Q&A With Co-Owner of Newport Beach’s Once Upon an Island

Heather Sossaman-Burbich is the co-owner of Once Upon an Island, a company that hosts mermaid experiences for kids and adults.
Photograph courtesy of Once Upon an Island

What is Once Upon an Island like?
You get to come in and experience the mermaid life. We have a jellyfish salon where we give makeovers and you can dress up like a mermaid. We really have this all-inclusive experience for any mermaid enthusiasts—children or adults. They can even wear a real mermaid tail and go out on the beach.

Do you also host private parties?
For adult parties, they sometimes want a mermaid swimming in the pool for atmosphere. For a child’s birthday party, a mermaid would come in, entertain, take lots of pictures, do lots of activities, and we also have mermaid tails that all the kids would get to wear and sit in the pool and be a mermaid.

What is the best part about being a mermaid?
I would say really making magic for families. The reaction that you get is unlike anything else. I’m a mom, so for me it’s a really cool thing to see the parents’ reactions, too, and just to make something unbelievable happen for your child. I think that if we could give our kids a unicorn, we would. In this case, you get to give them something super magical that they’ll remember.


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