Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Cover Girl - About la Vie Sirene's Premier Mermaid Model

the spark that ignited Siren School
[originally published in la Vie Sirene June 2013]

When considering which exquisite mermaid to feature on our premier issue, the answer was obvious: the girl who first ignited the inspiration for Siren School and ultimately this magazine, Datana Artemis (aka Diana Godin).  A lifetime ago, I took a bellydance class from Diana and was at once captivated by her down-to-earth generosity as a teacher and performer.  Not competitive or showy in the least, she was comfortable enough in her own skin to express her femininity in a way that put others at ease.  Plus, she taught a great and athletic class!

During the cooldown she mentioned something about being a mermaid.  Something clicked within me and I yearned to learn more.  But then my whole life changed and I moved out of town and yada yada, and so Diana's killer class and the notion of mermaiding floated away as flotsam and jetsam on life's turgid seas.

A few years later the idea for Siren School surfaced, spawned by my desire to trade in swimming for 'water ballet,' an activity I'd adored in my youth.  I decided I simply must attend a mermaid lifestyle camp in SoCal, but quickly found that what I was looking for didn't exist.  The revered mermaids of Weeki Wachee offer a beloved weekend event that gives participants an insider's feel for what it's like to be a performer.  But sadly, I was on the wrong coast, and was seeking a full immersion experience into mer lore, outside of the realm of performance.

During the year and a half that it has taken for Siren School to find its fins, I'd never forgotten that mermaidy belly dance teacherwell, except for her name.  Thanks to the wonders of social media we connected, and Diana is now our poster siren, embodying all of the qualities a true siren possesses: grace, humor, guts, kindness, inner beauty, strength... the list goes on and on.  You'll get to see her fabulousness in issues to come, but for now, here is a rare opportunity to hear her speak, as it were.

You are literally the poster girl for Siren School. All modesty aside, what do you think it is about you that resonates with women and makes them connect to their inner siren?

Diana on Twitter ...and sand
I believe its the way I carry myself. I have my bad hair days and skin days, but realizing that you can be beautiful no matter what is what makes us the best sirens we can be. Although makeup and getting your hair styled is fun to do, I like to keep it natural most of the time.

Other than being fabulous, what do you do for a living?

I am a preschool teacher, bellydance instructor, model, full-time mom, and of course, a mermaid performer/trainer.

How did you get into the whole mermaid thing?

12 years ago I met Thom Shouse who created Darrly Hannah's tail in Splash! He actually trained me when I first started and I almost drowned him. Thom has been a very special friend to me since then. Thanks to him, I was able to work with many celebrities and have performed in the most beatiful pools I have ever seen.  Before I met Thom I used to pretend I was a mermaid whenever I took a bath -- even as a teenager!

How has motherhood changed the way you view womanhood?

Ohh man!! Was I a bad kid!!! My mother was right!! "One day you will understand." She always said that when I was acting rotten. And sure enough, at age 23 I had my son, Anthony, and 13 months later I had my daughter, Annalee. When I became a mother life had more purpose and made more sense. I learned what love really felt like -- to love unconditionally.  I am now a 30 year-old woman who embraces being able to grow old.  I run 25 miles a week to keep my immune system flowing, and I don't diet!

You have recently been blessed with a beautiful romance. What has that done for you?

Yes!!! 9 months ago I met Todd Hooper who is a great tattoo artist from Redondo Beach, CA. Todd has helped me a lot! Not only did I learn to love again, but he has helped me to kick booze to the curb. I was never a hard drinker to begin with, but knowing that he has 10 years of sobriety really made me realize that I don't need any alcohol to have fun -- really!!!  I survived my 30th birthday, Las Vegas, and dance clubs without having to take a drink these past 8 months. I have recently been introduced to Buddhism through Todd which he has been practicing for about 10 years. Overall, he has been a very positive influence in our life.
Bellydancers Unite Meetup group

What advice can you share with women who feel they have lost their luster?

Get out there and take my Bellydance class!! Find your inner siren, whether by taking Yoga, Pole Fitness, Zumba, jogging, attending a siren school event or online dance class [editorial addition *wink*]...what ever it is DO IT!!!!

Don't just sit there and wait for something to happen! Make it happen! Find your spark! and keep it lit! Whatever you do, don't put your expectations onto anybody else. Set your goal to make yourself happy and content with who you are and be comfortable wearing your skin.

What are you looking forward to next?

I am looking forward to many more adventures!! Traveling, Performing, and hopefully one day -- actually to be specific -- I would love to have a baby with Todd, but not till around 2020 once I'm ready to pass the torch to my daughter Annalee. She can take my place and one day be a bellydance instructor and a mermaid.  After all, she pretty much is already!