Meet the RAF girl who has traded in her military gear for mickey mouse ears and spends £25k to live like a real life disney princess
Meet the army girl who has traded in her military gear for Mickey Mouse ears and spends £25k a year to live like a real life Disney princess.
Blonde Jesse O’Neill, 30, from Nottingham, served as an RAF medic for six years – and even completed a tour of Iraq.
But after leaving the military, she has indulged her passion for Disney – forking out thousands on trips to the US theme park and creating her own princess costumes to recreate scenes from her favourite films.
Her obsession started when she was in her early teens and even after joining the RAF as a nurse at 18-years-old, she continued to further her passion for the fairytale stories.
Jesse, a part-time nurse, said: “I’ve always been a Disney fanatic, I love the perfect fairytale worlds they live in.
“Some of costumes can take as long as month to make, like Ariel and Sleeping Beauty, but they’re worth it, everyday clothes like a skirt can be done in a couple of hours.
“Even in the military I was Disney mad I had a lot of memorabilia but I didn’t have the full costumes then – I’ve spent half of my adult life in combats with a rifle and the other half in a ballgown and a tiara.
“People now think I’m a real girly girl but I’ve got a military side too, I’ve been to Iraq and can handle a weapon but also love dressing in Disney costumes.
“One day a month on tour in the the military we’d be able to wear our own clothes, so I’d be wearing my pink clothing underneath my webbing and military gear.
“I’d have a bit of banter with the lads and one even plastered my picture around the camp calling me an ‘combat barbie’.”
Since leaving the military, she now visits Walt Disney World Florida three times a year, makes her own princess costumes and regularly poses for photoshoots trying to replicate her favourite scenes from the films.
Each costume can take up to a month to make and cost her most expensive costume to date Ariel from The Little Mermaid, which is still being made, has cost nearly £1,500 and includes a life-like silicon mermaid tail.
She hopes to sell her costumes full-time through her business Tinkers and Tailor, named after one of her favourite characters Tinkerbell from Peter Pan, and hopes to raise enough money for her Disney-themed wedding in 2018.
Jesse added: “After the making the costumes the fun doesn’t stop there, I do photoshoots where everything has to be perfect from the costume to the location it needs to look exactly like the Disney scene I’m trying to recreate.
“In the next few weeks I’m looking forward to is Meredith from Brave, where I’m going be firing a bow while riding a horse.
“I’ve spent around £25k in one year going to Disney World, making the costumes and the photoshoots one year, it’s a lot of money but you get to create some unforgettable memories by doing something like this.
“I find it really fun to try and bring the character to life with scenes from the film and when I’m old I can look back through my photo album of me with pictures of me as princesses like Cinderella with a glass coach behind me.
“I don’t think I would have been able to get away with the costumes in the military as I wouldn’t have had the space to keep them all.
Since filling her house with Disney memorabilia she’s trying to sell the costumes she’s made full-time and hopes that she can pay for her wedding with her new found profession.
Jesse said: “For my big day I’m going to make my own Sleeping Beauty costume for pictures in front of the replica film castle and Dan will dress up too, despite being more into rugby I think he enjoys being a Disney prince.
“Some people think it’s an unusual hobby but I thoroughly enjoy it and have made some incredible memories so I can’t wait to continue making more.”
You can see her work on www.tinkersandtailors.com