An underwater entertainer said she decided to put on a fishtail after she became tired of her work in marketing.

Hana Chelache, 33, from Harpenden, now works as a digital content writer. But in her spare time, she enjoys dressing up as a mermaid and is invited to children's parties.

Mrs Chelache - also known as Mermaid Isla - ventured into the world of "mermaiding" more than two years ago after finding a society of mermaids online.

She has undergone free-diving training which means she can hold her breathe underwater for long periods of time through psychological and relaxation techniques.

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Hana Chelache, 33, began dressing as a mermaid more than two years ago photo: Paul Dale Photography

Mrs Chelache said: “What really surprised me when I started is that the children believe the illusion. When I started I did meet-ups with a fin that was just made out of fabric and some of them thought I was real - the fin was quite unrealistic.

“One child came up too me saying they had never seen one before and gave me a hug. They are immediately drawn to me apart from a few who have inquisitive minds and don't believe I'm real.”

The 33-year-old will be taking part in the Miss Mermaid UK competition next month in hopes she can represent the UK in Miss Mermaid International.

There are several rounds in the which cover talent, evening gowns and mermaid-based skills such as underwater modelling.

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Hana Chelache is to compete in Miss Mermaid UK in October photo: Photography by Steve Millard of Apneists UK

Mrs Chelache believes the community she is a part of is very supportive and has received positive feedback from friends and family.

She said: “They have a welcoming attitude to everyone. But there is a common conception saying you have to look a certain way to do what I do.

“You don’t have to look like a Victoria Secret model, mermaiding is just a way for people to express themselves and have imaginative fun to break away from reality.

“I was really embarrassed at first when I put mermaid pictures online but the majority of the response has been nice.

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Hana Chelache underwater dressed as a mermaid, photo: Bog Frog Photography

“My dad loves what I do, making the children laugh at parties and my mum has told everyone that I'm a mermaid."

After the pageant, she hopes to continue her part-time entertainment work but also swim and model in aquariums.

She added: “My advice for anyone who wants to become a mermaid is to make sure you have safety checks such as free-diving training and to swim with a buddy when you first start.

“But most importantly do not let insecurities hold you back. It is more about how you express yourself and to make you feel good in how you look.”