PORTIA Yamaha is the winner of television reality show, Next Movie Star, 2006 edition. The fair-skinned thespian has been lying low for a couple of years now. ENCOMIUM Weekly had an interview with the soft-spoken lady on her whereabouts, what she has up her sleeves and sundry issues.
What has been happening to you? It is quite a while we saw your face last in a movie.
Good things have been happening to me, I am still there though but not as visible as before. I don’t know why people are complaining, maybe it is because of how I came into the industry or how I introduced myself. After winning the Next Movie Star, I did one or two things with the organizers, then I shot my movie, that gave some people the impression that I have arrived. But I had to reassess myself first. I love entertainment but I wanted to rediscover myself. To make things worse, I was introduced to some people who expected me to be treating them like gods. At a point, they started saying that I was proud. That got me thinking. So, I made up my mind to go into television. I mean doing content. If you go on TV, you will get matured content, not the ones where you will play just romantic roles. I also decided to start doing only soaps or series, but it cannot fully pay my bills as well. At a point, I went back to my executive producer, Shola Fajobi, so that he could guide me on what to do. I also told him that I wanted to start producing and so far, production has given me wings to fly. I also edit now. I am working on a show called, Meet the Neighbours. I also produced celebrity edition of Super Mom. Meet the Neighbours is a sitcom, it is about three families who are trying to handle knotty situations in their home.
Some people alleged that Portia wasn’t getting roles, that was why she left the social radar?
That is not true. It got to a point that I said to myself, it is not what people say but what I want. Gracing red carpet is not the point, I realized that I find comfort doing television. I also asked myself some questions. I buy clothes, shoes, what about when I can’t get new ones, they will now tag me whatever they desire. So, I decided to be honest with myself. I decided to let the media know as well. I wanted to just lie low. I know it is not everybody that likes that, but I have to move on. I don’t owe anybody my happiness, I owe myself my happiness.
Some also alleged that you were broke since you finished the money you got from Next Movie Star?
(Laughs) They will always say what they want to say, that is not true. They are just saying what they have been imagining. I want to discover myself and be sincere with myself. I am a private person, I cherish my privacy a lot.
Does that mean you weren’t passionate about acting before going into it?
I went into Next Movie Star because I really wanted to act. My winning was a miracle, there were other contestants that I felt were very good, even better than me. I have done some walk on roles before. People used to call it waka pass roles, but it got to a point that I had to rethink, I saw it as a platform to polish my talent. I was passionate enough but I had not decided what I would eventually settle down to do. Winning that reality show was an opportunity to move from waka pass roles. But then I still had to sit down and have a rethink, be focused and fashion the way forward.
How will you describe the experience as a producer and editor?
Producing and editing has given me the wings to fly. I find comfort in doing it, it has also made me feel like a real business woman, it is really a great thing. I have also learnt to manage a lot of people. When producing, you deal with all manner of characters. I have learnt to deal with a lot of people. It has really been fun, editing is beautiful, it has really been great.
Which is more lucrative and fulfilling for you?
You cannot escape from the three, they are all lucrative and fulfilling. I love being free, I hate restriction. As a producer, you always think like a business person, an editor thinks on how to put everything together. So, they are all interwoven.
Do you see yourself accepting a script one day?
Yes, why not? I am doing editing because of the fun I derive from it. It doesn’t stop me from picking a script. In fact, I am still acting, I do the three together. It has been really stressful. I featured in Super Mom. I was given a role. So, I am still very much into acting.
What are the challenges?
Managing people’s emotions has been challenging. You don’t want to step on toes, you want to make sure everything goes smoothly. So I add extra effort into it. I am usually the last person to go to bed and the first person to wake up. You have to make sure everybody is at ease. It is really tasking. Settling down and still coping with the job is a great problem, you have to be away from home for some days, will my partner understand this? Another major challenge is the way we shoot in Nigeria, it is not easy at all. For instance, when we went to shoot in Ghana, we didn’t have to worry about light but doing that in Nigeria is tasking. If PHCN should take light while you are shooting, it will affect the quality of the pictures.
Portia is of a marriageable age, but it seems you are finding it difficult to get Mr. Right?
They don’t catch late comers for wedding. I am not finding it difficult to get Mr. Right. The truth is that it doesn’t bother me, it will happen when it is supposed to happen. I do things according to my pace. I don’t use people’s standard to judge, people will always talk whether you do good or bad. Anyway, they don’t give award for marriage.
Can you describe your ideal man?
If I give a description, what will happen if the man falls short in certain areas? Marriage is about friendship and understanding. The two should be able to tolerate each other, love can fade but understanding, friendship and persistence will keep the union.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, September 4, 2012