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Rachel Shenton (Mitzeee, 'Hollyoaks')

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Mitzeee Minniver from Hollyoaks

© Lime Pictures

Hollyoaks newcomer Rachel Shenton struts into the village as aspiring model Anne 'Mitzeee' Minniver next week as Paul Marquess's rejuvenation of the Channel 4 teen soap continues. Strolling into the village to promote a new brand of lager in The Loft, Mitzeee immediately catches the eye of Duncan and it's not long before she's causing ructions for the Costellos. Heidi's delighted to see her cousin again but Carl's not impressed in the slightest. Here, Rachel chats to DS about joining Hollyoaks, her character and her uncanny resemblance to Cheryl Cole.

What's it like to be thrown in at the deep end?
"Probably better - you don't get a chance to think! It's good. Luckily I'm quite good with lines so that's not been a problem but it's back to back at the moment. I was eased in quite gently at the start though so it's not been like this from the outset, but it is quite busy at the moment what with the late nights coming up and the main 6.30pm show."

Do you know much about this year's Later episodes?
"We recently started filming them and I'm very excited - it's going to be an amazing series."

Did you always want to act in soap?
"As an actor I don't think you're ever in a position to say, 'I want to do this and this and this'. You take the roles that come along and this is a fantastic role for me. I've never played anything like this before. Everything I've played before has been the complete opposite really so this was an opportunity for me to do something different as an actor."

What drew you to Hollyoaks?
"The audition came up for a previous role and that didn't happen for one reason or another, than this role came up and I thought, 'Yep, brilliant - this is a good time to do this.' For Hollyoaks, it's a time of change. Paul has a great reputation and it felt like a really good time to do this."

What's the atmosphere like now the show's going through a period of change?
"The atmosphere's great because everyone's so excited about the change. That's certainly what I've experienced. Everyone is really excited about the prospect of it - the future seems quite bright!"

Did you watch Hollyoaks before you got the job?
"I did when it first started then the last few years I've not watched it as much purely because I've been working at the times it was on."

What's it like with all these new people joining at the same time as you?
"That's nice for me because obviously, starting something like this, you feel like you're the new girl and it's very daunting so it's great there are so many new people because none of us feel like that."

How was Mitzeee billed to you?
"From the outset you don't get too much information about the character in case you don't get the role. I just knew that she was an aspiring model who wanted a better life and desperately wanted the lifestyle of the rich and famous. I think that's really current because there are so many people, particularly young girls, who really want that and it is their goal."

Now you've got to know Mitzeee a little better, how would you describe her?
"That's interesting actually. I think the more the public get to know Mitzeee, the more they will see she's not one-dimensional. There's definitely layers to Mitzeee. She hides her intelligence well but she's actually a very intelligent girl. I know people will be able to see that. She's also quite manipulative and vindictive and some would say you have to be quite intelligent to do that! That's Mitzeee - there's definitely layers."

How do we first meet her?
"She's got unfinished business that brings her to Hollyoaks. She comes to The Loft to do a PA. She's desperate to see herself as this model with this glamorous lifestyle so this PA at the local nightclub is our first sighting of Mitzeee."

What's her relationship like with Heidi?
"She's got a great relationship with her cousin Heidi. The audience will know that there's an undercurrent and there's something more. Mitzeee's possibly got an agenda when she arrives and that will be clear."

And what about Carl?
"I think there's possibly something that's happened in the past between her and Carl so that might be her reason for going back."

You've probably been asked this a million times, but are you constantly mistaken for Cheryl Cole?
"The Cheryl Cole thing has been mentioned in a couple of interviews but I'd never been mistaken for her before I landed the role of Mitzeee. It's so bizarre! I guess I can see when the make-up goes on, the big hair gets curled and all the rest of it, people can see a resemblance but on the street day to day, it's never happened. It's definitely very flattering - she's so beautiful but it's not something I'm trying to do - day to day, I'm just me!"

> Click here to read more from Rachel Shenton in Soap Scoop

Additional reporting by Philippa Warr Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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