May 05--Miranda Rae Mayo always knew she wanted to act.
That's why as soon as she graduated from Roosevelt High School, the Clovis native packed her bags and moved in with a cousin in Riverside. When pressured to start taking some college classes, Mayo made a bet with her cousin: She would get an agent, manager and start going on auditions by the end of the semester. If that didn't happen, she would stay in school.
She won the bet.
Mayo has made a few guest appearances on TV shows, including "Law & Order: LA," but her biggest acting break can be seen this week. On Tuesday, she is featured in a five-episode arc on the BET series "The Game" that will continue into next season. She plays the daughter of a multibillionaire who works in public relations.
"It didn't feel like a gamble because I had faith that I would get work. When it started to happen, it was so miraculous and amazing. My manager started knocking down doors and now we are where we are," says Mayo.
She has shown that kind of confidence since she started acting at the age of 8. It was her discovery of the junior company at Good Company Players, Children's Musical Theaterworks and other productions while attending University and Roosevelt high schools that sealed her acting fate.
Between her freshman and senior years in high school, she appeared in 14 shows, including the CMT productions of "High School Musical," "Zombie Prom" and "Sweeney Todd."
Judy Stene, CMT executive director, knew the moment she met Mayo that she had the skills to make acting a career.
"Miranda was someone -- from the first audition -- her potential was obvious," Stene says. "You could see her ambition. But, her ambition came without a super ego."
That ambition landed her work in TV and film, plus print modeling. She has worked with Emmy Rossum, Snoop Dogg, Rick Fox and now with Brandy Norwood, Coby Bell and Hosea Chanchez on "The Game." Mayo was particularly excited about getting to work with Norwood.
It wasn't long after she started filming the episodes, Mayo discovered a Fresno connection to Bell, who is the son of Fresno's Michel Bell, a singer and actor mostly on Broadway and in touring shows.
"Our dads and my uncle were very good friends. My uncle was one of his dad's best friends. He passed away before we started shooting and there were services in Fresno and down here. Coby came to one of the services where he found out about our connection," Mayo says.
For now, she's been hired for the five-episode arc. But the role could continue.
Mayo describes her character as someone who is "very independent, who knows what she wants and will not just manage to get by but flourish." She laughs at the suggestion that the character sounds a lot like her.
-- "The Game," 10 p.m. Tuesday, BET
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.
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