EastEnders actress Gurlaine Garcha is unrecognisable from character Ash as she stuns in a bikini
EASTENDERS star Gurlaine Garcha looked worlds apart from her soap character Ash Panesar as she hit the beach in sun-drenched Dubai.
The Albert Square star, 28, has been soaking up some winter rays in the Middle East and sharing some envy-inducing photos along the way.
Her latest snap sees her in a stylish bikini basking in the sun's twilight glow with her back to towering skyscrapers.
In another she's wearing a more colourful piece of swimwear as she picks up a lolly on the beach after making friends with the seller.
She's having the best time in the popular destination and joked she was cancelling her flight home.
While she has enjoyed her time on the Square since arriving in 2019, she recently experienced a darker side to fame away from the set.
Last month she was intimidated by men at night and harassed because of her character's sexuality.
She said: "The other night whilst walking a short distance home at around 10:15pm, I was shouted at by a car full of men. It was intimidating, and scary. They were relentless and wouldn’t stop harassing me. At first they called out and shouted ‘aren’t you the girl off eastenders’. With my work, I'm used to being approached but this didn’t feel right. It felt aggressive and forceful.
"When they first called out I remember fastening my pace, and lowering my head as if doing so would secure my safety. For some reason, this spurred them on. They then went on to open their doors, get out and shout after me, ‘oi you lesbian, come back here’ ‘where you going’ ‘don’t be scared’. They laughed and jeered as though my panic and fear was entertaining to them.
"I remember thinking do I go home? Do I turn around? Do I take a de route so that they don’t see where I live? but if I do, will that mean I'm out longer and in more danger?"
The star went on: "You could say, why were you out late? Why did you walk in the dark? But the truth is, this happens in broad daylight. During lockdown, I was cat called every single day whilst walking, with one guy asking me to come inside his house as I walked by.
"My mum recently told me she was followed on one of her daily walks, with a man asking her if she wanted to get in the car and ‘he’ll take her wherever she needs to go.' As we mourn the loss of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa, events like this still come as such a shock.
"Will we ever feel safe? Or more importantly will we ever BE safe? Every single woman should be able to walk our streets without fear of harassment or violence. But this quite clearly isn’t the case."
During her two years on the soap Ash has been at the centre of huge storylines – including her family disapproving of her relationship with Iqra due to their different religions.
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