Sex Education’s Rakhee had to work in clothes shop after leaving EastEnders

Sex Education actress Rakhee Thakrar has revealed that she ended up working in retail for two years after her shock departure playing Shabnam Masood in the BBC soap EastEnders.

Rakhee, 37, appeared on BBC EastEnders between 2014 and 2016 and had taken over the role of play Shabnam Massod from fellow actor Zahra Ahmadi, who had previously played the character.

In a new interview with the Radio Times, the actress revealed that she ended up working in retail for a short while after leaving the soap.

Talking about the struggles she faced after her EastEnders departure, she said: "I didn't think 'other projects' meant working in a boutique clothing shop for two years.

"I left EastEnders and didn't get any work. I couldn't bear not doing anything, so I worked in a couple of shops.

The former EastEnders actress added: "It was a massive risk to leave a full-time salary [on EastEnders] and it took a while for that risk to pay off."

In EastEnders Rakhee's character Shabnam was married to was to Kush Kazemi played by Davood Ghadami, and was at the center of several storylines.

A major one included her character giving birth to a stillborn son, with the actor helping to raise further awareness of stillbirths

In 2016, after discovering that Kush had secretly fathered a child with Stacey Branning [Lacey Turner], Rakhee's Shabnam left the square, and she's not returned since.

Five years since appearing in EastEnders, Rakhee has starred as the English teacher Emily Sands on Netflix's Sex Education.

The popular series follows the lives of students, staff, and parents at a fictional secondary school navigating themes around sex.

Rakhee first made cameos in the show's first and second series, which aired in 2019 and 2020.

In the third series, which aired in September 2021, Rakhee's character had been made a main cast member.

The former soap star is set to appear in the upcoming musical fantasy film Wonka, which serves as a prequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and stars Hollywood's Timothée Chalamet.

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