KAIO EXPERIENCE INTERVIEW SERIES N°2 – NOT ANOTHER MERMAID’S TALE
Why do you love being in the water so much? How do you experience water? Supporting your experience of being in the water is our biggest motivation. To understand it better, we explore the bond between women and water through a series of interviews and photo reportages.
“PERFECTION IS WHEN YOU CAN MOVE UNDERWATER WHILE HOLDING YOUR BREATH”
We’re so excited to introduce Cindy Guyot, our new kaio swim ambassador. We’ve discovered Cindy in the media a few years ago, and were fascinated by this woman who is a professional mermaid and a freediver. It took some time to arrange for a meeting with the owner of the Métisphère Swiss Mermaid School, the first school of its type in Switzerland. We finally did so in the middle of August on the beautiful shore of Lake Neuchâtel.
Meeting Cindy was love at first sight. She is the personification of the messages we want to pass and you could listen to her wisdom forever. We wish you as much joy reading this interview as we had doing it. You’ll never think of mermaids the same way anymore.
Cindy welcomed us at one of her favorite locations, just in front of the Musée du Laténium in Neuchâtel. Here you can find the wrack of reconstituted Gallo-Roman ship just 2m below the surface. We had an amazing time taking pictures in and out of the water, talking about good quality swimsuits, cold water swimming, diving with whales and what it means to be a woman. We even put on a mermaid’s tail. An experience we won’t forget!
Kaio swim: Cindy, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you. Thank you so much for your time. Can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us what you do?
Cindy: My name is Cindy, I’m from Neuchâtel and I’m a freediver, passionate by nature, cold water addict, and my profession is mermaid. I don’t really like using the term professional mermaid, but it is the way I earn money so I can pay my bills and take care of my kids. I’m passionate about glamour and beauty, but my real nature is that of a freediver. I think that the spirit of a real mermaid is expressed in her freediver side. Today the imagery around mermaids is very superficial – blond hair, blue eyes, tall – putting on a show. But there is more to it.
In 2015, I opened my mermaid school, Métisphère Swiss Mermaid, as a freediving instructor. In my school you can evolve as a mermaid or a freediver and it’s open to everybody. It’s not only for children, but also for everyone interested in holding his or her breath. Interested in doing something quite uncomfortable and a bit extreme. Although I don’t agree freediving is particularly extreme, but you have to open yourself to become a freediver, so in a way, take some risks.
KS: Were you a swimmer before discovering freediving?
C: Not at all. I was an acrobatic Rock ‘n’ Roll dancer at national level. Swimming was a balance to dancing to maintain my flexibility and counterbalance the hard moves. For me, it was via Rescue Swimming and it led me to freediving through the safety protocols, where you have to hold your breath.
So, after my acrobatic dancer career, I started freediving.
KS: Was it when you fully dedicated yourself to the world of water?
C: Not exactly. I have a technical background, and once my children came, I had to make choices. As a woman you cannot sell yourself. Be 200% with your family, 200% at your job, and more and more. Women are like that, I don’t know any woman who isn’t a perfectionist. So we have to be warriors every day. It’s not recognized – by society or by others. So I decided to live my dream, and make it true and became a mermaid. It’s a very strong message, that here in Switzerland, you can earn your life as a mermaid, raise your children, have a family and have a business. I work hard, but I can say I did it. It’s mine.
Everything I have done in my life, I did with love and passion. Now I can chose. I’m grateful for my past experiences, I thank the universe for that. But now I can do something else; I want to take another way. In fact my technical past is very useful to me as a business woman (e.g. being pragmatic, organized, synthetic), as is my experience as a dancer. I know competition, my body, performance. I was ready to open a sport school, I felt ready to accompany people in their sportive and mental development (e.g. posture, behavior). I always loved sports. And was always passionate by movement. I love to see people move in the aquatic element. How to increase beauty under the water.
Perfection for me is when you can move holding your breath underwater. It’s what nature can offer at it’s best. It’s mechanically so beautiful to see a human being moving underwater. It’s magic. This is mermaiding. The beauty of a human body under difficult circumstances.
KS: This is beautiful and we couldn’t agree more. So in a way, it’s finding balance between the mental and physical sides of the body.
C: My everyday motivation is to aligning both sides.
KS: Can you tell us more about becoming an entrepreneur and what lessons you can share with others who would like to take this path.
C: For that, I really use the skills I have developed throughout my professional career. Like project planning and management. Knowing each step and planning in advance. Although I have a very creative brain. But I have the ability to break down my dreams into smaller projects and steps. Here is my dream? So what do I have to do this month to achieve it? Step by step.
What is key, is that you have to plan for the unplanned. Things that are difficult to manage and things that are surprises. Anticipating that not everything will go as planned, leaving space for the unknown. In my experience, it’s more than 90% good surprises versus bad ones. Allowing life to happen, basically. For example, having this moment with kaio swim was unplanned. But it’s a good surprise and I’ll make space for this experience to happen and take what comes from it. A space for new energy, new people, good vibes. If everything is already set and planned, you have no space for surprises.
Coming back to becoming an entrepreneur, I became a professional mermaid the first time I started earning money with that. Before that it was a hobby.
The first year I earned money, I could appreciate the order of the gift I received from the universe. It wasn’t a real salary, but it was an opportunity that was offered to me. My first gig was a birthday party for a girl and I measured it was the time to grasp that opportunity. I had a job and a family. I had to measure the risks and take the leap. It’s hard, summer is the high season, so we cannot take a vacation, but I’m here for my family when it’s the best for them. I have an overall flexibility I wouldn’t find elsewhere. You have to have good friends, a family who trusts you. And you have to engage. If you do something with your family, you’re fully there for and with them. You don’t stop after 30 min. You have to be loyal to what you have decided to do and to those who support you.
I used to be a performer, but I prefer not to do that anymore. It’s cosplay (N.B. costume play) to me, and this is not what I want to convey as a mermaid. I prefer real conversations and relationships. I don’t want to tell fairy tales. I live my fairy tale, but I want to tell the truth.
KS: Are you an activist mermaid? Breaking the codes?
C: Yes, breaking the codes, an independent mind. I know my path isn’t typical, I have dreams and goals and I believe that atypical people shouldn’t be hiding. Some people try to be different and some are different. I am. And I want to believe that.
KS: We can really relate to you. With kaio, we want to break the codes around swimwear for women.
C: Stereotypes are made by others mostly. If you’re a sporty woman you’re like a man. If you’re a man who is sensitive, you are a feminine man. If you’re a mom at home, you’re an inactive woman. If you’re an entrepreneur, you cannot be a good mom. It’s a shame that these stereotypes are very often carried by other women.
KS: Tell us more.
C: Women can be very critical of other women, women should be more supportive. If you spend time to criticize or to judge, it’s a waste of time and of energy to do something negative. It’s a good advice to say don’t waste your time to criticize other people. Do your best and do your stuff and judge yourself. Be proud of what you do.
KS: What would you say to other women who are very tough on themselves? Many women are passionate, but some are too afraid to start something of their own.
C: I think it’s important to clear your mind and clear your idea. And then, at the same time, you have to clear your emotions. What fears? Fear is something natural and you can work on it. If you clear your mind, you will be able to anticipate what will come, but you have to have intermediate objectives. Now, you have a line of life and you give yourself the means to make it work.
For example, I thought it’s possible to become a professional mermaid. I saw it was possible to earn money with that activity. But to earn money from my activity, I have to be taken seriously. There were parents who were ready to pay for a mermaid course, so I had to be credible and trustworthy. I passed freediving instructor certifications. As a woman or as a guy, this is mandatory. For security and credibility.
I’ve done sport all my life, J+S, recognized by Swiss Olympic, SSI Freediving instructor. Then at Swimsports, I’m lucky to get inspired by Swann Oberson! I’m recognized as someone who works hard and knows what she does.
Finally, my time is the most precious thing I own, so select your energy and your time carefully. Life is quite short, please don’t spend it with bad people or bad vibes. If you have a dream, work for it, but work hard. Show “the universe” that you want to work hard for what you are made for. Life can be nonsense, but it can be wonderful as well.
KS: Thank you Cindy for your trust, your sincerity and your profound thoughts. We look forward to working with you and to supporting you in your next adventures. Cindy, you are a true inspiration for us all!
During the session, Cindy wore the TRIANGLE bikini in Amber, the HALTER swimsuit in beige and in exclusivity for next season the PLUNGE swimsuit in black. Cindy made her amazing mermaid tail herself over countless hours of hand sewing the iridescent scales.