Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Ulster’s Miss Ireland returns to job as checkout assistant

Miss Ireland Laura Patterson
Miss Ireland Laura Patterson with her mother Violet
Miss Ireland, Laura Patterson, launches the Northern Ireland Tourist Board's new £1m Spring marketing campaign

Ulster beauty queen Laura Patterson has returned to her job as a checkout assistant just months after being crowned Miss Ireland.

The 20-year-old had been forced to give up her job last year because of security concerns but has now returned to work at a supermarket to make ends meet.

Laura’s reluctance to Dublin has led to her missing out on a number of modelling jobs, resulting in a local store having its most glamorous employee back on the payroll.

“They advised me to take the time off because they can't offer me the protection I might need to guarantee my safety,” she said.

Yet the supermarket kept her job open for her after giving her unpaid leave and the law student at the University of Ulster has now returned to her former position.

The previous co-organiser of the Miss Ireland contest, Stephen Saleh, said: “She's back working in part-time all right after leaving it up for a while.

“The fact is she needs to make money and make ends meet. It's better than her sitting at home doing nothing twiddling her thumbs.

“Modelling doesn't pay half as much as people think and a lot of the girls have to get part-time jobs to tide them over.”

Previous winners of the coveted title have included well-known faces including Aoife Cogan, Rosanna Davison and Sarah Morrissey, but Laura has not been as heavily featured during her year as title holder.

“She's only 20-years-old and is a very hard-working girl. The only downside is that she's a homebird and that's conflicting with the nature of her Miss Ireland title as pretty much everything happens in Dublin.

"She would be doing better career-wise if she did live in Dublin but she doesn't want to move.”

Stephen, who is not involved in the 2010 event, revealed how he was actually the one who spearheaded opening up the competition to include the six counties in Northern Ireland — and plans are afoot to continue running it as an all-island contest.

“My attitude is to let them do what they want at the end of the day. A lot of girls out there might think that modelling is something that it's not. But people like Rosanna work very hard for their careers and their profiles and are always doing press calls,” he said.

“The only real issue with having a girl from the country winning it is if they don't drive and have to rely on public transport, they do miss out on modelling jobs.”

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