Celebrity Interview: JoAnna Garcia Swisher
Take a peek into the life of one of TV’s fan-favorite and find out what JoAnna Garcia Swisher is working on next.
By Jessica Radloff
Once upon a time, a girl from Tampa, Florida, knew she was destined to be an actress. Following appearances in commercials and on Nickelodeon, JoAnna Garcia Swisher departed for L.A. and “never looked back.” Today it seems as if the 35-year-old actress has always appeared on fan-favorite shows, including Gossip Girl and Once Upon a Time, and we predict similar success as she portrays Betty Grissom, wife of astronaut Gus Grissom, on ABC’s The Astronaut Wives Club. In real life, she’s married to baseball player Nick Swisher and is mom to 2-year-old daughter Emerson. The family travels between homes, social lives and careers in Cleveland, Tampa, Scottsdale and the Hollywood Hills, which makes us think we’ve found Garcia Swisher’s next project: modern-day fairy tale.
You had to cut your long hair for The Astronaut Wives Club. Difficult?
I had a dark moment, but now I really like it. Any big look change I’ve ever had has been because of a job, so that and a bottle of wine have given me the courage!
You met the real Betty Grissom. What was that like?
Amazing. I told her, “I want you to know that all I cared about was telling the story that you would want to be told.” She didn’t seem too terribly concerned about anything. We were just excited to have a few hours together.
Of all the iconic ’90s shows that you were on, which one meant the most to you?
Clarissa Explains It All was super- monumental for me because it was my first real guest-starring role. I love Melissa Joan Hart so much. We used to have slumber parties, and it was so awesome. Party of Five was my first job here, and I was meeting people like Lacey Chabert, who is still my friend. … I’ve been very lucky.
After Party of Five, you played Reba McEntire’s daughter on the WB’s Reba. What did you learn from her?
She was so incredibly kind. Back then, I was 22 years old and broke up with my boyfriend every other day. She set a tone on set of incredible love and respect. She was even a bridesmaid at my wedding.
Your husband, Nick Swisher, plays for the Cleveland Indians. As a baseball fan, what’s your ballpark preference: Dodger Stadium or Angel Stadium?
Dodger Stadium is closer to my house, but I think Angel Stadium, because I’ve been there more—although I love a night out with my friends, which is usually Dodger Stadium. Proximity usually wins out.
In your free time, where do you love to shop?
Switch Beverly Hills, both locations: Bel-Air and Beverly Drive. My best girlfriends own it, and they just have this eye for fashion and make me take chances.
What are your restaurant staples?
Nobu is one of my favorites. I love Cuvée for lunch. Sunset Tower is great—anywhere I can get a nice glass of wine and some fresh food.
You have a horse, Dixie. Where do you love to go riding?
I love riding the hills at Sunset Ranch. … Dixie is, like, 400 years old and lives near Beachwood [Canyon]—she’s so awesome.
Where do you take Emerson to play?
We love Coldwater Canyon Park. All my girlfriends and their kids have playdates there. I love to go to The Grove on Friday nights for live music. The kids run around like chickens with their heads cut off, so it’s a fun time. We get out a lot—my child is uber-active!
You’re incredibly passionate about animals. Tell us more.
We rescued two of our dogs from Spot!, which is on La Cienega, but there’s so many [rescue organizations]that are doing a lot of great work. I also work with a lot of local vets because they see a lot of animals in need. If there’s a family that brings in a pet and they can’t afford the surgery, Nick and I are on the list to possibly pay for those surgeries. If we can do that, that’s something that we’re happy to do.
Angel Stadium 2000 E. Gene Autry Way, Anaheim, 714.940.2000 Coldwater Canyon Park 1100 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, 310.285.6820 Cuvée 145 S. Robertson Blvd., L.A., 310.271.4333 Dodger Stadium 1000 Elysian Park Ave., L.A., 323.224.1507 The Grove 189 The Grove Drive, L.A., 323.900.8080 Nobu 22706 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu, 310.317.9140 Spot! 534 N. La Cienega Blvd., L.A., 310.275.2820 Sunset Ranch 3400 N. Beachwood Drive, L.A., 323.469.5450 Sunset Tower Hotel 8358 Sunset Blvd., L.A., 323.654.7100 Switch 238 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, 310.860.1650; 2954 Beverly Glen Circle, Bel-Air, 424.832.3184