Those of you who don’t know of me and weren’t members of Rachel’s Facebook group are probably wondering how I know Rachel. So I decided I should write a little something as an introduction to mine and Rachels friendship.
I set up the Facebook Group ‘Rachel to Win – I’d Do Anything ' as a natural impulse reaction to her success at getting as far as the live show. I was so honoured to have such an amazing, talented and truely supportive friend that I felt that I had to try and give a little something back. It wasn’t long before the word spread and the group became a massive success; and as a collective group of peers from all over the world the group became the epicentre of Rachel’s support network throughout the running of the BBC show. I want to quickly express my thanks to the members of the group that posted photo’s, stories of Rachel, ideas on her PR events and the outstanding and committed support from all who regularly posted and of course had their fingers on automatic redial every Saturday night!
I have known Rachel since she was 10 years old and I was 15. We went to The Little Flower Girls School in North Belfast; a school with teachers that are still supportive to both our careers as professional actor/singers today.
The year Rachel arrived into first year our school had decided to do a production of 'Annie'. I was to play Miss Hannigan and Rachel, the cute but naughty orphan Molly. Within the first week of rehearsals it was evident that we had a little star in our midst. I fondly remember a young energetic and confident Rachel creating new ideas during scenes and with a voice bigger than most of our 5th years could hope for. She proved that not only had she imagination and talent as budding actress but most important of all she had a massive vocal ability that did not stay a secret in our school for very long. Rachel impressed everyone from day one of meeting her, especially our music teachers. So much so that as a student of GCSE music at the time; I have many recollections of Rachel being brought into class and asked to perform her impersonations of all the great female belters- Tina Turner, Shirley Bassey and Bet Midler. Even though she was young she seemed to inhabit these singers personas.
We worked together again in youth theatre in CityKids production of Grease when Rachel was about 12yrs old. She was so much younger than the other youths in the amateur dramatic company but she impressed the young director so much with her voice that although she didn’t have a part she was asked to sing a solo spot of ‘Tears on my Pillow’ at the High School Dance- Off.
A few years went by. As I went off to College to train, I was kept up to date with news of Rachel. I was so proud to hear of her landing a leading role of Maureen in the Dublin production of ‘Rent’ at the age of 19. The Following year Rachel and I performed together once again; this time as pro’s in ‘Cinderella ‘ at the Millenium Forum, Derry. We shared digs, a love of red wine which we still share today and have memories of some of the funniest comedy moments of working together onstage only just recently topped by ‘The Wizard of Oz’ 2008. More time past…. Rachel had further training under Mary Hammond at The Royal Academy of Music in London and we supported each others careers by seeing each others shows and catching up over lunch when we could.
In 2006 I had a baby and I had a career break. During this time Rachel had come off tour, fell in love with her ‘Guy’ and was living around the corner from me in South East London. She was amazingly supportive of me and always there for me when I needed a friendly ear or a babysitter for a few hours.
Our friendship was finally sealed when we worked together this Xmas in The Wizard of Oz in which she played Dorothy and I her good witch Glinda. Oh, the laughs we had and the honour we still feel of being part of this historical last ever production at The Lyric Theatre, Belfast. Rachel has shown herself to me many times as being thoughtful, caring, intelligent, confident, astute, and humble but NEVER did I see a diva… its simply not in her make-up!
I wish Rachel luck on her exciting new journey into stardom and continual happiness and success. She is a loving friend and a sharing supportive actress even when taking the lead!! I love her for her talent and giving nature and I hope we will be friends for at least another 17 years.
…this is the real Rachel Tucker!
(pics to follow)