Syr Law

By on December 19, 2012
Syr Law Celebrities

Syr Law has been making her mark on the African movie scene in recent years. Info Nollywood caught up with the star recently to ask her a few questions. Here’s the interview: 

What’s your full name?
 
My birth name is Crystal Dionne Porter. When I moved to Los Angeles, I joined Screen Actors Guild (SAG). SAG is a union for actors. Every actor that has worked on a union film/tv project is a member of SAG. After working on such projects as Tyler Perry’s “Diary of A Mad Black Woman” and booking a national commercial for Verizon, I was invited to join the union. Unknowingly, another retouched 4 betrone(2)actress was listed in SAG as Crystal Porter.  There can only be one actor credited under a name whether alive or deceased.  So I was unable to use my birth name. My options: use my middle and last names or create one. I opted for the later. Most of my friends call me Crys, for short. So I flipped Crys backwards which is Syrc, dropped the (c) on the end and came up with Syr. A close friend called me Syr for a couple of weeks to see if I would actually like the name and I DID! Law came into play because I was at a point in my life where I was making my own rules.  And then breaking them.  LOL!  I decided to live my life by my rules; my law!  Hence, Syr Law was born.
 
 
071(1)Where are you originally from?

I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia.  My mother, Miriam Gibson Porter, a social worker for the Atlanta Public School System was born in Charleston, South Carolina to Ora Lee Boone, one of the first African American women to serve as Clerk of Court for the state of SC and Edward M Gibson, a Tuskegee Airman.  The majority of my family still resides in Charleston.  A city I love!  My father, Albert Wesley Porter, a retired businessman with the City of Miami, was born in Tallahassee, FL to Willie Pearle Porter, a retired nurse and the first African American to serve as an Instructor at Mt. Sinai Hospital and Gilbert L Porter, a celebrated educator in the State of Florida.  My father’s side of the family resides throughout the Florida area.  So I am truly a southern girl.  I am very proud of my family & my roots!
 
 
How did your career into movie started:
 
064(1)I made my film debut credited under my birth name Crystal Porter, as a Freshman in “Pay The Price” in 2000. I followed playin g the role of a good-heart masseuse opposite Billy Dee Williams in “The Good Neighbor” in 2001, a sassy check-out girl in “Big Ain’t Bad” in 2002 and a politically roused intern in “Bottom” in 2004. Appearing in four films in 2005, I was booked in my first studio film for Lions Gate, Tyler Perry’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” directed by Darren Grant. That year, I starred in “Camp DOA” as college student on a road trip gone wrong, the critically acclaimed Sci-Fi Indie, “Dark Remains” and “Somebodies” was recognized at Sundance Film Festival and developed into a spin-off for BET, as the Network’s first scripted series.  The film “Touching” in 2007 is my first credit under my current professional name, Syr Law. “Election” in 2008, I played an ambitious college student. The critically acclaimed film “What To Bring To America” in 2010 introduced me as an international powerhouse. I worked with Allen Wolf in 2010 on the sleeper, “In My Sleep” and the international market opened for me in 2011 in my celebrated performance as Pearl Wisdoms in “Paparazzi: Eye in the Dark.” In 2012, I made my television debut as Becky on NBC’s Days of Our Lives.  In between film/tv, I have been in national commercials for Verizon and my voice has been used in commercial spots for Verizon, Macy’s, GA Power, Bank of America, Cartoon Network, MTV and more. 
For full filmography, go to HYPERLINK “http://www.imdb.me/syrlaw” \t “_blank” www.imdb.me/syrlaw
 
How did you get your first contact with Nollywood?

My first connection with Nollywood would prove to have been in the works before I even knew about Africa’s film industry.  That’s how I know God has a plan for each of us and it is real!  I studied acting in Atlanta at the Professional Actor’s Studio under the direction of Nick Conti.  His technique stems from one of the greatest actors to ever take the stage, Uta Hagan.  I began in the Intermediate and worked my way to the Advanced Class.  Once there, I was introduced to actors, who to this day are some of the most talented and dedicated professionals I have had the privilege of working with.  Amongst those were Nigerian actor Chet Anekwe and American actor Jermaine Jackson.  

Many years later, that friendship and connection with Chet and Jermaine would become my introduction into Nollywood.  Chet received a phone call from Ghanaian performer Koby Maxwell.  He was doing a show in the Bay Area in California and needed a comedian to open the show.  The comedian who was originally scheduled to open that show cancelled at the last minute and a replacement was needed immediately.  Chet thought of Jermaine who lived in LA and who has performed stand-up all over Los Angeles and other cities.  Jermaine flew to Oakland, did the show and while there Koby told him about his feature film “Paparazzi.”  Koby was looking for an African American actress who could embody the role of Pearle Wisdoms.  And Jermaine thought of me!  He connected Koby and I and there began the process of developing a character I simply love!  Koby and I talked about the script for months.  I sent in 3 video auditions and spent countless hours working to bring Pearle to life.  After I spoke with Bayo Akimfimi, Director of “Paparazzi” and he gave him my vision for Pearle, I was hired.  I flew to Atlanta for a couple of weeks and made a movie that I am so proud of and friends who will forever will be a part of my life!  This was my first step into the door of African Film making called Nollywood.
 
What inspired you to get into the Nollywood industry?

God leads my footsteps and directs my life.  I believe I am here to do His work. Film is a part of that for me.  He has given me the gift of storytelling.  I believe my work in the Nollywood Film Industry is a part of the plan that He has for my life.  As an actor, I strive to tell complete stories.  To present women in circumstances that people can relate to, understand and feel.  I want the audience to leave the theater, inspired and full from a real human story having laughed, cried and truly enjoyed themselves.  Having had an experience!  The gift of storytelling that God has given me, I know expands continents and cultures.  Being placed in Nollywood and the beautiful reception that I have received from fans is simply proof of that truth!
 

Where do you see yourself in the Nollywood industry in the next 5 years?
 
That’s a tough question.  I say that because I did not see myself winning Best Actress In A Lead Role In Diaspora at NAFCA two years in a row.  Last year, I won for “Paparazzi.”  This year, I won the same category for “The Entrapped” directed by Desmond Elliott.  And I’m nominated for Best Actress In A Lead Role In Diaspora at the Golden Icon Awards for “The Entrapped.”  I did not foresee making films with the brilliant Robert and Marie Peters opposite John Dumelo, Moses Efret, and Razaaq Adoti.  Or working with Kelechi Eke on a series of films.  These blessings I did not see, but I’m so happy they were for me.  From my limited sight and with God’s grace, I see myself continuing my work as an actor and producing my own films in Nollywood.  I have co-producing two films this year with my partner BJ Winfrey, “Gone” which was submitted to NAFCA for Best Short Film and “Five” which is being edited now.  I am setting myself up to work in Africa half of the year and Hollywood the other half.  I want to give back to a continent that has embraced me as a woman and an actor.  I want to continue the expansion of Nollywood working with other film industries such a Hollywood to show the progress and growth of Africa’s film community – a community that audiences both support and love.  Lending myself through humanitarian efforts to the people of Africa is also important to me.  I believe in giving back.  I will find a way to give back to a continent and film community. Whenever I place my foot on a Nollywood film set, it makes me feel like I have taken my first breath in Africa.

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