She’s tipped to win this year's show, but Sam Bailey isn’t about to quit her job just yet

X  Factor singer Sam Bailey‘s life may be a whirlwind of photo shoots, red carpet events and live TV performances now, but a few months ago things were very different.

Dealing with suicidal inmates was just part of her daily job as prison officer at Gartree Prison in Leicester.

I never thought I’d be able to cope with people who are suicidal,’ Sam, 36, exclusively tells Now.

But I managed to help them and it’s the most rewarding and liberating thing in the world.

If anyone’s upset, I want to help. Yes, some of the inmates are in prison for horrific crimes, but I’m there to do a job.

‘I’m there to make them better people.

But it’s not like you can just say: “Come on, let’s go to Maccie Ds, that’ll cheer you up!”

‘You have to go about it in a different way and it’s hard.’

It’s not a job many of us would be able to do – and even Sam admits that she struggles: You have to be pretty thick skinned.

‘I’m a bit of a wuss – but as soon as I put the uniform on I become a different person.

‘I feel really assertive.’

Remarkably, even though she’s now on the brink of stardom, Sam insists she won’t turn her back
on those she’s helped.

I’m on a career break at the prison service,’ she says, ‘I haven’t resigned.’

Read more about Sam Bailey in this week’s Now magazine dated 18 November 2013 – download the digital edition now

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