Nurse works 50 hours a week to pay for daughter’s pageant hobby

NHS nurse Sara Taylor insists that working overtime to pay for her daughter’s pricey hobby is worth it to see her confidence grow.

The mum-of-two works around 50 hours a week – typically picking up extra shifts – so 11-year-old Emily can take part in pageants.

Sara, from Grimsby, even caught coronavirus while putting in additional hours – but says she needs the extra money to fork out for various outfits, entry fees, hairdressers and shoes.

In total, the mum spends around £1,000 on every event.

Sara says: ‘I work 37.5 hours in my normal job but I can do anything from 12 to 20 more hours per week when a pageant is coming up.

‘Emily needs multiple new outfits for every pageant as you can’t be seen in the same dress twice.

‘A dress is £200-350 and she requires fashion wear and another dress for the runway, costing £200 or more.

‘I try and do extra shifts at the Covid-19 vaccine clinics and hospital bank shifts to pay for them all.

‘Last year, I worked on Covid-19 wards to pay for the dresses and I caught the virus – but it’s all worth it.’


Emily entered her first pageant aged seven, when she was getting bullied at school because of her red hair.

Sara says that other schoolchildren acted as if Emily was infectious and refused to play with her – behaviour that would often see her end every school day in tears.

However, the pageants have helped Emily’s self-esteem.

The 42-year-old mum adds: ‘I entered her into a pageant to boost her confidence and she has never looked back.

‘She came alive as soon as she stepped on stage and confronted the bullies when she went back to school. She told them she is beautiful and so is her hair.

‘Seeing Emily gleam with pride and stick up for others at school makes pageants so worth it. 

‘Her hair is now her pride and joy.’

Sara has spent approximately £6,000 on pageants in the last four years.

In the most recent one in 2020, Emily won the ‘pre-teen United Kingdom’ title – a competition that cost around £1,355 in total.

Her four outfit changes came to £905, while entry was £275 and a hairdresser and extra shoes were another £100.

Sara says: ‘Pageants are an expensive hobby but I get to see my child flourish so money doesn’t come into it.

‘She is through to the next round which is in Ohio, US, so that will cost a minimum of £2,000.

‘It is worth every penny because I have seen the confidence in her.

‘Emily now knows she can do anything she puts her mind to.

‘I do overtime and work on the weekends to make sure she is happy.’

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