Mehgan Heaney-Grier
Mehgan Renee Heaney

(1977-08-26) August 26, 1977 (age 46)
Occupation(s)Fashion model, free-diver

Mehgan Heaney-Grier (born Mehgan Renee Heaney; August 26, 1977) is an American champion freediver, fashion model, actress, conservationist, and TV personality.[1][2]

Early life

Heaney-Grier was born in Duluth, Minnesota to Bill and Renee Heaney. Her parents divorced when she was six years old.[3] When she was eleven years old her mother remarried to Nelson Grier and in the summer of 1989, Heaney-Grier, along with her sister Erin, mother and new stepfather moved to the Florida Keys. When she was 16 years old, she legally changed her last name to Heaney-Grier.


Heaney-Grier on record setting freedive 1997
Free-diver Mehgan Heaney-Grier swimming while wearing a mermaid tail.

In 1996 at the age of 18 Heaney-Grier established the first constant weight free-diving record in the United States with a dive to 155 feet (47 meters) on a single breath of air. The following year she beat her own record with a dive to 165 feet (50 meters),[4][5] When she set her second US record, the women's world record for free diving was 204.5 feet (62.3 meters).[3]

In 1998 Heaney-Grier captained the first United States Freediving Team to compete in the World Cup Freediving Championships held in Sardinia, Italy.[6] In 2000, Heaney-Grier was inducted as part of the inaugural roster into the Women Divers Hall of Fame.[4]


Heaney-Grier has modeled for, and been featured in, numerous catalogs and magazines including People, Outside, Life, Vogue Japan, Abercrombie & Fitch. She has also been a public relations ambassador for Omega Watches.[7]


In the late 1990s, Heaney-Grier partnered with her diving trainers, Manny Puig and Mark Rackley (who was at the time also Heaney-Grier's boyfriend), filming underwater encounters with animals such as alligators and sharks.[8] Rackley had worked as a spearfisherman and underwater videographer,[3] and Puig had experience as an animal handler on movie sets[3] and had learned how to ride and handle alligators in their environment.[8] Together with Heaney-Grier, they formed a company named Extreme Encounters, and the footage they produced led to the Animal Planet series titled Extreme Contact.[3] The 20-episode series featured the trio in cage-free encounters with sharks, alligators and other aquatic wildlife.[9] They also worked on a USA Network one-hour special titled "Deep Diver: Tiger Shark Odyssey".[2] In 2002, Heaney-Grier went on to other projects.[2]

In 1999 Heaney-Grier had a guest-starring role as a free-diver on an episode of Baywatch, and a starring role on a UPN movie of the week, Avalon:Beyond the Abyss, produced by Viacom Productions. Heaney-Grier has been a featured guest on the Late Show with David Letterman, London's TFI Friday, Primetime Live with Anderson Cooper and Ripley's Believe it or Not. Heaney-Grier also hosted Saturn's Gravity Files, covering the Gravity Games in 2004, and the Mad Fin Shark Series for ESPN in 2008.

In 2015 Heaney-Grier co-starred as a member of a 5-person exploration team on the reality show Treasure Quest: Snake Island, which documents the search for the legendary Treasure of the Trinity on Snake Island, Brazil.

Stunt work

In 2003, Heaney-Grier was sought by the director of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Gore Verbinski, to perform an underwater stunt for Keira Knightley.[10] Heaney-Grier has also performed underwater stunts, including scuba diving, free diving and working with sharks, as a stunt double for Jessica Alba and Ashley Scott in Into the Blue, and for actress Olivia Wilde in Turistas.

Other work

Heaney-Grier was featured in the books A Family of Women by Carolyn Jones.[11] and Freedive! by Terry Maas and David Sipperly,[12]

Personal life

Heaney-Grier married Silas Binkley on June 6, 2010. For seven years she has been the guardian of a rescued wolf-dog hybrid named Rontu,[10] and they are in the process of becoming a registered team for animal-assisted therapy work. Heaney-Grier graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2011 with both a B.A. degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a B.A. in Anthropology.[4][13] They have one child together, Cash, born 2013.


  1. ^ Moss, Ben (2009-02-24). "The Bionic Woman".
  2. ^ a b c Carter, Kyle (2008-04-07). "For The Love of Water". Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  3. ^ a b c d e Tresniowski, Alex (1997-09-08). "Diving Belle". Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  4. ^ a b c "Woman Divers Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  5. ^ "History of Swimming Section". Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  6. ^ Jones, Tobias (1998-05-17). "Generation X-treme". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 2022-05-12. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  7. ^ "The OMEGA Seamaster Apnea". Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  8. ^ a b Nielsen, Kirk (1998-01-15). "Do Not Try This at Home!". Miami New Times.
  9. ^ "Extreme Encounters Episodes". Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  10. ^ a b Shine, T.M. "Water Woman: Meet Meghan Heaney-Grier: model athlete, mermaid".
  11. ^ Jones, Carolyn (1999). The Family of Women. Abbeville Press. ISBN 0-7892-0338-3.
  12. ^ Sipperly, David (1998). Freedive!. Bluewater Seadivers. ISBN 0-9644966-1-5.
  13. ^[self-published source]