Rachel Shenton is best known for playing Mitzeee on Channel 4's soap, Hollyoaks. Having made a splash on our screens playing Mitzeee in 2010, Rachel has become a much loved character playing a huge role in many of their leading storylines. Before taking up the role, Rachel led the way playing a part in a web TV series 'Sofia's Diary' and filmed a leading role in a new vampire web drama, Blood and Bone China.
Kim O'Meara caught up with Rachel to find out about her love of Mitzeee, acting and growing up with dogs.
Tell us about your dog - we'd like to know everything about her!
Well, I have a long-haired white German Shepherd called Cassie, she's a 4 year old girl. She's a rescue dog. We adopted her when she was 6 months old from a German Shepherd rescue. She'd been neglected and very bady treated, she was a real bag of nerves when we first brought her home and it took some getting used to knowing how to handle to make her feel at home. She was so scared of any noise - the hairdryer, doors closing – anything really.
It took about 18 months before she got back on track. It's only in the past few months she's started to bark – before that she didn't make a sound. It's so funny, normally we'd have told our other dogs 'Shut up, it's only the postman' but when she first barked we were all smiling that she'd found her voice.
She's still very much a baby though, I think we've mollycoddled her because of what she went through before we adopted her, and in trying to get her to come out of her shell.
She won't even go out in the rain, we're always saying, 'Come on Cassie' and she looks at us like, 'well if you like it so much you go out!'
When did your interest in pets/animals begin and how long have you been a pet owner?
We've always had German Shepherds, there's lots of pictures of me as a child growing up with our family dogs. They were always black and tan German Shepherds, Cassie is our first white GSD.
We've never been without a dog and when we decided to get another we went to a breed rescue and asked them to let us know when they had a dog under a year old in their care. They knew we had breed experience and told us about Cassie. I was working so my mum went to meet her and said she couldn't leave her, so that was it!
Being long-haired she's always been very fluffy, erratic – but fluffy! She's great, we wouldn't be without her.
You've been playing Mitzeee on our screens since 2010 in Hollyoaks, what do you love most about the character you play and did you think when you first started she would grow and be involved in as many of the major storylines as she has?
I really love playing Mitzeee. She's great, she does and says things people want to say, but daren't. She wears her heart on her sleeve and you have to give her credit for that.
You've said you're really happy where you are just now at Hollyoaks and it seems like the cast have such a bond so we can see why. Before you joined the cast, you worked on Blood and Bone China, a new vampire web TV series. Tell us a little about that.
I play Anna Fitzgerald and it's great to play characters that are so different, in Anna and then Mitzeee. I think you get into this business to play as many different characters as possible, it helps you grow.
Being a web TV series is great aswell, in the time of a recession with finances as tight as they are in the TV and film industry then it's a great way to get the word out, get people talking and watching.
A few years ago I was part of 'Sofia's Diary', it was a popular web TV series ultimately picked up by Five, so I think web TV is just moving with the times.
Do you have a motto that you live your life by? What would you say Cassie's motto might be?
I'm not really one for mottos but I do believe in make the most of every day and every opportunity and there's a saying 'I'd rather regret the things I have done than the things that I haven't.'
If you were to swap roles with Cassie for a day, how do you think she'd cope being you and what would you most love about being her?
(Laughs) Well, I don't think she'd cope very well being me to be honest. Today, on the way to your photoshoot she cried all the way there. I have a Mini, my mum has a larger car, but we were in mine so she was sitting in the back of mine and just crying all the way so I don't think she'd cope that well being me!
I think I'd love to be her though! Who wouldn't love to be fussed over, fed and just loved to pieces.
For this question, we ask our celebs to match up the following people’s personality to a breed of dog, for example, Winston Churchill = Bulldog or J.Lo = Afghan Hound, Frank Bruno = Boxer etc. If the following celebrities and dog lovers were breeds of dogs, based on their personalities alone, what type of breed do you think they'd be...
Cheryl Cole – (Laughs) Oh, well I think she's be a miniature Poodle. She's small, glamourous and has good hair.
Jamie Lomas – (Laughs) Well I think he'd be a Bulldog. He's quite muscly and his bark is worse than his bite. He can be quite fiery, when he has something to say he can seem like a bull in a china shop, but he's lovely.
Jennifer Metcalfe – This is quite hard! I think she'd be a chocolate Labrador, she's loving, glamourous and likes her creature comforts.
Alan Carr – I'm trying to think of a fun breed. I think he'd be a Boxer, they're very lovable and there's more videos of Boxers on trampolines on Youtube than any other breed. Also, they have a look that's almost a squint, so I can see them with glasses on and Alan wears glasses doesn't he.
Which do you prefer and why?
Big dogs or little dogs – I think I'm definitely a big dog girl. I like a proper cuddle and I think I like a dog to be a dog so as much as I love all dogs, I do prefer big dogs.
Pedigree dogs or x breeds – I don't have any preference, I love all dogs. To me it's more about their personality.
Days off or days at work – I love to work, but I think all work and no play... well, you know the rest!
Describe the last time you laughed outloud because of something you saw Cassie or another dog do.
This morning at your photoshoot actually, she did make us laugh. Everytime the camera was out and on her, she put her ears back and wouldn't do what we were asking her to do. Everytime the camera went back she put her cute face on. It was funny!
If you had the choice to arrange a dinner party taking three people (choosing from any era, past or present), who would you choose?
Oh this is a tough one! Okay, well first of all I'd have to choose Marilyn Monroe, then Martin Luther King and thirdly Barack Obama. It would be a good knees up!
What is your current favourite…?
TV show – I'm a big fan of Outnumbered, but I also love An Idiot Abroad – that makes me laugh.
Book – I'm reading Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. I'm nearly finished and have really enjoyed it. I've avoided the film so far, I always try and read the book first rather than spoiling it.
Film – I recently saw 'Arthur Christmas'. I was lucky enough to go to the premier and it was brilliant!
If you could sum it up, what do you think is the best thing about being a dog owner?
I think it's the unconditional love. You can get home after having any kind of a day, long, stressed out, whatever it might have been and they greet you like they've not seen you for weeks with this overwhelming abundance of love.
Finish the following sentence, my dog is... brilliant.
And finally, this is always a tough question and often requires a fair degree of thinking time but….If Cassie had the ability to speak and answer one question and one question only, what would you ask him and what do you think that he would say?
I'd ask her if she loved me and I think she'd say 'yes'.
Many Thanks Rachel!
Rachel Shenton Was Speaking With Kim O'Meara