Ever since Sweet Magnolias premiered in 2020, JoAnna Garcia Swisher, who plays Maddie Townsend in the Netflix hit series, is grateful to be part of the amazing cast, especially now the strike is over.
"I've heard some whispers of storylines, and it's going to be a doozy! I am mentally preparing myself for it. I am going to direct an episode, so I am really excited about that, and I can't wait to be around everybody. We've had so much of the same crew for all four seasons, so it feels like a real family," the 44-year-old, who partnered with Abbott, the makers of BinaxNOW COVID-19 Self Tests, to share how she prepares for and enjoys the traditions that make the holiday season so special for her and her family, exclusively tells Morning Honey.
Though the cast and crew have been on a hiatus, they still keep in touch via their group chat. "Heather Headley [who plays Helen Decatur] and I can spend hours and hours on the phone together. We have kids who are similar in age and both of our husbands are retired athletes, so we have a lot of synergy in our lives," the actress, who shares daughters Emerson and Sailor with husband Nick Swisher, shares. "We spend a lot of time chatting, but I am super close with Sheryl Anderson, who is our showrunner and head writer. Carson [Rowland], the young man who plays my oldest son, had a baby this year!"
Though the red-headed beauty has been on other fan-favorite shows such as Reba and Freaks and Geeks, she knows it's special when viewers become obsessed with a series. "I never take it for granted. I've been very lucky in my career to have great working experiences, but they are all different and the chemistry is different," she explains. "This one is especially has such a wonderful group of people. At the end of the day, we're making a show that feels like a warm hug and everybody shows up with that same sort of vibe."
"The response to the show has been such a blessing," she adds. "To be able to act in a show that has been embraced by so many people all over the world and then travel and meet the fans that watch the show and love it — I am just super grateful," she continues. "This business is tough, and there's not many times when the show resonates with others. It's always a pinch-me moment. The stories we tell are so heartwarming."
The series, which focuses on the people living in a small town called Serenity, is all about female companionship. "It's definitely the kind of storytelling I gravitate toward," she says. "I love being in a show that is focused on women and real friendships and how they endure things together. Your family either by blood or by chosen family, and we show how important that is. This show represents all of those things. In the new year, I am going to be creating shows and entertainment in that same vein — that make you feel good and make you feel connected. I am so happy I get to start the year with Sweet Magnolias."
The mom-of-two is thrilled to be starting the year off with a bang. "I feel very lucky to be surrounded by people who are so supportive of my growth and who have given me an opportunity to direct. That's felt like a gift and something I am so excited about," she adds.
In the meantime, ahead of the holiday season, the Gossip Girl alum is all about making sure her family is healthy and happy, which is why she is was thrilled to partner with Abbott, the makers of BinaxNOW COVID-19 Self Tests.
"This time of year everyone gets sick and we're battling that. When Abbott asked me to partner with them to talk about their COVID-19 Self Tests, I was like, 'Yes,' because they are literally in my medicine cabinet. In fact, I was sick a couple of weeks ago and it was the first thing I did," she shares. "I always want to know what my symptoms are and then you can decide what the next steps are. Then, I can see what my week is going to look like. The tests take 15 minutes, so you can rule out COVID-19 and then determine if you're going to go to the doctor and get medicine. It was an organic partnership and part of my mom routine!"
"We're definitely not afraid of germs in our house! We're ready for them when she comes," she quips. "We prioritize getting a good night's sleep, keeping hydrated, keeping ourselves as strong as possible and keeping our defenses up to all the creepy crawlies that could potentially come into our home. When it does happen, we have the right resources to use."