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October 13, 2015

Joanna Garcia On 'Revenge of the Bridesmaids,' Her New Fall Show, 'Privileged' Fans & George Steinbrenner

by Maggie Furlong, posted Jul 14th 2010 4:30PM
JoAnna GarciaYou know the old expression, always the bridesmaid, never the bride? Well in the case of 'Revenge of the Bridesmaids' (premiering Sun., July 18, 8PM ET), a new ABC Family movie, it's much better to be the ones in hideous dresses as Joanna Garcia teams up with Raven-Symoné to exact revenge on their old frenemy on her big day.

Garcia is a busy lady, with the movie, a new show this fall called 'Better With You' (premieres Wed., Sept. 22, 8:30PM ET on ABC) and a wedding to plan with fiancé and New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher.

I caught up with the bubbly star to talk weddings, rap sheets, rabid 'Priviliged' fans, old 'Reba' pals and her soon-to-be-husband's response to the death of his boss, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

I watched the movie -- it was really cute. So I have to ask: How many times have you been a bridesmaid?
Five! [Laughs] I know ...

But now you're getting married -- did this movie teach you anything about how not to treat your own bridesmaids?
Pretty much! [Laughs] No my bridesmaids are pretty awesome. Everyone was like, "Oh the wedding! And the movie's wedding!" And I'm like, "Yeah, my wedding's gonna be nothing like this." [Laughs] This is like the polar opposite.

Did you know Raven-Symoné before you all were cast in this?
No, we didn't know each other at all. We met each other Day 1. I mean, I knew that she was pretty awesome and talented, so I was excited to get to work with her.

And you knew she was 'That's So Raven' ...
Oh yeah! She would say things, and I'd be like, "That's so Raven!" and she'd be like, "Oh my god I hate you." [Laughs] I want to have a friend named Raven, besides Raven-Symoné, so I can say it to her, because I think Raven will kill me if I say it to her anymore. Six weeks of that joke and I was like, "Come on! It's funny."

Well it looks like you guys were having fun. Where did you shoot the movie?
We shot in New Orleans. It was super fun -- take a bunch of chicks and throw them in New Orleans for six weeks. It was hilarious. Although Raven and I worked out butts off. We worked everyday, all day, but otherwise ... I think some of the other girls had some fun, too.

You all get arrested for wreaking havoc on the wedding of your frenemy in the movie. Have you ever been arrested for anything?
I mean, no comment! [Laughs] No proper convict would ever reveal her rap sheet! [Laughs] No, I'm as straight-laced as it gets. I'm too old to get into trouble!

You've got a new show this fall called 'Better With You,' but fans are still really upset about your last show, 'Privileged,' getting canceled. Do you still get that from people all the time?
Pretty much everyday. I mean, I'm not even kidding you. It amazes my fiancé because -- obviously Nick wasn't a huge 'Privileged' fan [laughs] -- but he's always like, "Damn, this show -- people loved it!" It was my heart and soul. There was so much of me in Megan, and Rina Mimoun was our head writer and showrunner ... it was the perfect combination of writer and actor creating the show together and I'm just so proud of. I do miss it, and I do long for it a lot ... I'm always so happy when people stop me and say, "What happened?" But I'm so excited about having that again with the new show.

You've done this enough to know a little bit: Do you have a good feeling about this one?
I think that it has the chance of really sticking around for a while. We have the support of our network [ABC], the support of our studio [Warner Bros.] -- which is so important -- and we have great people. The writers ... Shana Goldberg-Meehan and Greg Malins, they're running our show, and I pinch myself everyday to think about who our writing staff is.

And a really great cast!
Amazing cast. Oh, the parents [Debra Jo Rupp and Kurt Fuller]! They steal the show and I love every bit of it. They're the cherry on top. And Jennifer Finnigan, and obviously our boys [Josh Cooke and Jake Lacy] are just so fantastic and so incredibly talented.

You and Jennifer Finnigan make perfect TV sisters ...
I am so freaking lucky. When we were talking about ideas for women to play my sister, and they brought up Jennifer's name, I was like [pants like a dog] "Please!" I've known her for years, I'm friends with her husband [Jonathan Silverman]. They're incredible people off-screen, so it's really nice to get to work with her everyday. I'm just so lucky.

So in real life, which 'Better With You' character are you more like: your spontaneous character Mia, or her methodical sister Maddie?
I would say that I'm a little bit of both. I'm a little neurotic like Maddie, and very bubbly like Mia. I guess I'm describing myself as the most annoying girl in the world. [Laughs] The character that most resembles me though is Megan Smith from 'Privileged.'

It's so nice to hear you so excited about being back on TV! Sometimes when people get burned by show cancellations, they give up on TV for a while.
No, TV's been great to me. It's what I've made my career on. I love being a television actor. I love the relationship that I have with my fans, and all of those things. I'm ready to have a show that really hits big. I'm excited to do another six years or more of a show like I did on 'Reba.'

Who would be your dream guest star to come on the new show?
Oh my goodness, where do I even begin? Well, obviously anytime I think of working with anyone, the idea of Will Ferrell pops up ... so I'm gonna try to work on that, try to find his phone number. If you have any leads, let me know. [Laughs] I would love to see some of my 'Reba' friends and family come on and have a little fun with us.

Reba McEntire is amazing. I sat next to her one night at a restaurant and I almost hyperventilated. She's just so ... Reba!
Isn't she the best? That's how I feel about her to this day. She's like a mom to me, really and truly. She's legit. She's the real deal. She's as good as people imagine her to be -- and I don't even have to say that, because she's not on my show anymore. [Laughs]

Have you watched 'Pretty Little Liars' to see your 'Privileged' pal Lucy Hale?
I haven't -- I Tivo'd all of it because I've been traveling, but I just spoke with Lucy the other day. I mean, could that girl be any more delicious? Seriously. I'm always like, "Do you want to just get in my purse and ride around with me all day long?" [Laughs] She's so talented -- it's a joke. I'm glad the show's doing well.

You need to watch it! She gets pretty naughty ...
Oh, I mean, I'm not surprised. I know Lucy. I always called her Mini-Me. [Laughs] I know I described myself as super bubbly and neurotic, but I'm also a little naughty.

Now on a more serious note -- obviously there was big news yesterday about the death of George Steinbrenner. How did your fiancé Nick and the team take the news?
It was very somber. We got calls very early in the morning, and it was obviously the All-Star game, and it was hard for the boys to kind of wrap their heads around celebrating and being an All-Star. It was funny -- I was talking with Nick and Robinson Canó, who is an amazing guy, and they were saying, "We're gonna go out there and we're gonna play hard today because that's what we're doing for him. That's what we do for the boss." That's all he ever wanted from his players, and that's what they were going to give to him yesterday, in memoriam. And really, the institution that is the Yankees that he created ... I get to witness a very small part of it, but it is pretty remarkable, and I know that my fiancé is very proud to be a Yankee. And a lot of that has to do with George Steinbrenner.

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