Florida woman celebrates 60 years as mermaid

She stopped performing regularly in the 1960s but continued coming back and still performs with the Legendary Sirens, a group of former mermaids. Smith is the oldest member.

>> Read more trending news

She celebrated 60 years performing Sunday.

"When you become a mermaid and you're 17 like I was, you're naïve you're just a little country girl and all the sudden you're getting fan mail and people are asking for your autograph, it's giddy stuff," she told Bay News 9.

An early highlight for the submarine star was performing for Elvis Presley when he visited Weeki Wachee Springs State Park in 1961.

“He was cute,” she said. “He was cute. But so was I (in) 1961.”

Modern shows are more elaborate and choreographed. Smith recalls simple shows with performers sharing an underwater breathing tube. 

“We had to learn how to eat a banana and drink pop under water,” Smith said. “And I can still do all those things today.”

What’s the secret to her longevity?

"It's about the water and the healing of the water and the magic of the water," Smith said. "It's cold and you don't want to go in, 'Oh I'm going to freeze,' and then once you go in you never want to get out."

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X