Rachel: un­likely Os­cars queen

From Hol­lyoaks to Hol­ly­wood

Heat (UK) - - This Week -

It’s safe to say that Rachel Shen­ton is no longer liv­ing in dop­pel­gänger Ch­eryl’s shadow. The ex-hol­lyoaks ac­tress sur­prised us all last week when she and her fi­ancé Chris Over­ton walked away from the Os­cars with one of the cov­eted stat­uettes.

Their film, The Silent Child, won the ac­co­lade for Best Live Ac­tion Short Film, and when col­lect­ing the award on­stage, Rachel signed her ac­cep­tance speech af­ter a prom­ise made to Maisie Sly – the film’s six-year-old deaf ac­tress.

The short film tells of a young deaf girl who es­sen­tially lives a silent life un­til a so­cial worker, played by Rachel, teaches her to com­mu­ni­cate through sign lan­guage. Chris – who also starred in a few episodes of Hol­lyoaks in 2010 – di­rected, while Rachel, from Stoke-on-trent, wrote the story, which is based on her deeply per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence. When she was a child, her fa­ther lost his hear­ing overnight – be­lieved to be a side eäect of chemo­ther­apy he was un­der­go­ing. Of the dif­fi­cult ex­pe­ri­ence, Rachel noted, “I saw what huge eäects deaf­ness has on a fam­ily and a per­son. It gave me the im­pe­tus to learn sign lan­guage, got me in­volved in the deaf com­mu­nity and I have been ever since.”

Rachel ap­peared in Hol­lyoaks from 2010 to 2013, play­ing Mitzeee Min­niver, and her Ch­eryl-es­que looks were of­ten com­mented on. Speak­ing to heat last week, Hol­lyoaks’ exec pro­ducer Bryan Kirk­wood re­vealed how proud the team are of Rachel. “Ev­ery­one is just de­lighted,” he said. “She’s such an amaz­ing tal­ent, thor­oughly de­cent, charm­ing and sweet.” Bryan added that the cast and crew were aware of Rachel’s amaz­ing work within the deaf com­mu­nity and that she even helped out on set with the young deaf ac­tor who played Os­car Os­bourne.

Friends and fans of the 30-yearold ac­tress went wild when the news of her award broke, in­clud­ing Rachel’s old Stoke neigh­bour, Rob­bie Wil­liams, who tweeted, “So proud of you duck!”

Af­ter a whirl­wind Os­cars night, Rachel and Chris headed to fast food chain In-n-out Burger, where she re­vealed that their new tro­phies may just have ended up with some ketchup on them.

Well, you can take the girl out of Hol­lyoaks… ■ KATIE HOL­LOWAY

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