Interview with Adriyan Rae (Gianna) of “Chicago Fire” on NBC by Suzanne 11/16/20
This was a quick interview, but it was enjoyable. Adriyan appears to be a very easy-going person. She first appeared last week in “Chicago Fire” as the new paramedic, Gianna, and is already very popular with fans.
Suzanne: So, I read that your set shut down for two weeks due to COVID.
Adriyan: Yeah, because we were following some COVID protocols.
Suzanne: Right, and from what I hear, a lot of shows have been shut down. Once they get started again, they shut down, because somebody tests positive or whatever.
Adriyan: It could be cast; it could be crew. It could be someone in the office, but just because, you know, there’s a whole universe shooting…
(a little bit of audio missing – my recorder stopped working for a very brief period.)
Suzanne: Do you guys have to quarantine, or are you just not working?
Adriyan: It depends on everyone’s situation, which is different. The protocols are that whoever tests positive, that’s guarded under the privacy of HIPAA. So, we don’t know who it is. Then whoever tests positive, the studio does know, of course, and they do contact tracing, whoever that person would have been in contact with, they go and they reach out to those people. They ask them certain questions, a certain amount of questions, that will tell them if they were a Type A contact or a Type B, a Zone A or Zone B. Then, from there, based on that, that’s where you’re deemed to have to quarantine or not. We’re still being tested, and as you’re tested, your results come in, and you know what to do from there. They’ll let you know what to do from there. Yes, that’s where we stand.
Suzanne: Thank you, that’s a really good explanation. I don’t think ever actually – I mean, I knew sort of what contact tracing was, but I didn’t have an actual explanation. So, thank you.
Adriyan: You’re welcome.
Suzanne: And had you watched any of the Chicago shows before getting this role?
Adriyan: I have, yeah.
Suzanne: Chicago Fire specifically?
Adriyan: I’ve dabbled in Chicago PD the most. That’s why when I was auditioning before, when I said I was auditioning for two years prior to getting this role, most of those were all auditions from Chicago PD. So, I did watch that as research and, you know, follow up with it, because it’s very intriguing. So, yeah, and then of course, when I got the auditions for this, I started watching Chicago Fire. I hadn’t necessarily watched Chicago Fire prior, but I started watching it in July. So, I was able to catch all the way up by the time I started shooting.
Suzanne: Were you nervous at all coming into a show where you’re sort of the new girl?
Adriyan: You know, when you come to these shows where they’re well oiled machines, and they’re in their late seasons, everybody has their own friends, and you know, they’re adults. Some of them are just like, “I’m here for work. That’s it,” but this show was completely different. Of course you have some jitters about going to a new job. Everybody does, whether it’s acting, whether you work in finance, or even work in accounting, anything, you have some jitters when you go in on your first day of work. So, of course, but I was welcomed with open arms, and it was so warm and welcoming and loving and just super helpful. Anything I needed, helping me figure out – because they knew I had never been to Chicago before, helping me figure out what neighborhoods are good and what neighborhoods were good for this food, and if I like that food, this is over here. This is where this kind of quilt – like you’re looking for the Marshalls or the Jewel, it’s over here. I didn’t even know the Jewel was the grocery store there. They were just there every step of the way. Super helpful.
Suzanne: Oh, that’s nice. Were there any particularly friendly cast members who put you the most at ease?
Adriyan: Well, all of them. I mean, the people that I met first were Miranda [Rae Mayo] and Kara [Killmer]. Kara actually reached out and was like, “Hey, you want to just jump on a call so we can get to know each other?” I was like, “Yeah, let’s do that.” Then, Miranda reached out and was like, “Hey girl, you’re beautiful. Hi. I’m on Chicago Fire too. Congratulations.” And Daniel, I was so happy for Daniel. I had never met him, but when I had seen his announcement, I was like, “Oh, this is great.” I actually reached out to him. I was like, “This is so late. Congratulations.” He probably didn’t even know who I was at the time.
Those were my first interactions, but as soon as I got to hair and makeup, I think, my first day, Eamonn [Walker] was in the chair, and we’re not allowed to talk in hair and makeup, so after we got out, I had my mask; I was putting my mask on. He had his on, and then we’re walking to our trailers and he goes, “Hey, I’ve seen your work prior to this. Respect.” And I was like, “Oh, God! He watched my old show.” He was just super nice. He was like, “Anything you need; let me know. I’ll show you the ropes.” He was just super there, like everybody. Super warm; just amazing.
Suzanne: That’s great. You had to move to Chicago to film?
Adriyan: Yes, I’m there to film for sure.
Suzanne: How are you liking Chicago?
Adriyan: Oh, it’s a beautiful city. It’s so freakin pretty; it’s amazing. It’s so beautiful. I’m acclimating to the weather, of course, but I really love the diversity and the different foods. It’s such good food there. It’s really hard not to get that.
Suzanne: I know what you mean. We usually go to Chicago in April for a conference, and we didn’t get to go this year, and we were so disappointed.
Adriyan: Right, you missed out on some food.
Suzanne: Yeah, I love the restaurants there.
And did they give you much character background before you started filming?
Adriyan: Well, actually, yeah, I sat down with the writers, and I wanted to know her backstory that they created. And it, ironically, was the same situation; it was just like, wow. I was meant for this, because I created the backstory for her for auditioning, and then when I met with the writers, and they told me her [backstory], I was like, “Oh my God, shut up! I literally have it written down right now.” So, yeah, they shared it with me, and we kinda like ended up merging it together, because it aligned so well. It’s constantly a backstory that’s growing as we understand more about her and learn more about her.
Suzanne: Is there anything you can tell us about the role that we haven’t already seen or that’ll be happening with her this season?
Adriyan: I think that viewers can look forward to someone that’s really relatable and that she is transitioning and someone who has been through things in life and has kind of got these walls up. There comes a point in time in your life, when you’ve been going through things all of your life, and you put these guards up, put these walls up. Then, there’s a point where you’re kind of like, “Are these necessary anymore?” And then people around you are like, “You know, you don’t have to be. It’s okay if you’re not,” and you’re like, “I don’t know about that.” So, the journey of her exploring that and going through that I think it’s something to look forward to and I think that most people can relate to.
Suzanne: I enjoyed the first episode. It was like, “Wow, there’s a cliffhanger, literally.”
So, what’s nice about having – I’m sure the writers loved coming up with your character, because they like it when they can have a person who comes in and the viewer gets to see the show through your eyes as somebody who’s new and meeting everybody…So, usually, when they start out a new show, they do that. They have one person who’s new to the group or whatever, and then the viewers learn about the rest of the people through that person’s eyes. So, having you come in when they’ve already been an established show, it helps any new viewers, and it’s really good for the show.
Suzanne: Do you have any favorite behind the scenes moments?
Adriyan: I do, and I’m going to share them at a later date. So, I think that if viewers follow my Instagram, I’ll be posting them there on my Insta Story, and they can follow me at “AdriyanRae,” and that is on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Suzanne: Cool. And I was sorry to hear that Vagrant Queen was cancelled. That was a good show. I like sci-fi.
Suzanne: How long was there between you finding out that you won’t be going back to that show and that you were hired on Chicago Fire?
Adriyan: I found out Vagrant was canceled the second week of June. I received my first audition for Chicago Fire in July. I booked the role the first week of August.
Suzanne: Wow. So, that was quick. I bet you were relieved.
Suzanne: I always wondered, and let me know if this question is weird or whatever, but… I used to watch this show, and the show was all about, mainly, this one guy, and maybe, you know, a couple other people, but he was the star of the show, and then that show got canceled, and he went on to another show, and he was part of an ensemble. I was wondering, as an actor, how does your ego handle that? Was that difficult for you, or just no big deal to you?
Adriyan: I can’t speak for all actors, but me, as a person, I try not to operate in my ego. I think it’s one of the reasons my personality fits well was the cast and crew of Chicago Fire, because it’s just not a case of that. It’s just, I am an actor, and whether I’m number one on the call sheet or number fourteen, or number seven, it doesn’t matter. My character is important enough to be written into the script, and I’m just going to go out there, and I’m going to do what I love and my best and create this character and do the work. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. It’s not about what number you on the call sheet.
Suzanne: Well, that’s a really good attitude to have.
Adriyan: Thank you.
Suzanne: I think people that have that kind of attitude probably do a lot better in your job than people with a lot more drama.
Adriyan: Yeah, ego is a fickle thing to operate in.
Suzanne: Yeah, your job is not easy. I know that, because with all the rejections that you get, I don’t think I could handle it.
Adriyan: Yeah, it’s a lot. Like you could put your heart on the line, and you’re like, “This was the greatest audition I’ve ever done!” And they’re like, “That’s not good enough for us.”
Suzanne: “That’s not what we’re looking for.”
Okay, so do you have any other projects coming out that you can tell us about?
Adriyan: Well, you know, filming this show in the middle of pandemic is a project in itself, but I’m also working on getting my scholarship fund, the Heart & Soul Scholarship, presented by #LoveandLight Media, my company, getting that off the ground so we can we can provide funding or some type of help to children who are underprivileged, to get some post secondary education, which is very necessary. So, that we are diligently working on amidst everything else.
Suzanne: Cool, and is there a website for that?
Adriyan: It’s under my website at http://www.adriyanrae.com .
Suzanne: I’ll check that out. Anything else you’d like to tell fans of the show?
Adriyan: Viewers of the show, I would like to tell you all that you are loved and appreciated and to stay encouraged and to make sure that you control your anxiety and don’t let your anxiety control you in the midst of these trying times.
NOTE: Some of the questions were submitted by fans on Facebook.
Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com
About Adriyan Rae
A triple-threat singer, actress and model, Rae is distinguishing herself as a star on the rise in Hollywood. Rae has recently starred in the horror-thriller series Light as a Feather, and has guest-starred on various shows including Atlanta, American Soul, and Star. On the big screen, Rae has had roles in Superfly with Jennifer Morrison, Trevor Jackson, and Michael Kenneth Williams, and Burning Sands alongside Alfre Woodard and Trevante Rhodes. She starred on “Vagrant Queen” earlier this year on Syfy.
Born in the small city of Seaford, Delaware, Rae was raised by a single mother who instilled in her the belief that she could accomplish anything she put her heart and mind to. She attended the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia where she earned two bachelor’s degrees, one in Physician Assistant Studies and the other in Medical Laboratory Science. Following college, she discovered a passion for performing and since then has worked tirelessly to hone her talents as a singer and actress. She is classically trained in theater and has extensively trained in comedy, improv and TV/film acting.
Rae currently resides in Los Angeles.
From renowned Emmy Award-winning executive producer Dick Wolf (“Law & Order” brand) and co-creator Derek Haas, the writer behind “3:10 to Yuma,” comes season nine of the high-octane drama “Chicago Fire,” an edge-of-your-seat view look at the lives of everyday heroes committed to one of America’s noblest professions. The firefighters, rescue squad and paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51 risk their lives week in and week out to save and protect the citizens of their incredible city.
The family inside Firehouse 51 knows no other way than to lay it all on the line for each other. Capt. Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer) leads the Truck Company and brash Lt. Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) runs the Rescue Squad.
The firehouse also includes Battalion Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker), a fireman’s fireman. As chief of 51, Boden keeps his house running smoothly and his firefighters prepared to overcome all adversity. Paramedic Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) returns alongside seasoned veterans Christopher Herrmann (David Eigenberg) and Randy “Mouch” McHolland (Christian Stolte) as well as resourceful firefighter Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo).
Completing the team are dependable squad member Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso), daredevil Blake Gallo (Alberto Rosende), engine newbie Darren Ritter (Daniel Kyri) and the newest addition, paramedic Gianna Mackey (Adriyan Rae).
Executive producers are Dick Wolf, Derek Haas, Todd Arnow, Andrea Newman, Michael Gilvary, Michael Brandt, Reza Tabrizi, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski.
“Chicago Fire” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment.
Please visit the official show site at: https://www.nbc.com/chicago-fire
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Proofread and Edited by Brenda