Rachel Shelley (Brooke)
Rachel Shelley is instantly recognisable to most DIVA readers as The L Word’s Helena Peabody, a spoilt socialite used to getting what she wants. How does it feel to be playing gay again, as Brooke in Different For Girls?
Oh gosh, I wasn’t expecting you to ask me that! What I love when you play gay, you get a set full of women, and I like that. We have a lot of women on the crew, and the cast is predominately female. I love that. It’s a really good energy to be around.
Comparisons will inevitably be drawn between DFG and The L Word, mostly because there are so few series explicitly about the lives of lesbians and bi women. But they are very different. It’s not LA, it hasn’t got that same glamour, and it’s not trying to have that glamour. There are similarities, but it’s got a different tone, a different pace, and it’s much more contemporary.
Brooke is nothing like Helena. She’s a little bit worn down by motherhood. She’s so absorbed by it, she’s lost her identity a bit. If I had to describe her in one word, it would be sweatpants.
DFG is a pure vision. It’s not watered down, or hyped up. It doesn’t have to tick boxes like, ‘ We need a sex scene! We need bare breasts here’. And Brooke is kind of like me and who I am these days. My daughter is seven now so I’m not quite in that world anymore, but I definitely recognise Brooke as a real person, and someone that I can see in myself. A person so unexpectedly absorbed by motherhood.
The other day I took my daughter to school. I got home and then went to go meet a friend to play tennis, and it was only then when I met them at the court that I realised that I had my sweatpants on back to front, inside out… I looked like I had really hairy legs with all the seams. I’d stood outside school chatting! No one had said anything. That is a long way from Helena Peabody.