Anugerah Skrin winner Yaya Hamid remains a security officer

Winners of Anugerah Skrin, Yaya Hamid and Syaiful 'Ariffin (both above) have upcoming television roles lined up for them.
Winners of Anugerah Skrin, Yaya Hamid and Syaiful 'Ariffin (both above) have upcoming television roles lined up for them.ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

Winner of this year's Anugerah Skrin talent contest Yaya Hamid opts for a stable income

If you see budding local actress Yaya Hamid in a security guard's uniform, do not worry that you have stumbled onto the set of a television show - the winner of this year's Anugerah Skrin talent contest intends to keep her day job as a freelance security officer.

"Working in the security industry brings in a more stable income," says the 22-year-old, who was crowned champion of Suria's televised contest, along with theatre student Syaiful 'Ariffin, 24.

While Yaya, whose full name is Nurhajasuriah Hamid, is a newbie to television, she is no stranger to the local Malay entertainment scene.

Since 2009, she has been steadily building up a fan base as a YouTube singer. Her performances of several original pop songs which she co-wrote, all sung in Malay, are on the video-sharing site, as are her collaborations with other budding home-grown Malay singers such as Hisyam Azmi and Haqym Mokhtar.

She joined the Anugerah Skrin competition with encouragement from her mother.

"I didn't have much background in acting or hosting, but I love to try new things. My mother knows this too, so she told me, 'Why don't you try for the auditions?'" says Yaya, who has to support two younger school-going siblings as well as her mother, who has been suffering from colon cancer since 2010. Her father died of a heart attack last year. She has two older siblings who are married.

She and fellow Anugerah Skrin champion Syaiful beat 18 other finalists in this year's Anugerah Skrin, which aired weekly on Suria from January to March. The show's jury included Malay entertainment veterans such as actor-hosts Sharon Ismail and Khairudin Samsudin.

Yaya and Syaiful had appearances in Projek Kasih, a charity entertainment show on Suria last month. Later this year, they will star in an upcoming television series with the rest of the Anugerah Skrin finalists. Details of the series are not finalised yet.

Both winners are also in talks for two upcoming television roles - Yaya in a supporting role on a telemovie and Syaiful as a host in a reality television show centred on student exchange programmes.

Yaya, who graduated from Republic Polytechnic with a diploma in Sports and Exercise Sciences in 2013, has worked as a sports trainer with S-League football clubs Tampines Rovers and Balestier Khalsa.

"I wanted to continue my education and enrol in a university, but had to put these plans on hold after my father died," she tells The Straits Times in an interview.

To help with her family's medical and household expenses, she freelances as a security officer and a customer service officer at Singapore General Hospital.

Yaya's Anugerah Skrin prize includes $21,000 in cash. She says she will use it to pay household bills and loans, as well as her mother's umrah, a mini-pilgrimage to Mecca.

She says she hardly gets recognised when she is on duty as a security officer, which has included stints at major events such as the 2015 South-east Asian Games.

"I guess my cap and my dark glasses are good disguises," she says with a laugh. "But I do occasionally get fans who call out to me when I'm doing my security job, but all I do is smile back. The fans understand because they know I am working."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2016, with the headline 'Actress to keep security guard job'. Print Edition | Subscribe