Emily Alexandra Guglielmo is the first ever real professional mermaid to be made into a sculpture for The 1000 Mermaids Artificial Reefs Project that exists on the seafloor of Fort Lauderdale beach on the east coast of Florida. This EcoArt project is run by Ocean Rescue Alliance (ORA) and serves as a sustainable destination to promote research and increase the population of aquatic life in the surrounding area to offset human impact.
Emily Alexandra Guglielmo views mermaids as a symbol to represent the great historical connection human beings have to the ocean, so it was written in the stars – or star fishes, rather- that she be a part of The 1000 Mermaids Project. The statue of Emily is an artificial reef created by using a body cast of her real body to create healthy habitats for underwater life as well as promote ecotourism.
Her statue was made by hand by Christopher Xavier O’Hare with Reef Cells, a company that uses digital scanning technology to create life sized human-like artificial reef statues. Chris O’Hare created Emily’s unique mermaid module using new top of the line digital scanning technology and sustainable concrete. “My experience with 1000 Mermaids was hands down completely high class,” Emily states, noting all of the amazingly talented people she had the honor of collaborating with including Evan Snow the Chief Operating Officer of both Ocean Rescue Alliance and The 1000 Mermaids Artificial Reefs Project who expressed strong compassion and dedication throughout the entire development process of Emily’s statue.
The Chief Executive Officer and Director of Research with Ocean Rescue Alliance and The 1000 Mermaids Artificial Reefs Project, Shelby Thomas, M.S. was also, “there from the beginning as well,” says Emily, “to help educate individuals on how the artificial modules work to regrow the coral reef on the statues underwater in action!!!” Emily believes strongly in the benefits of citizen science for marine conservation which is why she was very inspired by the work Evan and Shelby have done. Through the ORA they work with Coral Rangers who help engage others in the local community into joining in on reef monitoring and spreading knowledge about how to help create marine habitats through art and culture that will become historical monuments like Emily’s mermaid statue, as well as healthy homes for aquatic life. “(Shelby Thomas) goes down to help monitor the modules and make sure they have substantial growth every month or so,” says Emily, who is also dedicated to empowering youth and future generations to continue to participate in marine conservation practices.
Overall, Emily Alexandra Guglielmo had an amazing experience becoming the first real mermaid to live on forever in the ocean while providing environmental benefits to the entire seafloor. She encourages others to reach out to her directly if they would like to make an eternal reef for a loved one or company. “Leave your legacy while knowing that you’re helping the ocean ecosystem to continue on,” says Emily.