Student plays mermaid and fights cancer

By Emilie McQueen, Staff Writer

Published in print Sept.24,2014

It’s been noted that ninety-five percent of the ocean is still undiscovered, thus it’s completely legitimate to believe that mermaids do exist. Ariel Caligan, a full time art student at UNCG and a part time mermaid knows all too well what hidden mysteries lay undiscovered.

“There are all kinds of magical creatures that lurk around the unknown,” said Caligan, who has decided that with her luscious red locks, natural pearl birthstone and photography skills, that she can totally pull off the “Little Mermaid” look in her mermaid costume as people come up and take pictures with her.

After heading out to the beach one weekend, and a successful experience while playing mermaid, Ariel realized that her skills needed to be used for something more than just fun.

After interacting with so many kids and seeing how amazed they were by her newfound self, Ariel decided to make a charity event out of it. She has chosen to participate in the Tate Street Festival on Saturday September 27 and expose herself as a mermaid to anyone and everyone who would like to have their photo taken with her, all proceeds and donations going to The Brenner’s Children’s Hospital.

“I decided to pick the Children’s Hospital for my place of donation because I wanted to be able to also go there and visit the patients dressed up as a mermaid,” said Caligan. “Most of these kids don’t get to have a normal childhood and it can be hard to stay cheerful and dream a little. So I wanted to use one of the unique tools I have to make that a little better for them.”

“The Aerial View” was created from a play upon Ariel’s first name, and from the logo of a mermaid reaching out to the edge of the water to touch a bird. Ariel had been running a photography service of her own before the project, but her friend involved in the New Media and Design program helped her create the whole idea.

“I have a really strong love for photography and being able to capture the perfect little moment with a child,” said Caligan. “When I was a child, I inevitably thought I was a mermaid because of my name and my birthstone being the pearl, and I always loved being something more than everyday normal.”

Ariel has been impersonating a mermaid going on six months now. Hoping to continue her act for as long as she can, she has acquired the help of her roommate and best friend to help as she takes on this charity event. She is confident that there will be more events like this to come.

The Tate Street Festival is Greensboro’s oldest annual street festival, obviously held on Tate Street. The festival will feature live music, original art and craft vendors, local businesses, food, and much more.

“Ultimately, I really want to be able to give something back to these kids, life is all about the smiles and having fun,” said Caligan. “Also, I think that even my older guests can have fun and give back while we both take part in the process.      

My wish is for everyone to come and see me at the Tate Street Festival and that we can make one little difference together.”

Categories: emilie mcqueen, Features

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: