Rachel Shenton has come a long way since playing Mitzeee Minniver in Hollyoaks. On Sunday, the British actress scooped her first Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film at the star-studded 2018 Oscars. Rachel, 30, took to the stage with her fiancé Chris Overton – who played cage fighter Liam McAllister in the Channel 4 soap – to accept the trophy for her film The Silent Child, which tells the story of a deaf little girl. Touchingly, the actress used sign language in her acceptance speech in honour of the film's young star, six-year-old Maisie Sly, from Swindon. "I made a promise to our six-year-old lead actress that I would sign this speech," Rachel – who also wrote The Silent Child – said while accepting the statuette at Sunday's ceremony. "My hands are shaking a little bit so I apologise."
Hollyoaks stars Rachel Shenton and fiancé Chris Overton pictured onstage at the 2018 Oscars
The Silent Child tells the story of a profoundly deaf four-year-old called Libby, who lives in a silent world until a social worker, played by Rachel, teaches her how to communicate through sign language. Rachel, who hails from Stoke-on-Trent, was inspired to write the story by her father, who went deaf after receiving chemotherapy when she was 12. Dad Geoff sadly passed away when she was 14.
In his speech, Rachel's proud fiancé Chris paid tribute to the star, saying: "It's really your hard work for the last 12 years that has made this project authentic." He also thanked both their parents to making cupcakes to help raise enough funds to make the film, and all those who had backed its crowdfunding campaign.
The couple walked the red carpet with Maisie Sly, star of The Silent Child
Earlier in the evening, Rachel and Chris walked the red carpet with little Maisie - who had never acted before this project - each holding onto one of her hands as they posed together outside the Dolby Theatre. Speaking ahead of the awards ceremony, Rachel said: "We had 13 crew members and a tiny budget, so we are really proud to even be here."