Role: Mercy’s “Daughter” and Senior Shit-Starter
Who I’d Cast: Brenda Song
Portia Wong was born in the San Fransisco Bay Area to the CFO of a billion-dollar tech company and a former lingerie model. Portia’s father was a workaholic, and her mother was an attention-seeking adulteress with a bit of a drinking problem. Because her parents were miserable and inattentive, Portia acted up a lot as a child and was constantly in the principal’s office.
Unable to deal with her, Portia’s parents sent her to an expensive Connecticut boarding school, where she quickly ascended to queen bee status and got into even more trouble. She drank, she smoked, and she disrespected the teachers. But despite her bad behavior, Portia got good grades. She blackmailed two teachers into writing her recommendation letters and was subsequently accepted at Columbia University when she was just seventeen.
Things really started to spin out of control when Portia got to New York City. Whip smart and gorgeous, she wormed her way into high society and began a string of wild affairs with much older men. These men showered Portia with lavish clothes and expensive dinners, and things seemed to be going her way until the wife of one of Portia’s suiters caught them in the act.
The woman found out who Portia was and threatened to go to the press. (By this time, Portia’s father was extremely well known in the tech industry, and the scandal would have ruined his career.) Not wanting to humiliate her father, Portia called home and explained what was going on in New York. Portia’s father was furious. He paid off Portia’s blackmailer and disowned his daughter.
Broke, disgraced, and living in New York City, Portia began a steep downward spiral. She began experimenting with drugs and struggling to maintain her lavish lifestyle. Since she no longer had her parents’ money or any hope of earning her degree, she decided to give sugaring a try.
Older men had already proven that they were willing to shell out obscene amounts of money to impress her, so she decided to start a career as a sugar baby. Wealthy suitors would buy her things, and in exchange, she’d donate her time and attention (sometimes other things, too). It was through this work that she met Sergei.
Sergei was a Russian smuggler who trafficked in everything from exotic animals to weapons and drugs. About six months after Portia and Sergei met, he told her there was a way for her to secure her future that didn’t include sugaring. Since Portia was a U.S. citizen, she could travel with much less scrutiny, and since she was beautiful and well-to-do, people tended not to get in her way.
Soon after she started smuggling for Sergei, he got caught up in a RICO sting and everyone connected to him went to prison. Portia was offered a reduced sentence at San Judas in exchange for her testimony against him.
Ordinarily, Portia’s role as a drug mule and a snitch would have placed her near the bottom of the prison hierarchy, but Portia was adept at climbing social ladders. She soon wormed her way into Mother Mercy’s inner circle by reporting bad behavior and tipping off Mercy to one of her own, who was stealing right under her nose. She used her influence to intimidate the other women into shunning Lark and make her as miserable as possible.
She met Zachariah Peters when she had been at San Judas for two years. She’d gone down to the river to spy on Lark and saw a man standing on the opposite bank. She called out to him, and they began to talk. They fell in love, and soon Zachariah was regularly sneaking down the Seam and climbing the fence to be with Portia. They never told Mercy what they were up to, but they planned to be married as soon as Zachariah was released.