Former EastEnders star, Judi Shekoni, is the Amazonian vampire Zafrina in the Twilight film!

by Anna Howell

Judi Shekoni will be sort of remembered by die-hard EastEnders fans as Precious Hudson, the gangster’s moll who got dangerously involved with Paul Trueman after her husband tried to use them both as an alibi for murder.

Precious’ husband, Angel (Goldie) was to stand trial for murder in 2002 and was planning on using his wife as a fake alibi. He told Paul (Gary Beadle) to guard her until she could testify. Paul obliged and Precious moved to Albert Square.

But when Paul and Precious began an affair, but both feared repercussions from Angel. Precious refused to be Angel’s alibi, hoping that he would be imprisoned, but when he was found not guilty, Paul and Precious made plans to flee the country. Angel apprehended them stating that if he ever discovered they had resumed their relationship, he would kill them both. Precious had no choice but to finish with Paul and leave Walford alone.

That was the last time we saw Judi Shekoni, who played Precious, in Albert Square, and you would be forgiven for not recognising her these days, as her new role is in the recently released blockbuster new Twilight film, Breaking Dawn Part 2, starring as the Amazon vampire, Zafrina!

Judi had moved to LA after her stint as Precious Hudson in EastEnders to pursue her career, when she heard that the producers of the Twilight film franchise were casting for the role of Amazonian vampire Zafrina.

“I wanted the role really badly, so I got an audition and I landed the part. It was a dream come true.” She told the Daily Mail newspaper.

The Twilight films, staring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, have become a cult phenomenon since it first burst onto our cinemas back in 2008, and the series has grossed over $2 billion in worldwide receipts and consists.

Pattinson and Stewart had become a couple off-screen, and dominated the celebrity couples chart until am unexpected split earlier this year after it emerged that Kristen had strayed in a ‘momentary indiscretion’ with married British director Rupert Sanders.

Fans of the show worried how this may affect the new film, released last week, but Judi, though not commenting on the former couples relationship status, did say of Kristen, who has always been labelled as sullen and hard work, was that, contrary to popular misconception: “is completely up for a laugh and for taking the mickey, while Rob is very British — self-deprecating and down-to-earth.”

Before adding: “But they both had a massive work ethic — they’d be on set before everyone and would leave after everybody else every single day. They were extremely mature and professional.”

Judi spent six months filming Breaking Dawn Part 2 on location in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in the U.S., and in Vancouver and Squamish in Canada, explaining: “When I first arrived, there were Twi-hards at the airport, and kids following us around with their mums.”

With regards to the abundance of screaming fans, Judi commented:

“A fan on Twitter invited me to her party but I couldn’t go, so I said I’d give her an autographed picture instead and gave her my address and asked if she wanted to collect it.

“She came to my house and said: “I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve got a couple of friends with me,” and the next thing I know, there were nine or ten of them standing in my corridor. But they were absolutely respectful.

“Maybe if they’d been standing in Robert Pattinson’s corridor, the door might have been battered down and he might have been missing a few limbs!”

In the film Judi plays Zafrina, the leader of the Amazon coven, who helps protect Kristen Stewart’s character, Bella, from the evil Volturi clan, whilst she adapts to her new life as a vampire, and mother to her and Edward’s daughter, Renesmee (played by 12-year-old Mackenzie Foy).

The role involves Judi wearing tight and tiny clothes, consisting mainly of a skimpy bra and loin cloth, which Judi explains she had to prepare for, commenting:

“I knew my outfits were going to be tight, so I went to the gym a lot, took supplements, ate healthily and even managed to get Nicole Kidman’s trainer to help me work out.

“He’d say: ‘I have Nicole between 8am and 9am, so you can come at 9.30.’ I’d offer to come by at 8am to ‘help out’, but he wouldn’t let me, so I never got to see her.”

Despite enjoying her time on EastEnders, Judi admits that the Twilight saga is her biggest break, and is a far cry from the Manchester council estate where she grew up in a broken home, the youngest of five children, explaining:

“Not having a father figure gave me a sense of independence and a lot of tenacity. To afford things I wanted, I knew I had to work. I had a job in a market bagging potatoes by the time I was 12 and then I worked in a greyhound stadium, walking dogs around the track. It made me appreciate the value of money, although I always worked hard at school, too.”

Judi left home at 17 to stay in a hostel run my nuns after landing her first modelling gig. After taking up par time acting lessons, she landed the role of Precious, which she thoroughly loved, especially as she got to play the on-screen wife of legendary DJ and Producer, Goldie:

“I’d go by a Thames link train to the set, then Goldie would show up in his gold Ferrari with its personalised number plates.

“The clothing budget was unbelievable. The costume people took me shopping and we spent the day snapping up Gucci, Dior and Chloe numbers. I felt like I was in Pretty Woman.”

Judi is now dating a fellow actor, but insists “it’s very early days and it’s not anyone who’s in the public eye,”

Finally, with regards to living in Hollywood, Judi commented: “I love it here. I don’t often get lonely. I love reading. As long as I’ve got a book, I’m pretty happy.”

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 is in cinemas now; watch the official Trailer in the clip below: