JoAnna Garcia Swisher
Joanna Garcia
General Information
Gender: Female
Birthday: August 10, 1979
Age: 39
Birthplace: Tampa, Florida, USA
Nationality: Cuban
Other Information
Height: 5'5"
Occupation(s): Actress
Education: Independent Day School
Florida's Tampa Catholic High School
Talents: Acting
Family & Friends
Family: Loraine (mother)
Jay García (father)
Michael García (brother)
Emerson Jay Swisher (daughter)
Sailor Stevie Swisher (daughter)
Relationships: Nick Swisher (husband)
Series Information
Character: Ariel
First appearance: Ariel
Last appearance: Homecoming

JoAnna Garcia Swisher is an American actress. She is known for her roles as Sam in Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1993–96), Vicki Appleby in Freaks and Geeks (1999–2000), and Cheyenne Hart-Montgomery on The WB/CW sitcom Reba (2001–07). She has also gained popularity with her acting roles in Privileged (2008–09), Better with You (2010–11), Animal Practice (2012), Once Upon a Time (2013–18) and The Astronaut Wives Club (2015).

View the JoAnna Garcia Gallery.

Early life

García was born in Tampa, Florida, to Cuban parents. Her mother, Loraine, was a homemaker and former elementary school teacher, and her father, Jay García, was a gynecologist. She has one brother, Michael García. She first started performing at age 10 when she auditioned for a local theater production and landed the lead.

She was discovered by Disney Channel, but her parents put school first and she continued to feed her passion by acting in local plays. She was the homecoming queen at Florida's Tampa Catholic High School.


While in Florida, García guest starred in seaQuest DSV, Second Noah, and Superboy and several movies of the week. While attending high school, she was re-discovered by Nickelodeon and starred for three seasons as Samantha on Are You Afraid of the Dark?. She commuted from Florida to Montreal, Canada, where the show was filmed. She was cast at the age of fifteen on the 1994 television drama Party of Five, playing the recurring character Hallie. She had a recurring role on Freaks and Geeks (1999–2000) portraying the character of Vicki Appleby the popular freshman cheerleader who spent seven minutes in heaven with the ultimate geek, Bill Haverchuck (Martin Starr). She then briefly attended college at Florida State University where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, but later quit school to pursue acting full-time, moving to Los Angeles, California.

García went on to portray the character of Cheyenne Hart-Montgomery, Reba's (Reba McEntire) oldest daughter on The WB/CW sitcom Reba (2001–07). She was featured on the short-lived CBS comedy Welcome to the Captain. Beginning in the fall of 2008, she starred as Megan Smith in the CW series Privileged (originally known as How to Survive the Filthy Rich). On the big screen, García was seen in the comedy spoof Not Another Teen Movie. She has also appeared in the original television movies From the Earth to the Moon (1998) and Love's Deadly Triangle: The Texas Cadet Murder (1997). She also appeared in the ABC Family original movie The Initiation of Sarah, which premiered in October 2006. In 2008, she had a role in A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride, playing Roxanne. She had a leading role in the ABC Family TV movie Revenge of the Bridesmaids.

In 2009, García had a recurring role on The CW drama Gossip Girl playing the role of Bree Buckley, an irreverent evil Miss America-type who is politically progressive, but hails from a conservative Southern family. She appeared in four episodes in season three. In December 2009, she guest starred as Maggie, Ted Mosby's college buddy on How I Met Your Mother.

García starred in the ABC sitcom Better with You. The show centers on two sisters who were at different points in their romantic relationships: one was unmarried and in a long-term relationship and the other (García) got married after getting pregnant from a one-night stand. It was canceled on May 13, 2011.

Garcia guest-starred on The Penguins of Madagascar in the episode "The Officer X Factor/Love Hurts", which aired on February 12, 2011. In 2012, Garcia appeared in four episodes of the USA Network dramedy Royal Pains as a nephrologist treating Jack O'Malley (Tom Cavanagh). In 2013, during season three of the series Once Upon a Time she began playing the recurring role of the Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

Personal life

n 2008, García became engaged to Trace Ayala, co-founder of the clothing company William Rast with his childhood friend Justin Timberlake. (Ayala was Timberlake's former personal assistant.)

In August 2009, People magazine reported that García was dating baseball player Nick Swisher. They became engaged in May 2010, and married on December 11, 2010 at the Breakers Hotel & Resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Bridesmaids for García included friends and fellow actresses Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Melissa Peterman, and Reba McEntire. Since her marriage, she has been credited as Joanna García Swisher. They have two daughters: Emerson Jay (born May 21, 2013) and Sailor Stevie (born June 28, 2016).


Year Title Type Movie
1992 Superboy TV Series Girl
1992 Clarissa Explains It All TV Series Fiona
1994 SeaQuest 2032 TV Series Iris
1994 Are You Afraid of the Dark?: The Tale of Orpheo's Curse Video Game Sam (as Joanna Garcia)
1994 - 1996 Are You Afraid of the Dark? TV Series Sam
1996 Step by Step TV Series Chelsea
1996 - 1997 Second Noah TV Series Katherine Ortega / Catherine
1997 Love's Deadly Triangle: The Texas Cadet Murder TV Movie Susie (as Joanna Garcia)
1998 From the Earth to the Moon TV Mini-Series Julie Shepard
1998 Any Day Now TV Series Martha Montgomery
1998 Party of Five TV Series Hallie
1999 Dawson's Creek TV Series Girl #1 (Tracy)
1999 Holy Joe TV Movie Joyce Cass (as Joanna Garcia)
1999 Pacific Blue TV Series Leah Chandler
1999 Providence TV Series Gillian
1999 CI5: The New Professionals TV Series Cadet Susan
2000 Freaks and Geeks TV Series Vicki Appleby
2000 Opposite Sex TV Series Cassie Schreiber
2000 Freedom TV Series Sally Mueller
2000 Boston Public TV Series Susan Potter
2001 Go Fish TV Series Amanda
2001 American Pie 2 Christy (as Joanna Garcia)
2001 Going to California TV Series Jennifer
2001 Off Centre TV Series Ramona
2001 Not Another Teen Movie Sandy Sue (as Joanna Garcia)
2001 - 2007 Reba TV Series Cheyenne Hart-Montgomery
2004 What I Like About You TV Series Fiona
2005 Family Guy TV Series Liddane (voice, as Joanna Garcia)
2006 A-List Naomi (as JoAnna Garcia)
2006 The Initiation of Sarah TV Movie Corinne (as JoAnna Garcia)
2008 Welcome to the Captain TV Series Hope
2008 Extreme Movie Sweetie-Pie (as Joanna Garcia)
2008 A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride TV Movie Roxanne (as Joanna Garcia)
2008 - 2009 Privileged TV Series Megan Smith
2009 Gossip Girl TV Series Bree Buckley
2009 How I Met Your Mother TV Series Maggie
2010 Revenge of the Bridesmaids TV Movie Parker Wald (as Joanna Garcia)
2010 - 2011 Better with You TV Series Mia Putney
2011 The Penguins of Madagascar TV Series short Shawna (voice, as Joanna Garcia)
2012 Royal Pains TV Series Dr. Nina Greene
2012 - 2013 Animal Practice TV Series Dorothy Rutledge
2013 The Internship Megan
2013 - 2018 Once Upon a Time TV Series Ariel
2014 The Mindy Project TV Series Sally Prentice (as JoAnne Garcia Swisher)
2015 The Astronaut Wives Club TV Series Betty Grissom
2015 Grandfathered TV Series Sloan
2016 Pitch TV Series Rachel Patrick
2016 The Kicker TV Movie Bambi
2017 Fist Fight Maggie
2017 - 2018 Kevin (Probably) Saves the World TV Series Amy Cabrera
Happy Accident (post-production) TV Movie Eleanor Bennett
Sweet Magnolias (filming) TV Series Maddie Townsend


  • Played the President's daughter in the original pilot for the TV show DAG (2000). However, the show was revamped before airing and her character was eliminated.
  • Joanna is a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority.
  • Was homecoming queen at Florida's Tampa Catholic High School.
  • Dad Jay is a gynecologist, mom Loraine is a homemaker and brother Michael is a medical school student.
  • In her spare time, she teaches junior high school students English as a second language.
  • Her Reba (2001) co-stars, Reba McEntire and Melissa Peterman, were both bridesmaids at her wedding.
  • Her Reba (2001) co-star, Christopher Rich, performed the ceremony at her wedding to New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher.
  • She has portrayed wives of two different Mercury astronauts: Julie Shepherd in From the Earth to the Moon (1998) and Betty Grissom in The Astronaut Wives Club (2015).


Year Association Category Work Result
2005 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress – Comedy Reba Nominated
2009 ALMA Awards Actress in Television – Comedy Privileged Nominated
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