Wednesday, June 10, 2015 | 12:02 a.m.
Former Las Vegas casino aquarium mermaid Hannah Fraser, who launched the Luxor and Mirage mermaid pool events, kicked off 2015 World Oceans Day for the United Nations. She recognized the day of ocean celebration and action with a lecture and film in Valencia, Spain.
Her subject, “Turning Fantasy Into Reality and Joyful Activism,” was based on her years of research during her filming and underwater projects across the globe. Hannah, who appeared in the debut Cirque du Soleil “One Night for One Drop” benefit at the Bellagio in 2013, showed groundbreaking imagery to emphasize the connection between human and sea creatures she’s studied for more than a decade.
She has swum fearlessly with tiger sharks, great whites, whales, dolphins, manta rays, whale sharks, seals and many more animals in the ocean. She is credited with inventing a vocation, becoming the first freelance mermaid working as an ocean environmentalist, underwater performance artist and model.
Hannah uses her unique link to the ocean to inspire and educate people on the importance of marine life. She also has been weighted to the bottom of the ocean holding her breath for minutes at a time dancing with sharks, as seen in the video “Tigress Shark.”
“My journey has been a constant process of using my passion to push the limits of what I thought was possible. Everything in the ‘Tigress Shark’ video is 100 percent real with no special effects,” she said. “One of the most incredible experiences was swimming with a mother and baby humpback whale.
“Back on land, my joy began to turn into horror and dismay. I found out that these magnificent creatures, although protected, were still being hunted and killed. I was seeing reefs deteriorating before my eyes, beaches covered in garbage, and, most devastating of all, I was learning of numerous species being annihilated through pollution and over-fishing.”
Many ocean observers suggest that we will have exhausted most, if not all, life in the ocean within the next few decades, which has catastrophic implications to our ecosystem.
“I realized that being a mermaid was no longer just about fantasy and fairytales for me. It was time to take action!,” Hannah added. Her protests at International Whaling Commissions in Portugal, Alaska and Chile were an effort to stop whaling.
She was part of a group who paddled out into the bay of Taiji, Japan, where fishermen who kill hundreds of dolphins every year attacked her. The footage was televised worldwide and featured in the Academy Award-winning film “The Cove.”
As the first freelance mermaid working as an ocean environmentalist, underwater performance artist and model, Hannah creates exquisite mermaid tales and travels the world performing underwater as a mermaid for film, television, advertising, events and environmental activism.
She is currently working with Emmy Award-winning cinematographer Shawn Heinrichs on mind-blowing imagery that captures her connection to marine life in the upcoming documentary “Tears of a Mermaid.” Here’s a YouTube video of her speech in Spain and the remarkable underwater filming of her dancing with sharks.
Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Las Vegas Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Reminiscent of a rustic lodge, this off-the-Strip casino offers something for everyone, including affordable rooms, an array of dining options and family friendly features.
Silverton Casino Hotel is decorated in earth tones, stone and wood, and accented with amber-tinted lighting. The 90,000-square-foot casino includes more than 30 tables games, 1,900 slots, a high-limit lounge, a newly renovated poker room and the Cantor Gaming Sports Book.
One of the resort's most unique features is its 117,000-gallon saltwater aquarium, which houses more than 4,000 sharks, stingrays and tropical fish — and an occasional mermaid. Just steps away from the aquatic wonderland is the flagship 165,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, with everything from hunting, boating, fishing and camping gear.
Surrounding the casino floor is a vast array of dining options, such as the upscale-steakhouse Twin Creeks or the unique Mexican restaurant Mi Casa Grill Cantina.