Diana Porter ’99 Speaks for UMass Amherst
“No matter what life throws at you, University of Massachusetts Amherst is here to get you from wherever you are to wherever you want to be,” says Diana (Zimmerman) Porter ’99 in the newest promotional spot for the university.
You may have seen the spot and heard Porter in your social media feeds, or while watching your favorite shows on Hulu. Part of the BE REVOLUTIONARY brand campaign, the video features images of UMass Amherst students and showcases the university’s progressive spirit.
Porter was thrilled to get the role. “As an actress, so often I represent things I haven’t experienced—a food I haven’t eaten, a product I haven’t used—but I was honored to do this! I felt the truth in what I was saying, because my UMass education gave me so many opportunities.”
Porter was a psychology major and worked for many years in marketing analytics before having a child. Returning to work, she decided to pursue acting, having loved performing in plays and student films in college. She soon landed a role in an independent film and then found more work in commercials, voiceover, and modeling.
After a decade as a professional actor, she says, “It's challenging. I love the acting, but there is a lot of work involved in getting the jobs, preparing for the jobs, and a lot more paperwork than anyone thinks. You have to be organized, motivated, and have a very thick skin.”
Her work has included depicting mothers, lawyers, and a firefighter; ads for banks, Bananagrams, and bidets; a hush-hush presentation for the Pentagon; meowing dozens of different ways for a digital short; and a film role as an angel that comes to Earth in the form of a child. She’ll soon be recording a radio play based on the comic “Baby,” where she voices Fiona, a mom trying to save her baby from an unintentionally destructive baby sea monster.
Porter recorded her UMass Amherst audition in her home studio in Framingham. “Basically, it’s a cushion fort in the corner of the living room,” she says. Her warm, youthful sound and authoritative reading won her the role—and she didn’t need reminding that the “h” in Amherst is silent.
She turned out to be the perfect choice for the voice of UMass Amherst. After all, Porter could be talking about her own life and career when she says, “In the pursuit of your dreams, let nothing stop you.”