Rachel Shelley

Rachel Shelley


8/25/1969, Swindon, England, UK

Birth Name

Rachel Shelley



Also Known As

Rachel Parkhill
  • Rachel Shelley appears in the final seas...
out of 10
User Rating
86 votes


Born in Swindon but raised in London, Rachel's big break came when she was featured in a long-running series of popular TV adverts in the UK. Some of her successful movies include Photographing Fairies with Ben Kingsley and Everybody Loves Sunshine with David Bowie. For her performance in…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • At 12.57am on September 8, 2009, Rachel gave birth to a daughter. Rachel and her husband have never revealed their daughter's name.

    • Rachel and her husband spent part of 2005 travelling around Vietnam on a motorbike.

    • When she's in London and away from public events, Rachel prefers to be called by her married name, Rachel Parkhill.

    • Whenever she attends public events, Rachel doesn't wear her wedding ring.

    • Rachel and her husband live in Notting Hill, London.

    • Since 1995, Rachel has been married to writer and director Matthew Parkhill.

    • She doesn't have pierced ears.

    • Rachel got her big break when she was cast in a series of adverts for Brita water filters that ran on British TV from the mid-1990s until 2002.

    • Rachel is very protective about details of her private life, and for many years didn't even reveal her year of birth.

    • Although Rachel was born in Swindon, her parents moved to London when she was one.

    • Rachel's upcoming projects are Under (Film), and The Day (TV).

    • Rachel likes a little bit of belly on a man.

    • Rachel never feels that she can control her sexuality.

    • Rachel doesn't find it hard to film racy and intimate scenes.

    • Rachel finds it interesting and different to play a character that everybody hates, because she was always cast as the good girl before.

    • Rachel's sex scene with Alexandra Hedison on The L Word was the most intimate and most prolonged one she has ever done.

    • Rachel would love to play a character who's completely opposite from her The L Word character Helena. Specifically a character who doesn't care about how she looks.

    • Rachel was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for the 2002 movie Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India. In the movie, Rachel's song-and-dance routine was actually sung by playback singer Vasundhara Das

    • Rachel's favorite films are The Three Colours Red, Moulin Rouge, and Sean of the Dead.
      Favorite color is Green.
      Favorite book is Of Human Bondage.
      Favorite pizza topping is Spicy Sausage.
      Favorite charity is Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

    • Rachel stars in a 2006 movie Gray Matters which deals with a young woman discovering her sexuality. She portrays gay character named Julia Barlett.

    • With four friends from the university, Rachel started The Crowded Theater in Sheffield which they ran for a year before she moved to London.

    • Rachel likes the music produced by Radiohead.

    • Rachel doesn't care about cars and she doesn't have any either.

    • When Rachel was asked to describe in one word her experience after her first season with The L Word, she used the word eye-opening.

    • Rachel always responds whenever she is called by her The L Word character name, Helena.

    • According to Rachel, the biggest misconception about her is that she's actually American and she's just putting on an accent.

    • Rachel's first pet was a mixed breed dog named Samantha.

    • Rachel has written 3 articles for British newspaper The Guardian. First about her experience gained while making the film Lagaan. Second when she attended the Academy Awards Ceremony in 2002 and the third about her experience on The L Word.

    • Rachel's film career began in 1994 when she appeared in Royce with James Belushi.

    • Rachel never wears perfume.

    • Rachel was in Bollywood's most expensive film ever, Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.

    • Rachel's height is 5'8" (1.73m).

    • In 1992, Rachel graduated from Sheffield University with a B.A. Hons in English and Drama.

  • Quotes

    • Rachel: Contrary to what a lot of guys seem to think, size isn't everything. In fact, if a guy is really big, it can be quite painful for a woman to have him inside her. Yes, it's nice to feel full, but not like that - Unless that's something that turns you on. For most women, as long as a guy is a nice comfortable size, it's technique that really matters.

    • Rachel: What we really want is slow and sensual. Then again, sometimes we like it hard and rough.

    • Rachel: A woman never gets a Brazilian for her own benefit. Imagine shock therapy on your genitals and you come close to understanding the pain and humiliation. So next time, give her a big, fat reward. All night.

    • Rachel: There is no such thing as women's intuition. You all just have crap poker faces.

    • Rachel: Opening doors for us, helping us with our jackets and chairs -- we love all that. It's a very sexy public form of foreplay. Call it fore-foreplay. Ignore this and you will have a lot more work to do if you get invited in for coffee. Indulge us and the car ride home could blow your mind.

    • Rachel: A woman will try on as many combinations of sexy underwear as she will dresses before that first hot date.

    • Rachel: The casting directors are usually a tad eccentric, from the one who tries to convert you to the joy of veganism to the fantastically friendly and extraordinarily camp one who would be hosting his own game show were he in Britain. Then there are those who are just fabulous, watchable actors, and that's a little depressing, especially if they're better than you.

    • Rachel: (On being in the L Word) God, it's so much…it's so much. As an actress it's a great challenge, it's an amazing job. It opened my eyes to lots of things, I mean I have gay girlfriends before I did the show but now I know a culture inside out and it's a very warm supportive culture. It's full of generally very smart women and very educated, vocal women who are strong. I've met so many amazing women in LA and I don't think those circles would have ever been open to me if I hadn't done The L Word because LA isn't known for smart, intelligent women especially. There's many of them there but the image of the people that you meet is very different so I've met a lot of amazing women, I've learned an awful lot as an actress, I've developed as an actress, I've just had a wonderful time.

    • Rachel: I never really saw Helena as bitchy; I just saw her as strong. And she went for what she wanted. She was never out rightly bitchy. She never did anything; however much the "TiBette people" say that she broke them up, she didn't. They were already broken up. I just never saw her as that bitchy, I just saw her as someone who was determined and, you know, she would go for what she wanted.

    • Rachel: (If she said 'Yes' on coming back to the L Word's 6th season) Yes, of course. All the way through, all the way through I said that I wanted to come back and do this. Cause I didn't feel like Helena Peabody had been finalized. I mean sometimes you don't get a choice but I felt like at the end of Season 5 her story isn't wrapped up, things aren't final for her yet. I would have been very sad to have not come back, not to have come back and finished that on a professional level but also, obviously, I wanted to be doing it! Because it's fun and we all have a great time. So I was very glad when I spoke to Ilene last week and she said she wanted me to do it all and the contract is being dealt with now.

    • Rachel: I think that scene with Alex was the most intimate and the most prolonged scene that I've had to do like that. And, God, I was glad it was with Alex because, she and I got on so well and still do, you know, so I was really glad it was with someone [where] we could look after each other and be very comfortable with one another.

    • Rachel: It's funny. I talked about this last year with Alexandra Hedison, who plays Dylan. Actually doing them, filming them isn't that hard. That's not hard. But, sometimes, there, there's like a hangover from it. There's like a aftertaste, that you can't get rid of. It's not while you're doing it, because I think you just get on, you know, you know what you've got to do. You have to throw yourself into it totally, otherwise it doesn't work. And it's afterwards, when you might feel a bit, just a bit weird. Like physically, I felt … kind of detached from my body after … you have to do a lot of intimate scenes with each other and I think afterwards we both felt a bit disconnected … your brain and your body have stopped talking to each other because they're not, they're not listening to each other anymore.

    • Rachel: Whatever I am doing or have just done, I always want to do something that's a complete turnaround.

    • Rachel: I did a film called "Everybody Loves Sunshine" with David Bowie, and that was violent and I get really bashed up. I don't know, you have to look at every project, it's about where you are in your life, you have to pay the mortgage. Sometimes you're in a position where you can go "No, I don't want to do that", and other times you can't, especially early in your career. It varies. There are lots of formulaic scripts around to play the girl in an action film that will go straight to video. I've done a couple of them and I don't intend to do anymore.

    • Rachel: There is always going to be some sense of feeling uncomfortable when you shoot scenes which involve some nudity. Obviously you are going to feel vulnerable... but the role of the actor is to sort of overcome that and play a different intention and not play your discomfort. You have to leave that behind.

    • Rachel: (answering on the question whether there is any chance for her of falling in love with another woman) Who knows… never say never! I mean it hasn't happened yet, but there's still time!

    • Rachel: A phone ringing, loud enough to be heard over the steaming shower pummeling my hungover head. The answer machine kicks in, then an Indian voice: "Er, Rachel, if you can be at the hotel in 90 minutes we have a ticket for the ceremony for you. Please call me back." Everything, even the drops of water flying out of the shower, seems to stand still for a split second.

      And that is how I went to the Oscars. With wet hair, putting my lippie on in the back of the limo. With badly shaven underarms and without a pedicure.

    • Rachel: (talking about auditions) They tell you to sit, stand, perform your best tricks, then do them again but better. They video the whole procedure. It's similar to Crufts, though thankfully no one has inspected my teeth too closely or examined my nose for wetness. Hours later they award someone the red rosette. And the rest of us are left whining and licking our wounds on the sidelines like the mongrels we so obviously are.

    • Rachel: In London, if I have two or three auditions in a week, I consider it hectic. In LA during pilot season, two or three meetings a day is normal.

    • Rachel: As the actress, you only live the scuffle through your manager. And this is why I love my manager: she does all the argy-bargy on my behalf. Imagine having someone (and someone you don't have to sleep with at the end of the night) to queue outside the club for you, so you can simply flounce straight into the party and pretend you never did anything so vulgar as to beg and bribe your way in. Of course, you have to pay them, but they are worth every nickel. A red carpet press photo is priceless, and you don't want a shadow of aggravation to spoil it.

    • Rachel: Helena and I are morphing into one person: I spend more time with her than anyone else these days, and it's messing with my mind.

    • Rachel: Americans consider the English accent a character trait. I'm far more likely to be cast in the US as a villain or sexual predator, when at home I was more butter-wouldn't-melt.

    • Rachel: Sex scenes with actresses are easier than with men, they're supportive and wouldn't dream of over-stepping any lines of personal comfort. Unlike some actors I could mention.

    • Rachel: Playing a lesbian isn't so different from playing straight. I've played a whore, a doctor, an aristocrat lady, and believe me I'm none of those things either.

    • Rachel: I look up to those people in my life who manage to take pleasure in the smallest things, even when life gets shitty. People who are eager to enjoy life regardless of circumstances. People who are hard working, generous, passionate and eager to laugh.

  • First review, how cool.

    How shall I describe Rachel? Smoking hot, that seems to work. She is the hottest person I have ever saw, ever.

    With her looks and great acting skills she can do anything! She's really the only reason I watch The L-Word, her scenes are really good.

    I hope to see more of her as time goes by, and no not like that. I love her way of acting, and how she uses her looks almost every episode.

    I really wish she had more screen time, she doesn't get all that much. If she did, I think the show would be even better.moreless