Rachel: unlikely Oscars queen
From Hollyoaks to Hollywood
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