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The Transformation Of Hanako Greensmith From Childhood To Chicago Fire

Paramedic Violet Mikami has only been a part of the "Chicago Fire" crew for three seasons, but she's made a pretty big splash in that short period of time. In fact, Violet (and the actor who portrays her) made such an impression that after recurring for two seasons, she was bumped up to the show's regular cast (per Deadline).

A driven professional, Violet's romantic history on the show has been a bit messier. She saw frenemy Blake Gallo (Alberto Rosende), whom she went to fire academy with, on and off over Season 8 and Season 9. She and Gallo have an extremely competitive relationship. Their tendency to fight has sometimes hindered them on the job — and sometimes pushed them to be better people and work harder. Gallo and Mikamki subsequently have jointly decided to see other people – and, in fact, Violet recently started going out with Chief Evan Hawkins (Jimmy Nicholas) – but don't be surprised if these two end up staying together for the long run.

The actor who plays Violet is perhaps best known for her work on stage, though she has popped up on television a few times before stepping into Violet's shoes. Let's take a look at her early career to see how she's grown as an entertainer.

Hanako Greensmith has a theatrical background

Per the actor's official Instagram page, Hanako Greensmith was born on November 11, 1996. She is the daughter and only child of classical cellist Clive Greensmith and violinist and Chamber Music Dolomiti faculty member Chizuko Ishikawa. Greensmith grew up in a variety of locations, including Dobbs Ferry, New York.

Ironically, Greensmith wanted to be a nurse when she was a child but realized the job didn't match her skill set. She was bitten by the acting bug early. "I really wanted to be, like, daddy's girl and learn how to play cello," she told the Meet Me at Molly's Podcast in 2021. "I just don't have the temperament or the focus for like four to six hours of practice every day. When I recognized that, I got more into singing and I loved that, and I got into musical theatre through that." 

From there, Greensmith realized she loves performing and started focusing on becoming an actor. She was a member of the Clocktower Players' Teen Troupe in her youth, and she performed in musicals such as "Cabaret" and "Into The Woods" with them. She has appeared multiple times at the legendary 54/Below in New York with various theatrical troupes, such as the Hangar Theatre Company. Via her Meet Me at Molly's interview, the actor attended and graduated from Pace University, where she graduated with a BFA in Musical Theater in 2018. Her musical, Halona and Ophelia, was also produced by Pace University's Schaeberle Theatre for their New Musical Lab in 2018. You can see more of Greensmith's onstage work by watching her theatrical reel, which is posted to her official website.

Three brief roles led Hanako Greensmith to Chicago Fire

With so much of her previous work being theatrically-based, if Greensmith looks familiar to you and you're not a New Yorker, it's likely that you watch a lot of procedurals. Per her IMDb page, before "Chicago Fire" Greensmith has only appeared in three other projects: guest spots in episodes of the CBS legal drama "Bull" in 2018, the CBS investigative drama "FBI" in 2019, and the animated fantasy short film "Cave XR." In "FBI" she portrayed a bartender who had an encounter with a suspect in a case, and in "Bull" she played a character who wanted nothing to do with an unfolding shooting. Greensmith's work in "Bull" and "FBI" may be viewed in clips posted to her acting reel on her official website

Greensmith has also stayed busy in the theatrical world. Via Broadway World, her musical "Halona and Ophelia" won Greensmith a position in the Apples And Oranges THEatre ACCELERATOR Spring 2020 Cohort. Her official webpage declares that she's acted in off-Broadway plays such as "Lolita, My Love" (which was her off-Broadway debut) and "An Interview with God." She also took part in a virtual reading for a play by Margot Mejia ("Hi Bi," via Broadway World) in 2020.

She only had to audition once for her Chicago Fire role

When it comes to her work on "Chicago Fire," Greensmith told the One Chicago podcast Meet Us at Molly's that she'd been going into the casting office which houses both "FBI" and "Chicago Fire" for years and the casting directors there swore to her, "one day, one day something will happen, we promise." Her brief role on "FBI," which was also created by Dick Wolf, may have given those directors a heads up as to what she can do as an actor. She had previously auditioned for parts on "Chicago Med," which she later guested on as Violet in a crossover episode.

In the end, "it's insane how quickly," she nailed the role of Violet, Greensmith told podcast host Bryna. "Maybe it's because they needed someone pretty last minute, I don't even know." She only auditioned once for the role, without a callback, and was given two weeks to get to the show's Chicago set. Her appearances multiplied over two seasons, ultimately resulting in the role going on contract.

Greensmith is still adjusting to acting in front of a camera after years of work on stage. "There's something about camera work that's a much more cushioned atmosphere," she said, admitting she can't yet "judge" how she feels about it.

As to Violet's romantic future? "You're gonna see the excitement that comes with a relationship that is forbidden and you are gonna see them kind of toy with the anxieties that come with that kind of risk," said Greensmith of Violet's burgeoning romance with Evan to the Longview News-Journal. She also promises that Violet and Gallo will "go through a bit of a rollercoaster together" as they try to find their footing as friends.