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Interview: Miranda Rae Mayo

Currently, in its sixth season, NBC’s Chicago Fire continues to be a hit and steady performer for the network. One of the reasons for the series success is the outstanding cast that has been assembled for the series.

One of those cast members is Miranda Rae Mayo, who plays the intriguing Stella Kidd. In the sixth season, Stella has seen her share of ups and downs. Born in Fresno, California, Mayo’s performance as Stella Kidd has made that character one of the most popular in the series.

We sit down with Miranda to talk about who Stella Kidd is, her relationship with Kelly Severide and what fans can look to with the rest of the sixth season of Chicago Fire.

Pop Culture Principle - You lived with Stella Kidd for two seasons now. How has she grown from her first appearance on Chicago Fire to today?

Miranda Rae Mayo - She has definitely gotten a lot better at being vulnerable. Kelly has definitely provided the space for her too, but she has really stepped up in asking for what it is that she wants and letting him know exactly where she's at emotionally.

Pop Culture Principle - One thing fans love about Stella Kidd is that she isn’t afraid to speak her mind. How much fun is it for you to play a character like that?

Miranda Rae Mayo - It's kind of therapeutic. There are times in my life where I have consciously tapped into her energy to help get me through an uncomfortable confrontation because, for the most part, Stella really doesn't care what you think about her.... unless you're Kelly's mom.

Pop Culture Principle - We’ve had a taste of Stella’s troubled past. Will we get to learn more about her this season or do you hope if the show is renewed, we learn more in the next season?

Miranda Rae Mayo - I hope we learn more next season. It would be so fun to dive deeper into that world. All my fingers and toes are crossed for that storyline to manifest.

Pop Culture Principle - We got to see a very different side of Stella when she had to deal with Hope not only being a rival for Severide, but also messing with her. What was it like for you as an actor to play those scenes?

Miranda Rae Mayo - It's a great exercise in finding what's being said between the lines. My main goal with Hope was to never exude cattiness. I think that's what makes everyone on the show so interesting to watch; their mouth may be saying one thing, but their posture or the way they're breathing may be communicating something entirely different. It's mesmerizing. Sarah Shahi, who plays Severide's ex-fiancé from season 2 is EXCELLENT at that. I love watching her work. Same with Eamonn Walker, Christian Stolte, David Eigenberg, I mean everyone on our show, really.

Pop Culture Principle - Stella and Kelly Severide have a very special relationship on the series. Both you and Taylor Kinney have great chemistry onscreen. Can you talk about what it’s like to work with him?

Miranda Rae Mayo - He's a ridiculous human. I'm really grateful we've gotten to work together as much as we have. Sometimes it's intimidating because I'm a fan of his work, but he's really great about just providing the space for me to do what I need to do to work through my stuff and get on with the scene. I've mostly learned to stop trying to make things happen in scenes with him. Listening and being present is enough.

Pop Culture Principle - We see how Stella reacts when Severide is almost hurt on a call. Did that close call make her realize how she truly feels, or does she still see the big picture when it comes to Severide?

Miranda Rae Mayo - She is doing her best to be sensible. She's spent the majority of her romantic life reacting to her emotions versus responding to them, so she's not jumping head first into this one. She's just sitting in it for a minute and I'm proud of her for that.

Pop Culture Principle - What do you feel is Stella’s biggest strength and her biggest weakness?

Miranda Rae Mayo - I think her biggest strength is her selflessness and her biggest weakness is her impulse to try and control whatever situation she's in. It comes from being orphaned at such a young age.

Pop Culture Principle - What can fans look forward to with the rest of this season of Chicago Fire?

Miranda Rae Mayo - The rest of the season is filled with uncertainty. We have a sudden death and choppy waters for the Dawsey and Stellaride ships. It's all going to be great!

We would like to thank the wonderful Miranda Rae Mayo for taking time to talk with us! If you would like to keep up with her latest news and projects, you can follow her official Twitter and Instagram accounts @msmayoalldayo. You can catch all new episodes of Chicago Fire every Thursday night at 10/9c.

**All photos courtesy of Elizabeth Morris/NBC**

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