Chicago Fire is exploring some uncharted territory in Season 9 as Stella Kidd prepares for the lieutenant's exam. The CFD has thrown obstacles in her path with certain members of the hierarchy assuming that Severide is the reason why she's making her way up the ranks, and Severide didn't make things any easier on her for several episodes despite good intentions. Now, Stella is back on track with Severide by her side, and actress Miranda Rae Mayo has shared how Stella is approaching a leadership position.
Miranda Rae Mayo spoke with CinemaBlend and other outlets for One Chicago Day celebrating Chicago Fire as well as Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med, and she talked about the unique position that Stella is in on the show as she works her way closer and closer to becoming an officer within the CFD.
When I asked Miranda Rae Mayo for her thoughts on Stella doing something that no other main character on Chicago Fire has done before as a female firefighter pursuing a higher rank, she explained how Stella is going to approach the journey. First, though, she gave credit to the first major Fire actress who played a female firefighter working to beat the odds, saying:
I love it. I mean, I definitely I know that I was not the first female firefighter on the show. Monica Raymund was and I gotta tip my hat to her because that was her idea. And the writers who have been incredible and really wonderful at writing out this journey that we're seeing [Stella] go through.
As Gabby Dawson, Monica Raymund was the first major Chicago Fire actress to portray a woman fighting to become a firefighter among male peers who weren't exactly all welcoming to her, but Fire didn't show Gabby go any further up the ladder before Raymund departed the series and set the stage for a new story.
Between Stella's Girls on Fire program and Boden's support throughout Season 8, Chicago Fire has shown Stella earning her way toward an officer's position step by step, and the latest episode proved that she's not about to let anybody in CFD making assumptions about her worth slow her down now. Miranda Rae Mayo continued on Stella's approach to leadership, saying:
Yeah, it's so awesome. I think that watching a woman in a mostly male-dominated field come up and rise in the ranks, that is a journey. I mean, I would love to have a sit-down with like Hillary Clinton and talk to her one-on-one, you know. Frickin' Kamala Harris. Those are in the political field but it's very similar where it's like, you know, busting through this kind of male-dominated arena. And what I'm really excited about, and all of the female officers that I've talked to in real life, they talk about this journey of kind of trying to be like the men and then recognizing no, no, no, the seat of my strength is in my femininity, is in my fluidity, is in my sensitivity. That is strength. And so I'm really excited to play with that and show viewers how Stella discovers her own brand of leadership and how that's more powerful than trying to do it like the guys.
Stella hasn't gotten as far as she has by trying to emulate Casey or Severide or any of the other men higher up in the ranks than she is currently, and she could actually bring something different to the CFD as an officer. Miranda Rae Mayo has clearly put in the work and thought for Stella's arc as she moves up, speaking to real-life female officers who have gone through their own journeys in male-dominated fields.
Of course, the big question now is whether Stella will pass the lieutenant's test. She has Severide back on her side, and Severide finally opening up removes at least one stressor from her life. Still, she has a lot to do, and not everybody outside of Firehouse 51 will be in her corner. I've personally been curious about how Chicago Fire will handle Stella's upward trajectory toward becoming a lieutenant when there aren't currently any officer vacancies on Truck, Engine, or Squad at 51.
Fire temporarily sent Gabby to another firehouse when she was becoming a firefighter, but it didn't stick, and I'd hate to see less of Stella. Then again, with Casey as a captain, maybe there's enough wiggle room for two officers working on Truck 81. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for anything that keeps Stella in the mix without denying her a promotion she has earned!
Find out how Chicago Fire continues to handle Stella's story as she climbs the ranks of the CFD with new episodes on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET, between Chicago Med at 8 p.m. ET and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET. You can also relive her experience over the years of Fire all over again with the full series streaming on Peacock now along with the rest of One Chicago.