Exclusive Interview: Miranda Rae Mayo of NBC's "Chicago Fire" on Serving Community, the Act of Compassion, and Her Involvement with Baltimore's Holistic Life Foundation
Miranda Rae Mayo is an actress, singer-songwriter, musician, human and civil rights advocate, and philanthropist. Originally from Fresno, California, she made the decision to leave her hometown in pursuit of a successful acting career, settling in Los Angeles. Currently, Miranda stars on NBC’s “Chicago Fire” as Stella Kidd. Miranda’s acting credits include BET’s “The Game,” ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars,” HBO’s “True Detective,” ABC’s “Blood & Oil,” and long-running soap opera, “Days of Our Lives.” She’s also starred in films “We Are Your Friends” and “The Girl in The Photographs.”
Check out the interview I conducted with Miranda to find out more about how she keeps her soul clear and healthy; her dedication to being a human and civil rights advocate, where it all started, and why “it’s not about her”; what “compassion is a non partisan issue,” truly means; and her involvement with The Holistic Life Foundation, a non-profit organization located in northwest Baltimore who, as Miranda explained, teaches youth ”how to create inner peace while they live in an outer world of chaos.”
Exclusive Interview: Miranda Rae Mayo of NBC’s “Chicago Fire” on Serving Community, the Act of Compassion, and Her Involvement with Baltimore’s Holistic Life Foundation
Jasmine: Miranda, you are an actress, singer, writer, pianist, and cellist! You’re most certainly health conscious, and stay fit through exercise and yoga. You are a philanthropist and are extremely vocal about doing what is right, and doing what is good. Tell me some things I don’t know about you.
Miranda: Well first of all thank you for seeing such beautiful qualities in me! I am so grateful for you! Hmm.. Let's see... I am low key addicted to peanut butter and these cookies called Digestives from the UK. I'm obsessed. And the first country I ever visited outside of North America was Tunisia and I just recently became very involved with a beautiful organization called The Holistic Life Foundation based out of north-west Baltimore. (Www.hlfinc.org)
Jasmine: Being and staying healthy not only encompasses the external work of exercise, but involves the internal work of examining yourself and improving upon things that you know need healing, attention, or complete renewal. How do you keep your soul clear and healthy?
Miranda: Amen to that! I love how these questions are phrased! You are just a vision of eloquence, girl!
Jasmine: (Thank you!)
Miranda: So for me, the morning routine is everything, which I have really seriously been committing to only just recently, and it is changing my life. Meditation, affirmations, creative time (for me that's singing and jamming with other musicians) and journaling first thing after waking up. It started with a commitment of an 11 minute mantra based meditation and has just blossomed into this beautiful communion of creativity and lucidity with me and my higher power. So important!
Jasmine: The giving of yourself through philanthropy and community service is such an honorable task; it’s one of the best voyages that you could ever embark upon in life. There is something so fulfilling about serving out of the kindness of your heart and not obligation. You support organizations such as Angel City Pit Bulls, Reading for Kids, Peace Action West, and Amnesty International. You’ve also shown your support for the NAACP, Sierra Club, National Immigration Law Center, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. You are a true advocate for human and civil rights. Miranda, tell me about how serving has enriched your life.
Miranda: It all started with this community called Agape based out in Culver City. Dr. Michael Beckwith, the founder of Agape talks a lot about how sacred service is vital to the well being of one's inner peace and I couldn't agree more.
It's all about realizing that it's not about you.
Something Beckwith says often that I truly love and resonate with is "you are not here to get anything. You are here to dispense your divine gifts." Another good one is "Your gifts do not belong to you, they belong to the community." Which I love because it alleviates this pressure of perfection. It's not about me!
It's about doing what I came to this planet to do, which is serve my community through my unique gifts of expression.
Jasmine: Sometimes, our passion for serving evolves because of a cause that overtakes us, and at other times, it is because we were raised along others who fought the same fight. Where and when did your passion for serving begin?
Miranda: I am enlivened and impassioned every time I get to connect with a person, which is pretty much every 5-10 minutes. My morning rituals have led me to this place of "how can I serve" which has really just taken over my life in the most recent months. So it's not just the charities or the events, it's the day to day interactions of "how can I serve the people who are coming into my life?" That's another Dr. Beckwith quote (laughs).
Jasmine: How has this passion for serving transcended into your career?
Miranda: I truly believe it's the reason I have a career.
Being able to surrender over to something higher and greater than myself allows there to be this ease when it comes to all the other things going on in my life.
There's no desperation when it comes to auditions, rather, it’s an opportunity to create. There is just this shift that happens which is attractive to other creatives. Creatives want to create so when we feel someone come into the room who is open and available and able to collaborate we gravitate towards them and want to put them to work!
Jasmine: This quote, “compassion is a non partisan issue,” is full and heavy. Tell me what this means and why it’s important for people to understand it fully.
Miranda: It means that no matter your religious affiliation, your ethnic makeup or you political party preference, we all are human, and we are all not only seeking compassion in one way or another, but completely capable of giving it.
We all want to feel heard, loved and accepted. The problem is, people have stopped listening.
We are all talking at each other, and refusing to let in another person's point of view. Especially if they're on the "opposite team." But when compassion is involved there are no teams. There is no right, there is no wrong, there are only people coming together sharing their experiences and living with the possibility that maybe they don't know everything after all. That's what compassion means to me and I don't believe it's an issue of partisanship, it's an issue of citizenship, our planetary citizenship.
Jasmine: I firmly believe that you are more remembered for what you did rather than your title. What impact do you hope to leave behind?
Miranda: I hope to encourage and inspire people to be the most authentic versions of themselves and to feel connected with people who look different than they do on the exterior. I hope to be a part of a collective shift in consciousness on the planet where we move towards unity and come together to facilitate healing in a major way. I hope to continue to be a facilitator of freedom by showing people how to create inner peace within themselves.
Jasmine: If there was one word that could describe your journey thus far Miranda, what would it be?
Jasmine: Are there any current or future projects you’d like to talk about?
Miranda: Yes! My involvement with an organization called The Holistic Life Foundation has blossomed into this beautiful journey and mission of educating children, especially in the down trodden inner city communities, ”how to create inner peace while they live in an outer world of chaos." Atman Smith, one of the three founders of the foundation shared this with me while I was trying to find the most concise wording for an Instagram post (laughs), I was like "oh my god that's brilliant!" But it's the truth.
Their two main programs "the mindfulness room" and "holistic me" are the most beautiful demonstrations of child care I have ever seen.
Eventually I would love to create my own educational program for public school implementation, but I am still in the beginning phases of educating myself on how to go about it. I also am releasing my original music within the next few months so please stay tuned! It's all finally happening!
Jasmine: Where can you be found online?
Jasmine: Thank you, Miranda!