Nadya Vessey is a woman from New Zealand who was born with a condition that meant her legs would never develop properly and by the time she was 16 she had both her legs amputated. However she is a woman with a great inborn fortitude and a lot of humour:
"One day a little boy came up, he must have been about four and he saw me taking off my (prosthetic) legs and he started with the 'why' questions, you know, 'why haven't you got any legs', etc. And I said 'have you heard of The Little Mermaid and he said 'yes' and I said 'I'm a mermaid' and he got this look on his face and he said 'wow that's cool' and ran off to tell his dad."
The idea however stuck in her mind and she found the courage to ask directly to WETA Digital (Peter Jackson's digital visual effects company, famous for having realized the visual effects for academy award-winning blockbusters like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia and King Kong) if they would realize for her a mermaid tail to help her swim. She probably never believed they actually would but their answer was Yes!
Two years of study, eight creative artist, and the masterpiece was ready, a fully-functioning tail complete with a fitted suit, and covered with digitally printed sock with hand-painted mermaid scales.
Nadya was astounded and delighted...
'It was absolutely amazing,' said costumer Lee Williams. '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.'
See Nadya finally swimming like a true mermaid and listen to interviews to WETA artists in the following videos: