Meet Maria; 19-Year-Old Citizen TV Drama Queen

In Citizen TV's drama series Maria, the lead protagonist by the same name Maria, is a tomboy from the ghetto who was taken to live with a posh family.

However, she falls in love with one of the family's sons, Luwi played by (Brian Ogana), who is married to Sophia, (Bridget Shighadi) in the series. 

Out of his love for her, Luwi, a drunkard, contemplates divorcing Sophia to be with Maria. The drama doesn't end there as Luwi's brother, Victor, also expresses his love for Maria - he takes on the laid back approach.

On Wednesday, December 4, the 19-year-old Yasmin Said who plays the role Maria narrated to what it takes portraying the character, relating with other cast members and also spoke on her dating life. 

Describe yourself as both Yasmin and Maria

Yasmin is a Muslim girl, outgoing, so humble and girlish. Maria is she who you see on TV, being looked down upon as per the script. I live a normal life despite people viewing me as a celebrity. It's a good feeling being a celebrity but that life is also scaring as I am new to it and people end up giving me both good and bad pieces of advice. This, however, encourages me to live a principled life. 

Do you find a connection between Maria the actor and Yasmin?

Yes, I have what it takes to play the role, but sometimes when acting and the script directs that other actors taunt or despise me, I tend to forget and I become Yasmin, ending up feeling the pinch too.

How did you land the Maria role?

I was in school at that time, at Ribe High School, Kilifi County, when I saw the auditions and I tried my luck. When I was ushered in to showcase my skills, I was given a tomboy role. Ironically, on that day, I had worn a long dress which is a norm for every Muslim lady. I did not decline the role and I gave my best. By God's grace, I was picked as I matched the qualities Rashid Abdalla and Lulu Hassan had envisioned for the role. 

Were you part of the drama club in high school?

No, I was not. Actually, I did not fancy the trips. The only time I participated in the drama club was when I recorded a voice over for them. Thanks to Lulu and Rashid, they helped me discover my talent. 

Are you going to pursue a career in Film, Theatre and TV after making a breakthrough?

I hope to join campus next year. Right now I am torn in between pursuing Film and TV or my dream career of being a lawyer/journalist. All that depends on my schedule as it is currently quite demanding. I am always needed on set at all times as I am one of the main actors.

Who is your best actor in the drama series Maria?

I love Mr William. He brings out and complements other characters.

Do you watch yourself on TV?

Yes, each and every time I get a chance, I watch it while at home to analyse myself, to know what I did wrong and where I need to add more input and to also uplift my morale. I also watch Swahili telenovelas to learn more as a character and to support our own films.

What's next after Maria?

For now, I love what I am doing. At a point, I feel like I will pursue it further. I want to use this opportunity to scale heights and to have other doors open for me in the film industry. The name Maria might also stick with me as most people love it, especially the kids. They get buoyed up whenever they see me.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

If I tell you who my role model is, you will end up laughing at me. It's Lulu Hassan. I know it's funny because luck and fate brought us together. When in school I was in the Journalism club and I always dreamt of being like her, reading news and changing people's lives.  

With luck and success at your feet, have you moved out of your parent's home to live on your own?

For now, I still live with my parents. Marriage is the only thing that would make me leave home. Although we are living in a civilised world and I can move out if I want to, I still see myself as my parent's child. I need their love and guidance too. Anyways, I save my money as I am yet to complete my studies and I know that I will need to take care of myself later.

Are you dating?

Ha! I knew that question would pop up. Kwa ground vitu ni different. The 'Maria' on TV is not the Yasmin I know. I am so devoted to Islam and I do not have a boyfriend. It is not a priority for me at this time.

What is the worst incident you have experienced in life?

I never had any challenges growing up. My school fee was always paid on time and my needs attended to. Maybe that one time when I was sick for 3 weeks and I went back to school to find other students had already progressed with the syllabus. 

What advice would you give anyone seeking a breakthrough in life?

Let them never give up in life. God has a chance for everyone. Don't rush things in life. Use my case as an example. No one could believe that I would land such a massive opportunity fresh out of high school.

What can you say about Lulu and Rashid?

I always appreciate them, each and every day. Their personalities speak volumes of how great they are destined for success. I would also like to thank my fellow cast members and all my fans. The love I receive from them is overwhelming. 

Video: Instagram/Lulu Hassan

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