Rachel Shenton EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Hollyoaks star details her Hollywood takeover and winning an Oscar

She inspired thousands across the globe after walking on stage to collect her gong for Best Short Film (Live Action) at the Oscars in 2018. 

And Rachel Shenton has now confessed in an exclusive chat with MailOnline that her incredible success in Hollywood was ‘never really part of the plan’ after she initially went to LA for a ten-day holiday – which inevitably led to her award season triumph. 

The former Hollyoaks star, 31 – who is currently fronting an amazing initiative with Sainsbury’s which has seen the food retailers unveil the UK’s first signing store in Bath – has also detailed her starry night at the Oscars, claiming that despite her hard work she never expected to him and suffered from ‘imposter syndrome’. 

'Very grateful': Rachel Shenton, 31, has now confessed to MailOnline that her Hollywood success was 'never really part of the plan' after she initially went to LA for a ten-day holiday

'Very grateful': Rachel Shenton, 31, has now confessed to MailOnline that her Hollywood success was 'never really part of the plan' after she initially went to LA for a ten-day holiday

‘Very grateful’: Rachel Shenton, 31, has now confessed to MailOnline that her Hollywood success was ‘never really part of the plan’ after she initially went to LA for a ten-day holiday

It has been over a year since the British actress was applauded by Hollywood’s biggest stars as she collected her Academy Award.  

Rachel was first set on the path to Oscar glory after watching her beloved father, Geoff, struggle to communicate when he lost his hearing two years before his death in 2001.

His plight inspired Rachel, his only child, to learn sign language and eventually spurred her onto write her 20-minute film, The Silent Child, which tells the story of a deaf girl born into a silent family who struggle to cope with the condition.

Despite the moving, and much needed story-line – which was directed by her husband Chris Overton – Rachel confessed exclusively to MailOnline that she was ‘never expecting the praise’.

‘I don’t know if you can ever expect it,’ she stated. ‘I had all the insecurities that everyone had. I definitely had ‘imposter syndrome’ (when an individual doubts their accomplishments) while filming it, and on the night of the Oscars.’

'Signsbury's': The former Hollyoaks star is currently fronting an amazing initiative with Sainsbury's which has seen the food retailers unveil the UK's first signing store in Bath

'Signsbury's': The former Hollyoaks star is currently fronting an amazing initiative with Sainsbury's which has seen the food retailers unveil the UK's first signing store in Bath

‘Signsbury’s’: The former Hollyoaks star is currently fronting an amazing initiative with Sainsbury’s which has seen the food retailers unveil the UK’s first signing store in Bath

Exciting! The ex Hollyoaks star has also detailed her starry night at the Oscars, claiming that despite her hard work she never expected to him and suffered from 'imposter syndrome'

Exciting! The ex Hollyoaks star has also detailed her starry night at the Oscars, claiming that despite her hard work she never expected to him and suffered from 'imposter syndrome'

Exciting! The ex Hollyoaks star has also detailed her starry night at the Oscars, claiming that despite her hard work she never expected to him and suffered from ‘imposter syndrome’

‘I thought to myself, “I’m not a writer, I’m an actor, shall I just stick with acting?” I had all of those kinds of things running through my head – but I’m glad I stuck with it!’ 

However, despite her fears, Rachel ploughed ahead and wrote the short film in her bedroom, without financial incentive and crowdfunded the project for nine months – before eventually filming it with a budget of £10,000.

The effort certainly paid off, and last year the Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire native found herself mingling with the A-list at the Oscars – an experience she described to MailOnline as ‘incredibly surreal from start to finish.’   

‘We were with all of our team and we just felt a rainbow of emotions. I don’t think any of us really thought we’d win! We were enjoying just being there and just kept thinking this was a crazy brilliant experience to have. 

‘I just told myself to focus on enjoying it and then they called our name! The rest of the night was a blur!’ the brunette enthused. 

'You can never expect it': Despite the much needed story-line for The Silent Child - which was directed by her husband Chris Overton (Pictured)  - Rachel told MailOnline that she was 'never expecting the praise'

'You can never expect it': Despite the much needed story-line for The Silent Child - which was directed by her husband Chris Overton (Pictured)  - Rachel told MailOnline that she was 'never expecting the praise'

‘You can never expect it’: Despite the much needed story-line for The Silent Child – which was directed by her husband Chris Overton (Pictured)  – Rachel told MailOnline that she was ‘never expecting the praise’

Path: Rachel was first set on the path to Oscar glory after watching her beloved father, Geoff, struggle to communicate when he lost his hearing two years before his death in 2001

Path: Rachel was first set on the path to Oscar glory after watching her beloved father, Geoff, struggle to communicate when he lost his hearing two years before his death in 2001

Path: Rachel was first set on the path to Oscar glory after watching her beloved father, Geoff, struggle to communicate when he lost his hearing two years before his death in 2001

Rachel was no doubt surrounded by array of Hollywood’s elite, however admitted that while she met the likes of director Steven Spielberg, she didn’t really have time to get star-struck.   

‘We were just on our journey – to fly the flag for the film. We did all the necessary interviews along the red carpet. Our main focus was our lead actress, Maisie Sly – who is deaf and was six years old at the time! 

‘Maisie (now 8) was unfazed by the entire evening. It was wonderful having a six year old at the Oscars who was just asking where the snacks were!’ 

Maisie, from Swindon auditioned for the role after her parents replied to a post on Facebook appealing for a deaf child who communicates entirely through sign language.

The youngster plays Libby, a deaf child born into a hearing family who struggle to cope with her condition.

Rachel was also commended for her signing during her Oscars acceptance speech, and speaking to MailOnline she was adamant that she’s been ‘signing for such a long time that it felt normal. 

‘It wasn’t a big deal for me and made perfect sense with our little lead actress in the audience. I didn’t want her to take her eyes of the stage to watch an interpreter.’

Plot: His plight inspired Rachel to learn sign language and eventually spurred her onto write her 20-minute film, The Silent Child (pictured) which tells the story of a deaf girl born into a silent family who struggle to cope with the condition

Plot: His plight inspired Rachel to learn sign language and eventually spurred her onto write her 20-minute film, The Silent Child (pictured) which tells the story of a deaf girl born into a silent family who struggle to cope with the condition

Plot: His plight inspired Rachel to learn sign language and eventually spurred her onto write her 20-minute film, The Silent Child (pictured) which tells the story of a deaf girl born into a silent family who struggle to cope with the condition

Big night: The effort certainly paid off, and last year the Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire native found herself mingling with the A-list at the Oscars - an experience she described to MailOnline as 'incredibly surreal from start to finish'

Big night: The effort certainly paid off, and last year the Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire native found herself mingling with the A-list at the Oscars - an experience she described to MailOnline as 'incredibly surreal from start to finish'

Big night: The effort certainly paid off, and last year the Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire native found herself mingling with the A-list at the Oscars – an experience she described to MailOnline as ‘incredibly surreal from start to finish’

Despite her incredible success, Rachel has revealed that she never quite planned for her Stateside takeover.

Rachel states: ‘I actually went out on the States on a ten day holiday with friend. Had a couple of meetings while I was there. I didn’t plan on making the move, then I got the job! (Switched at Birth) I’m very grateful. 

‘That’s the reason why I moved full time because of job. It was very daunting but it was super lovely being there, especially as a Brit!’

Speaking further about bagging the role of Lily Summers in Switched at Birth, Rachel explained: ‘I was like all the other jobbing actors. I had a meeting with the team from Switched at Birth. I loved the show so much and had seen it before. 

‘I was very lucky that meeting went well. The show did exceptionally well, five season and won a lot of awards!’

'No big deal': Rachel was also commended for her signing during her Oscars acceptance speech, and was adamant that she's been 'signing for such a long time that it felt normal

'No big deal': Rachel was also commended for her signing during her Oscars acceptance speech, and was adamant that she's been 'signing for such a long time that it felt normal

‘No big deal’: Rachel was also commended for her signing during her Oscars acceptance speech, and was adamant that she’s been ‘signing for such a long time that it felt normal

After five seasons the show was cancelled in 2017, and Rachel noted: ‘Of course everyone were sad when it ended. But I guess when it was over it gave me the opportunity to come home to the UK and be with my family. It was very bittersweet.’ 

Rachel has been active in the acting business for fifteen years with a number of gigs in shows such as Holby City, Doctors, Waterloo Road.

However she hit the big time as wannabe glamour model and WAG Mitzeee Minniver in Hollyoaks from 2010 and 2013 and has now praised the soap for ‘being a great training ground to move on in the industry.’ 

Meanwhile, Rachel is proudly fronting an incredible initiative with Sainsbury’s – which sees them unveiling the UK’s first signing store in Bath from July 18 to 21, as part of its 150 Days of Community initiative.

Colleagues in the store will be receiving lessons from the British Sign Language (BSL) lessons, delivered by local signing school I Can Sign.

'Very daunting as a Brit': Despite her incredible success, Rachel has revealed that she never quite planned for her Stateside takeover

'Very daunting as a Brit': Despite her incredible success, Rachel has revealed that she never quite planned for her Stateside takeover

‘Very daunting as a Brit’: Despite her incredible success, Rachel has revealed that she never quite planned for her Stateside takeover

Campaign: Rachel is proudly fronting an incredible initiative with Sainsbury's - which sees them unveiling the UK’s first signing store in Bath from July 18 to 21, as part of its 150 Days of Community initiative

Campaign: Rachel is proudly fronting an incredible initiative with Sainsbury's - which sees them unveiling the UK’s first signing store in Bath from July 18 to 21, as part of its 150 Days of Community initiative

Campaign: Rachel is proudly fronting an incredible initiative with Sainsbury’s – which sees them unveiling the UK’s first signing store in Bath from July 18 to 21, as part of its 150 Days of Community initiative

Customers will be able to see colleagues sign several common words and phrases when interacting with customers, while helpful screens in the store will demonstrate how to say simple food words. 

Speaking of the campaign, Rachel gushed: ‘I am so proud to be part of this initiative by @sainsburys. To celebrate their 150th birthday, colleagues across the UK have been given the opportunity to volunteer within their local community

‘Inspired by a lovely employee (Shanna) and lead by store manager (Paul) the Bath store have decided to become the first ever signing supermarket. Transforming the store for the next 4 days giving employees and shoppers the chance to learn basic sign language – working with local organisation I CAN SIGN to make sure they’re getting it spot on! 

‘This is the only SIGNSBURYS store but moving forward all staff nationwide have the opportunity to learn basic BSL. I’m in the store again today and it’s super exciting to see so many people getting involved. Well done @sainsburys and everyone who helped make this happen♥️.’

Good cause: Colleagues in the store will be receiving lessons from the British Sign Language (BSL) lessons, delivered by local signing school I Can Sign

Good cause: Colleagues in the store will be receiving lessons from the British Sign Language (BSL) lessons, delivered by local signing school I Can Sign

Good cause: Colleagues in the store will be receiving lessons from the British Sign Language (BSL) lessons, delivered by local signing school I Can Sign

Incredible: Customers will be able to see colleagues sign several common words and phrases when interacting with customers, while helpful screens in the store will demonstrate how to say simple food word

Incredible: Customers will be able to see colleagues sign several common words and phrases when interacting with customers, while helpful screens in the store will demonstrate how to say simple food word

Incredible: Customers will be able to see colleagues sign several common words and phrases when interacting with customers, while helpful screens in the store will demonstrate how to say simple food words

Link hienalouca.com

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