'I'm a junior doctor by day and a professional mermaid in my spare time'

Yasmin Awan works as a junior doctor – but has a double life.

When she’s not at the hospital, she works as a qualified mermaid – going by the name Athena Storm.

The 28-year-old spends most of her time at Aintree Hospital in Liverpool in the major trauma unit – but first took interest in being a mermaid six years ago.

So now, as well as saving lives, she also performs at kids parties and weddings.

Yasmin runs her side-hustle business, Aquatic Mermaids, with her best friend and has even taken to aquarium waters with sharks using a monofin.

In order to qualify for the job of professional mermaid, she had to learn to hold her breath underwater for a prolonged period of time.

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According to Yasmin, this can be for up to four minutes at a time – and she eventually hopes to use these skills to visit the Maldives and swim with whale sharks.

The 28-year-old, from Neston, Wirral, said: ‘When I was doing my MA, I was working late in the library and procrastinating online.

‘I found an advert which said “learn to be a mermaid” and went and did a weekend.

‘It’s a huge part of my life now.

‘I used to separate my life into being a doctor and being a mermaid, but it’s all one.

‘Junior doctors have tricky rotas, if I’m on call or on lates I can’t do as much as I would like.’

Yasmin has both a rubber tail and a fabric tail but she makes all of the tops for her mermaid outfits herself.

‘They have to be safe for marine animals, so I sew every sequin on,’ she said.

‘People don’t think being a mermaid is very complicated but it’s not just dressing up.

‘I had to learn to hold my breath for an extended amount of time. It’s all very technical but people don’t realise it.

‘It’s really special, what I do makes a really positive difference. Children think I am real so to give them that magic in their life. I know I’m one person so I can’t change the world, but if I can change one person’s world, and give a child a bit of magic, I am making the world a bit of a happier place.

‘It fills me with life and with joy.’

She’s even taken part in the Miss Mermaid competition and has been approached Alder Hey and Sheffield Children’s Hospitals to do charity events for them.

Yasmin said: ‘We do beach cleans where I bring a blow up clam, and kids get a “wish crystal” if they bring me some rubbish.

‘If you start instilling positive messages young, children really respond to it.’

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