Legless New Zealand woman swims with ‘mermaid tail’

February 25th, 2009 - 3:12 am ICT by IANS  

Wellington, Feb 25 (DPA) New Zealander Nadya Vessey, who lost her legs in a childhood illness, now swims like a mermaid - thanks to Oscar-winning movie special effects wizards Weta Workshop, according to media reports Wednesday.
The workshop, which won Oscars for their effects on “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, made a mermaid wetsuit for her, complete with fishtail, which she tested in a Wellington pool.

Weta costume-maker Lee Williams said in an interview with Televison New Zealand that she wanted Vessey to be “beautiful and sexy” in the suit, which contains plastic moulds and has hand-painted fish-like scales.

After seeing her swim with it, she said, “It was absolutely amazing. It’s beautiful to watch Vessey swim and to see that dream come true and to be a part of that. I feel quite blessed.”

A thrilled Vessey said the idea stuck with her after telling a small boy who asked what had happened to her legs that she was a mermaid.

“A prosthetic is a prosthetic, and your body has to be comfortable with it and you have to mentally make it part of yourself,” she said.

Oscar-winning Weta Workshop director Richard Taylor said he agreed to Vessey’s request because it was a challenge.

He said the tail had to be not only functional, but it was important it looked realistic. “What became apparent was that she actually physically wanted to look like a mermaid,” he said.

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