck by how serene she seems. “Really? That’s something that my sister has tried to pull out of me. I feel like with this industry, it’s easy to get caught up in the hoopla, but I always like to remind myself, none of this really matters,” she says, sweetly, gratefully, peacefully, with all the warmth and loveliness that a Disney princess should possess. — The Guardian

The Little Mermaid is released on May 26th.


The Little Mermaid’s Halle Bailey: ‘As a child, seeing a black Ariel would have changed my life’? ›

Halle, who shot to fame as a teen pop star as one half of the duo Chloe x Halle with her older sister, told The Guardian: “I feel like, if I would have had a black mermaid, that would have been insane, that would have changed my whole perspective, my whole life, my confidence, my self-worth.

Is there a Black mermaid in The Little Mermaid? ›

Disney's live-action version of the 1989 animated classic 'The Little Mermaid' hits theaters on Friday. Our Alicia Vitarelli had a chance to chat with Bailey, who says she's ready to give this iconic princess a new voice.

What is the Black Ariel? ›

But then the story changed tack: Ariel as a Black woman, played by Halle Bailey (The Color Purple, Let It Shine), had not won unanimous approval. The phenomenon has a name, “blackwashing”, which refers to the practice of choosing a Black actor to play a character not described as such in the original story.

Who is playing Little Mermaid 2023? ›

Halle Bailey, an actress and singer who was previously best known for her musical career as one half of Chloe x Halle along with her sister, Chloe Bailey, plays the titular little mermaid.

Who is the original Ariel? ›

Jodi Benson, the Original Ariel, Praises Story Changes to 'The Little Mermaid'

What race is Ariel in The Little Mermaid? ›

Ariel (The Little Mermaid)
Age16 (first film by Walt Disney Animation Studios) 18 (second film; prologue only) 30 (second film)
In-universe information
AliasThe Little Mermaid
SpeciesHuman (via magical transformation) Mermaid (originally)
13 more rows

What is the black Little Mermaid called? ›

As turtles swam through coral reefs, an image of a mermaid appears, then Halle Bailey, a Black actress and singer, was revealed as Ariel.

What does Ariel the mermaid symbolize? ›

It's a mythological story that symbolises the initiation of females into the world of men when the father is absent. Mythological stories are maps of the brain and teaches how one should behave in life in order to get what one wants. In The Little Mermaid it is the quest for true love.

Is Ariel supposed to be black or white? ›

In the original animated film, released in 1989, Ariel, a fictional mermaid, is depicted as a white, red-haired woman.

Why did they cast a black girl as Ariel? ›

Bailey would be playing Ariel “because she is a woman of color and I am raising two girls and a little boy of color, and it is so important to have representation so they can be proud of who they are, and be able to have the ability to imagine that anything is possible — even if it is a fairy tale.” “She's Black!

Who is Ariel's dad in The Little Mermaid 2023? ›

Javier Bardem will be playing King Triton, Ariel's protective father and ruler of the sea.

Will The Little Mermaid 2023 be on Disney plus? ›

Watch 'Filmmakers for the The Little Mermaid, the latest installment in the Watch 'Filmmakers for the The Little Mermaid franchise, is coming to Disney+ on July 8th! This new movie promises to be just as exciting as the previous ones, with plenty of action and adventure to keep viewers entertained.

Is The Little Mermaid 2023 a Disney movie? ›

Parents need to know that The Little Mermaid is Disney's live-action remake of its 1989 animated classic. The story is mostly the same, following young mermaid Princess Ariel (Halle Bailey), who falls for human Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) and makes a deal with sea witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) to be…

What color was Ariel originally? ›

In Anderson's telling and the original Disney film, the mermaid possessed white skin. In Disney's upcoming live action version of the story, Ariel will be portrayed by black actress and singer Halle Bailey.

Is Zeus related to Ariel? ›

Since Ariel in The Little Mermaid is Triton's daughter, and according to Greek mythology, Triton is the son of Poseidon, this makes Ariel the granddaughter of Poseidon. And who else is on that family tree? None other than Hercules's father Zeus, who is the brother of Poseidon.

Who is the evil monster in Ariel? ›

Voiced by American actress Pat Carroll, Ursula is a villainous sea witch who offers a mermaid princess named Ariel a temporary opportunity to become human so that she may earn the love of Prince Eric within three days.

What race is Moana? ›


Is Ariel A siren or a mermaid? ›

Ariel, in the Disney animated film, The Little Mermaid (1989), based on the classic fairy-tale by Hans Christian Andersen, is not a harmful creature, but a young mermaid who wishes to become human and join our world above water. Sirens, on the other hand, have different intentions.

What is the African version of mermaids? ›

Mami Wata. Mami Wata is one of the most popular--and powerful--African water spirits. She is most often portrayed as a mermaid, though she has other forms. Mami Wata heals the sick and brings good luck to her followers.

How old is the black mermaid? ›

Now the 34-year-old – who was called the black mermaid at home long before the Disney live action remake of the Little Mermaid elated her by casting black actor Halle Bailey – has taken on the role of bringing more children into the water.

What is the moral story of Ariel? ›

Aside from the mistakes and challenges she went through, she still achieved her goal and got to explore the human world. The lesson here is that if we were to give up during challenges, we would never reach our dreams. But if you try your best, you can succeed. Close your eyes and think of The Little Mermaid.

What is the message behind Little mermaid? ›

The central story of The Little Mermaid is, of course, 16-year-old Ariel's identity crisis. She feels constrained by her patriarchal mer-society and senses she doesn't belong. She yearns for another world, apart from her own, where she can be free from the limits of her rigid culture and conservative family.

What is the story behind Ariel? ›

In Andersen's story, the mermaid is motivated by her desire for an immortal soul, not a desire for love and life on land. When the mermaid saves a drowning human prince, she learns that the love of a human might allow her an immortal soul. The mermaid decides to venture onto land, but her legs come at a price.

Why did they make Tinkerbell black? ›

The reason studios make beloved characters black in the live action adaptations is so they don't have to go to the trouble of actually giving special, brand new unique characters made from scratch to black people.

What skin tone is Ariel mermaid? ›

Ariel was fair-skinned in the 1989 animated film and the fairy tale was written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, but mermaids feature in myths throughout Africa and the Caribbean too.

Who was the first black Disney Princess? ›

Carey Bryson of gave Tiana high praise, calling her both "a fabulous new princess" and "a decent role model". Tiana is notable for being Disney's first black princess. The studio's decision to create a black heroine was met with mixed reception.

Why does Ariel look like her mother? ›

Although Athena is mentioned quite a few times prior to the release of The Little Mermaid III, this is the first time she is actually seen. Athena bears a shocking resemblance to Ariel. They both have a similar hair color and an acclaimed singing voice.

Is Ariel Italian or Danish? ›

Ariel's story really begins in Ancient Greece. According to lore, she is a nereid, one of the dozens of daughters of the sea-god Triton.

What happens to Ariel's mom? ›

Unfortunately, Athena gets crushed by the pirate ship as it hits the rocks, leaving her family utterly devastated. As a result of this terrible loss, Kind Triton bans music in the kingdom and all contact with the human world, leaving the fun and laughter-filled kingdom it once was in oblivion.

Who is Ariel's closest sister? ›

Andrina is closest in age to Ariel, being the sixth eldest of the sisters. She is very social and is known to have a great sense of humor. She brings comic relief to otherwise stressful situations, lighting up movies and books with her charm.

What does Ariel's dad turn into? ›

Triton is transformed into a polyp by Ursula, but is restored to his original form when she is defeated by Eric. Seeing that Ariel is happy with Eric, Triton uses his trident to transform her into a human. Triton is a regular character in the prequel television series, in which he is called by the son of Poseidon.

How much did The Little Mermaid cost to make 2023? ›

$250 million

Is The Little Mermaid 2 on Disney plus? ›

The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea | Disney+ Ariel and Eric must hide their precious daughter Melody's mermaid heritage to protect her from Ursula's vengeful sister, Morgana.

How much money did Little Mermaid make? ›

What day is the new Ariel coming out? ›

As the pro-Halle camp waits to eat good with sweet high-octave vocals from the singer and the antis whine online, Vulture has compiled everything we know about The Little Mermaid ahead of its May 26 release, below.

Is Sebastian a lobster or a crab? ›

Sebastian (full name Horatio Thelonious Ignacious Crustaceous Sebastian) is a crab and one of the main protagonists in Disney's 1989 hit film The Little Mermaid, its prequel film, its TV series, and its sequel.

Is The New Little mermaid appropriate for kids? ›

The Little Mermaid (2023) is rated PG by the MPAA for action and scary images which means some content may not be suitable for kids under 10.

Why is Ariel white with red hair? ›

Disney revealed that animators back then had a major reason to Ariel being a redhead. In 1984, mermaid film Splash was such a big hit, which starred blonde actress, Daryl Hannah opposite Tom Hanks. The team decided that if Ariel also had blonde locks, it would be too similar to Daryl's iconic character, Madison.

Is mermaids in the Bible? ›

Numerous animals, including mermaids, are not mentioned in the Bible.

Is Ariel Poseidon's daughter? ›

Poseidon is the father of King Triton, and therefore the paternal grandfather of Ariel and her sisters.

Who is Zeus half sister? ›

DayThursday (hēméra Diós)
Personal information
ParentsCronus and Rhea
SiblingsHestia, Hades, Hera, Poseidon and Demeter; Chiron (half)
11 more rows

Are Ariel and Hercules actually cousins? ›

Ariel is the daughter of Triton, who is the son of Poseidon, who is the brother of Zeus who is the father of Hercules. Wonder what the holidays are like for this family . . .

Who is the god in Little mermaid? ›

Triton (/ˈtraɪtɒn/; Greek: Τρίτων, translit. Trítōn) is a Greek god of the sea, the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, god and goddess of the sea respectively.

Who turns Ariel into a human? ›

At the end of the film, after King Triton uses his magical trident to transform Ariel into a human, she leaves the sea to live in the human world. She and Eric marry and live happily ever after.

What is Ariel in Greek mythology? ›

"Ariel" has been called an ancient name for the leontomorphic Gnostic Demiurge (Creator God). Historically, the entity Ariel was often pictured in mysticism as a lion-headed deity with power over the Earth, giving a strong foundation for Ariel's association with the Demiurge.

Does The Little Mermaid have any black characters? ›

Disney recently released a trailer for a new live-action film of "The Little Mermaid," featuring 22-year-old Halle Bailey, who is African American, as the lead character.

Who is the black mute mermaid in Little Mermaid? ›

Gabriella is a deaf-mute Latina mermaid who dreams of becoming a singer in Disney's 1992-93 television series The Little Mermaid, which is set between both its prequel and 1989 film. Gabriella's sign language is translated by her octopus friend Ollie.

Was the original Little Mermaid black in the book? ›

1. The little mermaid in the book was white. Here is how Hans Christian Andersen described the little mermaid: “They were six lovely girls, but the youngest was the most beautiful of them all.

Is Ariel the first black princess? ›

In Disney's nearly 100-year history, there has been only one Black Disney princess — Princess Tiana in “The Princess and the Frog,” a 2009 animated feature starring Anika Noni Rose.

Is Ariel the Princess Black? ›

In the original animated film, released in 1989, Ariel, a fictional mermaid, is depicted as a white, red-haired woman.

Who are the hidden characters in Little Mermaid? ›

There are a few hidden cameos in the movie.

Mickey, Goofy, Donald Duck, Kermit the Frog, Mr. Limpet, and the Duke and King from "Cinderella" all make surprise cameos in the film.

Does The Little Mermaid have a soul? ›

However, because of her selfless nature, she is granted a different chance to earn her eternal soul from the daughters of the air: as long as she performs good deeds in her 300-year lifespan as a mermaid, she will rise to heaven upon her death.

Who is the ghost in mermaid Down? ›

Mermaid Down (2019) - Meggan Kaiser as Ghost - IMDb.

What is the moral of the story The Little Mermaid? ›

There's No Dream Too Big or Too Small

Aside from the mistakes and challenges she went through, she still achieved her goal and got to explore the human world. The lesson here is that if we were to give up during challenges, we would never reach our dreams. But if you try your best, you can succeed.

What is the African folklore about black mermaids? ›

Mami Wata (Water Mother), or La Sirene, is a water spirit venerated in West, Central, and Southern Africa and in the African diaspora in the Americas. Mami Wata spirits are usually female but are sometimes male.

What color are mermaids skin? ›

Yes, according to science, mermaids are white because they live under water and have less melanin, which means a lighter skin colour.

What female name means siren? ›

Sereia - meaning “mermaid,” this Portuguese name sounds like the word siren.

What is the oldest mermaid legend? ›

One of the earliest mermaid legends appeared in Syria around 1000 BC when the goddess Atargatis dove into a lake to take the form of a fish. As the gods there would not allow her to give up her great beauty, only her bottom half became a fish, and she kept her top half in human form.

How old do mermaids live? ›

The oceans are far from a safe place, though. Considering the threats of fishing, poaching, environmental pollution, predators and other factors we estimate an average mermaid life to last a few centuries at most. (Of course there are notable exceptions such as Serra Macrourida, who lives for one reproductive cycle.)


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