Getting back to work. Chicago Fire is set to start production in early October and Miranda Rae Mayo is ready to go — but she’s also got a new look on life heading into season 9.
“A welcome shift that COVID has provided is a shift in perspective, as far as caring about the community and recognizing how our individual actions affect the community,” the actress, 30, said on the latest episode of the “Watch With Us” podcast. “I think there’s a shift now where, it’s like, I can’t just think about myself because my actions literally directly affect the health of people that I love.”
Since filming stopped in March, she has worked on finding a balance between self-love, creating new content and helping others. She’s been working extremely closely with the Holistic Life Foundation, helping to provide mindfulness education for children and recording new music, which will be coming out soon.
For now, it’s time to head back to work!
“It’s a big shift in the way that we have operated on set, but I welcome the challenge to be a more mindful like community member,” Mayo told Us. “We’re getting tested every day. So, even if we’re not scheduled to work, we’ve gotta go in and get tested. We’ve gotta think about the whole and how it’s beneficial to everyone in keeping everybody safe.”
Although filming begins very soon, the actress hasn’t read anything about the story lines for this season.
“[Creator] Derek [Haas] is like, please just be healthy, show up to set healthy, and then we’ll talk about story line,” she joked. “I have no idea. I do know that because we didn’t end on any cliffhangers — which worked out magnificently — we don’t have to pick up where we left off. We can pick up five months later or however long.”
Although she has “no answers” about how the pandemic will affect their day-to-day activities, she knows changes are coming. “Even with our gear, our masks that we have to wear, I’m very curious,” she added.
Season 9 will also feature a cast change at the firehouse as Annie Ilonzeh has exited the show. Replacing Foster will be a new character, Gianna Mackey, portrayed by Adriyan Rae. However, Mayo “has a lot of faith” that the bond between the women in the firehouse won’t be changing anytime soon, despite being “different” without Foster.
Overall, she’s ready to dive back into Stella — especially since it’s a great escape from what’s happening in the world.
“Part of why I’m so excited to get back to work is really to just, like, allow myself to meld into this character where it’s, like, her life is fine. She’s in a stable relationship, she has her friends, she’s highly revered in her career. It’s gonna be OK. I literally pretend my way through,” she said with a laugh. “I’m gonna put myself in this world and fully somehow, copy and paste it into Miranda’s life.”
For more from the star, including her first impressions of the new cast member, Stella and Severide’s relationship and more, listen to the “Watch With Us” podcast above. Subscribe for more exclusive TV news and interviews.
Chicago Fire premieres on NBC Wednesday, November 11, at 9 p.m. ET.