Nadya Vessey was born without the ability to swim well.
She was born with a rare condition that meant that her legs would never develop so by the time she was 16 both of her legs were amputated.
Forward to today and Vessey is in her fifties and swimming just like a mermaid. In fact she could be a mermaid. The New Zealand based Oscar winning Weta Workshop, which was also behind the stunning visuals in 'The Chronicles of Narnia' and 'King Kong', created a working mermaid tail for her so she could swim.
"I never had a fantasy to be a mermaid. I am still getting used to it because it requires you to swim in a different kind of way.
"Children sort of go 'oh, a mermaid.' People who like it more, I think, are adults," Vessey said.
According to the Telegraph:
"Miss Vessey approached Wellington based Weta with the ambition of making a tail that was both practical and beautiful and is delighted with the finished article.
She added: "A prosthetic is a prosthetic, and your body has to be comfortable with it and you have to mentally make it part of yourself."
According to the Weta Workshop web site:
"Every aspect of the tail has been custom made to Vessey's body using a blend of 3D modeling and milling technology, combined with Vi Vac vacforming, and a poly carbonate spine and tail fin. The skin of the tail has been made from a layer of neoprene and a lycra outer-layer digitally printed with a stunning ‘scale' pattern, that was designed by one of our concept artists.
Weta has donated staff time and expertise into make the tail, and Vessey has been able to cover the costs of the materials from a grant that she received from the Kerr-Taylor Foundation Trust.
Click HERE to view more photos of the unique prosthetic tail.
Click HERE to watch a television news report from New Zealand about Nadya Vessey and her mermaid's tai.