Nadya Vessey never actually dreamed of being a mermaid. But then one day, as the lifelong swimmer was taking off her prosthetic legs before an ocean dip near her home in Auckland, New Zealand, a little boy asked why she had no feet. Vessey didn’t explain that she was born with a congenital deformity, or that she lost one leg below the knee when she was 7 and the other at age 16. She told him simply, “I’m a mermaid,” and then slipped into the sea.
Inspired by her own little white lie, Vessey decided to write an e-mail to Weta Workshop, the special-effects company that won four Oscars for its work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. She wanted to know if the artists might consider building her a tail to help her move more gracefully through the water. Cofounder Sir Richard Taylor’s resounding reply: “Yes!” Two years and nearly 800 pro bono hours later, Taylor’s team unveiled a six-foot-long neoprene-and-plastic appendage covered in a Lycra sock that sparkles with digitally printed “scales.” Now, three Kiwi summers later, Vessey says swimming with the tail is finally starting to seem natural—as if it is actually a part of her.
Richard Taylor: “The tail looks so simple in photographs, but it was unbelievably complicated and expensive to make. We had to get its buoyancy exactly right for Nadya’s proportions. And we also wanted the tail to look beautiful and feel feminine. We’re pleased with how it came out. Nadya looks very elegant in it. I imagine that for a double amputee, walking might feel a little awkward. But when she gets in the water, she is free.”
Nadya Vessey: “Throughout my life, whenever I needed inspiration, I’d go swimming in the ocean. With my tail, I’ve learned to swim in a completely new way. I swim faster, and I use my back muscles more. It takes time to adjust to a prosthetic, of course—it has to become part of your body. There’s a mental shift that occurs. A limb fitter once made me a pair of legs that fit so right they made me feel like a ballerina. Once I’ve fully integrated my tail, I expect I’ll really feel like a water creature! But the tail isn’t just for me; I believe it’s meant to bring others joy.”
I’ve put together a simple chart that explains the various ways you should and shouldn’t summon a waiter over to your table, and the service you’re likely to receive accordingly.
Because if one more middle aged, obnoxious asshole goes “hey you!” and snaps their fingers at me, I WILL snap said person’s neck.
I waitressed my way through college and one night this guy yells at me “Oi! you with the tits!” and my co-worker Matthew walked up to him and said “yes?”
I do not want characters that are written to teach straight people that we are “good people” because the logical extension is to blame queer characters (and queer people) for not being good enough.”
He called on parents to take responsibility for their sons’ actions, saying parents must teach their sons the difference between right and wrong.
"When we hear about these rapes our heads hang in shame," Mr Modi said.
"Young girls are always asked so many questions by their parents, like ‘where are you going?’. But do parents dare to ask their sons where they are going?" he asked.
“Those who commit rape are also someone’s sons. It’s the responsibility of the parents to stop them before they take the wrong path,” he added.
Okay, say what you want about him, but this is a big deal. This is Prime Minister Modi’s first Independence Day address since being elected. And instead of using this time to talk about Pakistan, like every other Independence Day speech in the past, he stood up there and talked about INDIA’s need for improvement. And amongst his topics, he talked about rape.
And he didn’t describe it as “accidental” or “boys making mistakes”, and he didn’t state that women need to “dress more dignified”, all of which have been said by other Indian politicians. For once, we’re hearing someone put the blame on the rapist, and actually calling out parents to raise their sons properly. Like everyone else, I’m still hoping Modi isn’t another PM who is all talk.