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The Transformation Of Miranda Rae Mayo From Childhood To Chicago Fire

Miranda Rae Mayo has been playing the tough "Chicago Fire" character Stella Kidd since 2016. Kidd's relationship with fellow firefighter Lt. Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) has won the character a lot of fans over Mayo's time on the series. The twosome's engagement is up in the air — as of this writing — but Kidd has finally returned to Chicago after a long hiatus in Boston, taking care of her family and starting her Girls on Fire organization. During her time away from Chicago she ghosted Severide and her Engine 51 colleagues. Her work situation is tougher than ever, as she'd been in line to take over as lieutenant in the wake of the departure of Matt Casey (Jesse Spencer) but missed out on the opportunity due to her absence. Now, she not only has to adjust to a new boss and being back on the truck, but she also has to figure out where she and Severide stand.

As Stella grapples for gravity, folks who only know Mayo through the show may be curious as to how she rose to fame as part of the "One Chicago" franchise. Let us show you how she went from a regular high school kid to part of this ever-expanding TV universe.

Miranda Rae Mayo went from soaps to horror

Miranda Rae Mayo was born in Fresno, California on August 14, 1988. The actress, when called upon to recount her school days for Hello! Magazine, said that she had a fondness for learning and was "usually a great student for the first month or so and then it all just got a little looser. I'd always pull it together by the end of the year though."  

After graduating school and moving to Hollywood, Mayo modeled. Her first acting role, per IMDb, was in Episode 20 of Season 1 of "Law and Order: LA" in 2011, entitled "El Sereno." Years later, Mayo reflected upon this first job to Fangirlish in a 2021 interview. "I remember feeling so excited that I had booked a job. It had been over a year of me auditioning for TV and film and not booking anything, so when I finally did it felt so surreal and very exciting," she said. 

Luckily, her career was on the way up from there. Mayo's next notable role was on the UPN/BET sitcom turned nighttime soap opera "The Game." She portrayed Patreece Sheibani in five episodes during the program's 6th season in 2013. Mayo then took on a stint with the NBC daytime drama "Days of Our Lives." She portrayed Zoe Browning for 15 episodes of the series between 2013 and 2015 and was briefly a spoiler in the romance between Abigail Deveraux (Marci Miller) and Chad DiMera (Billy Flynn). In 2014, Mayo also appeared in two comedy shorts for the website Funny or Die, including a parody music video with Brian McKnight that went viral.

She appeared on Pretty Little Liars and Blood and Oil

Mayo made quite a splash on the Freeform teen soap "Pretty Little Liars" in 2015. There, she portrayed Talia Sandoval, a chef who falls in love with Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell). The character's romance spans a single season but definitely had its supporters.

Emily and Talia get closer as they work together at The Brew, a local coffeeshop where all of the show's regulars hang out. The love story begins promisingly enough, culminating in several kisses. But there's one fly in the ointment — Talia is married to a man, Eric Mendoza (Matt Marquez). The mysterious A — who has been keeping tabs on Emily and her friends and torturing them with threats of blackmail ever since their friend Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse) disappeared one long-ago day — then exposes Talia's married state to Emily. Emily later contrives to meet Eric, and he says that he believes that Talia is only working through a "phase" by courting Emily. In the wake of this conversation, Talia and Eric formally separate, but Emily and Talia also break up. 

After "Liars," Mayo was rumored to join the cast of "The Affair" in the role of Cole Lockhart's (Jonathan Jackson) girlfriend, Luisa León (via E! Online), but the part was ultimately played by Catalina Sandino Moreno (via IMDb). Instead, Mayo took on the role of Lacey Briggs on the ABC nighttime soap "Blood and Oil." Mayo evinced warm memories of her co-star Don Johnson: She told the Herald Review that he was "welcoming" and "warm" during their first meeting. But the splashy drama was a one-season wonder (per TV Line). Mayo also appeared in two episodes of the HBO cop drama "True Detective" before taking on the role of Stella.

She's passionate about excercise and charity -- but will she stick around Chicago?

Since joining "Chicago Fire," Mayo has largely dedicated herself to charity work in her off time. Among the events, Mayo co-organized The Eleutheromania Experience, which benefitted a charity called Conscious Teens. She told Fangirlish that she's passionate about "music, mindfulness, sex, sexual liberation, connection and kids." She also explained to Fangirlish that she enjoys weight-lifting and exercise, as well as socializing with loved ones. "I love meeting up with friends and just being together. This pandemic has taught me that I really value my connections with people, so, it doesn't always matter where I am, as long as I'm around people I love."

Fans of "Chicago Fire," meanwhile, have been concerned that their much-beloved Stella might be on her way out of the show after the character's long absence. But, per Hello! Magazine, Mayo was shooting an upcoming black comedy called "Daddy" while she was off of "Fire." While rumors circulated back in May of 2021 that she might leave the show (per Entertainment Weekly), nothing has yet been confirmed about her contract status by NBC. Fans will have to keep watching "Chicago Fire" to find out how things turn out for Stella.