Big Brother reality TV star, Precious Yashim, aka Diane Russet, tells Naomi Chima, how she defied her fears and pursued her dreams till she became an Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards recipient

How did being a BB9ja housemate influence your career in the entertainment industry?

Being on the Big Brother reality TV show was a way for me to find myself and put things in perspective. There are people who know their talents and gifts at an early age and then there are some people that take their time and find it sometime later. I think I was just one of those trying to figure it out myself and when I got into the house, I was surrounded by talented people. So, for every task that they gave us, I feel like it challenged me to want to know myself better. The big brother house helped me find myself, know what to do and challenged me to be a better version of myself.

Who was Diane Russet before the reality show?

Diane is still the same person. I honestly just really like a peaceful, quiet life, which is one thing I won’t trade for anything.

How did you feel winning the AMVCA Awards 2023 for the Best Drama series?

To be honest, it was quite emotional for me; it still is. You know like when you are trying to find the right expression and you still can’t find it. You know a lot of people have dreams but some people do not get to live to even find out their dreams. Some give up on them or die, so I feel like I am one of the luckiest people in the world right now. It was a dream for me and seeing it come through, the feeling is unreal. God doesn’t joke about me when it comes to my career or where I want to go in life and even most times I would feel like things aren’t working out or going the way I want them to because there are several times I needed sponsorship or funds for Ricordi, had setbacks on set on many other things that would have drained whatever it was that I wanted to do. But looking at where I am now, I would say it was God’s plan all along.

How did you come up with the title, Ricordi, and why?

The story contains flashbacks and memories of the past; so I just needed words to replace the word ‘Memory.’ I kept on searching the internet in different languages, so for some reason, I saw Ricordi, and I said yeah, this is the name.

Did you envisage that the series would win an award?

Yes, I did. I did know that I was going to get a nomination. When it didn’t happen last year, we just felt like okay, we are still going to get it, they will call that name. It was my first baby, my first series. It’s like everything you prayed for. I can’t say that I will do my project and not think that it will go places. My faith is big, and I envision myself for great things.

You featured in one of the movies, Brotherhood, recognised during the AMVCA Awards. How did it feel being part of the project and what are the things  you learnt that can help your career as a producer?

First, Jade Osiberu is brilliant and talented and I give a shout-out to her. Being part of the movie was such an experience for me; I got to meet different people and even bonded with some of them on set. I also got to see what a big production could look like in terms of when we had to shoot on the Third Mainland Bridge over a week. It was quite an intense moment for me and because I feel like every time people want to cast me, they want to cast me as a lover girl, this was different. When I saw I would be playing Officer Efe, I was like, oh police officer, yeah! I always like doing things people cannot just predict.

Which of your movies or productions frightened you?

Ricordi, not because it won an award, but when I first had this idea and wanted to shoot it, I was scared because I have mostly shot films and now I wanted to do a whole series, it was really scary. I remember when I first told someone, he was like no, I am not sure about this idea, and then when I had to call my script writers, they really could not all just see the picture, but we all sat down and said this show is good. It’s like when you are the only one seeing the vision and everything is still not as clear as it should be. It can be scary, so we weren’t sure how it was going to be. I remember the first day we were going to drop the first series. I didn’t know what it was going to be, if people were going to laugh, like it, or appreciate it, I was really scared. You know when the first episode dropped, everyone wanted the second episode and they  complained about the time frame and everything.

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