JoAnna Garcia Swisher | How to Stay True to Yourself, While Going for a Dream

How do you balance both the weight and the sense of possibility of pursuing a massive dream? Especially when you feel you’re representing generations and building a life and living in a very public way, from your earliest years?

We all know the story of the American Dream goes: move to America in pursuit of a better life. One with more resources, access, and opportunities, not just for yourself, but your kids, who so often hold in their hands the dreams and expectations and sacrifices of those who came before them and made it possible for them to be where they are today. It can be quite the burden. On the other hand, there’s the dream side of the equation. The example of making hard choices and taking action in the belief that amazing things are possible. My guest today, acclaimed actor, JoAnna Garcia Swisher, learned this from her dad.

Born to a Cuban father and American mother, she started her acting career at the age of 10, playing the starring role on Nickelodeon’s hit show “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” Her career truly began to blossom after she moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting as a career, playing ‘Hallie’ on “Party of Five;” ‘Bree’ in “Gossip Girl,” ‘Vicki’ on “Freaks and Geeks;” and countless others. More recently, JoAnna plays Maddie in Netflix’s hit, Sweet Magnolias. She’s done what so many aspire to, building a great career in a brutally hard business, following the dream. But, never without abandoning her roots. 

JoAnna keeps returning to the importance of family, community and service. As well as her emerging love of design, with the launch of The Happy Place, a destination that explores, motivates, and empowers the experience of living a life with intention and how that reflects in your interiors. And she, alongside her husband, spearheads the Swisher Family Foundation, a nonprofit with a mission of providing children in need with medical care, education, and recreational activities. 

In our eye-opening conversation today about the complexities of navigating Hollywood as a young child and woman, how the values instilled by her father molded her and the boundaries that sustain her career, and more, JoAnna and I explore the shifting nature of how stories are told in media and their ability to help us relate to one another, feel joy or even grieve. So join us, as she and I dive deeper into her background and then bring it back to the big picture, which is the powerful nature of dreams, joy, and storytelling. 

You can find JoAnna at: Website | The Happy Place Instagram | JoAnna’s Instagram

If you LOVED this episode:

  • You’ll also love the conversations we had with Marin Hinkle about navigating life in the public eye.

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