"A prosthetic is a prosthetic, and your body has to be comfortable with it and you have to mentally make it part of yourself," says Nadya Vessey, who now has the prosthetic of her dreams.
Vessey, who lost both of her legs from the knee down as a child, dreamed up her ideal prosthetic —a mermaid tail—after a young boy asked her what had happened to her legs. "I'm a little mermaid," Vessey replied. The idea stayed with her, and prompted her to write a letter to the world-famous Weta Workshop, the Wellington, New Zealand based special effects company responsible for the Lord of the Rings films. Vessey didn't expect a response, and was shocked when Weta agreed to make her the tail.
"She was very patient. We haven't always been able to fulfil some requests. We were engaged in it pretty quickly because it was a challenge," says Richard Taylor of Weta. According to the Dominion Post, "The suit was made mostly of wetsuit fabric and plastic moulds, and was covered in a digitally printed sock. Mermaid-like scales were painted by hand." The realism of the tail was apparently very important to Vessey, who, as Taylor notes, "actually physically wanted to look like a mermaid."
Upon completion of the tail, Nadya was able to take it for a test swim, which can be seen here:
"It was absolutely amazing," said Weta costumer Lee Williams of the swim, "It's beautiful to watch Nadya swim and to see that dream come true and to be a part of that. I feel quite blessed."
Mermaid Dream Comes True Thanks To Weta [Stuff.Co.Nz]