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Daily Inspiration: Meet Hope McAlister

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hope McAlister.

Hi Hope, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
In 2013 I began my journey with the United States Marine Corps. After a short time in, and a few life altering circumstances, I began searching for distractions anywhere I could find. I stumbled across a mermaid photo on Instagram and seen that if these people could be mermaids, then I could be too. I’ve always been a strong swimmer as a part of the swim team for 5 years and with swimming in my blood, I was able to feel right at home in a monofin. Once absolutely confident in a monofin, I upgraded to a starter tail, which felt amazing. A short time after swimming with the starter tail, I was able to upgrade to a professional grade tail. During this time however, I began gaining weight and really struggling with my self esteem. But I eventually learned that I was my harshest critic, as the people I performed for -mostly children- only saw me as this magical mermaid. This was a huge turning point for me, as I was able to start accepting myself as I was. After a few years of learning to appreciate myself again, I dropped 110 lbs, became so much healthier mentally and physically, left the military after 4 years, and continued to perform as a mermaid. Mermaiding saved me, in so many ways, now I want to continue sharing that magic with everyone, to radiate that same joy and hope they gave to me.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No! I gained a lot of weight, hitting my heaviest at 300 lbs. I struggled hard with severe depression, anxiety, and joint pain.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m a full time EMT, part time lifeguard, and work part time in construction. I’m also an aspiring athlete, competing in obstacle course races ranging from 3 miles to 13 miles, as well as an endurance athlete. My goal is to eventually compete in an iron man, with one marathonaand one half marathon already under my belt.

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: @mermaid_luna.belle

 

Image Credits
Savannah Seeger @simplysavannahaart

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