JoAnna Garcia Swisher on Season 3 of Sweet Magnolias on Netflix, self-care, and celebrating moms all year long

JoAnna Garcia Swisher as Maddie Townsend is looking off to her right, smiling, in the Netflix series, Sweet Magnolias
JoAnna Garcia Swisher in the Netflix series Sweet Magnolias. Pic credit: Richard Ducree/Netflix

JoAnna Garcia Swisher, along with the rest of us, is clamoring for Season 3 of Sweet Magnolias, which is slated to air this spring.

Sweet Magnolias takes place in the fictional town of Serenity and focuses on a working mom of three, Maddie Townsend (Swisher), and her two best friends from childhood, restauranteur Dana Sue Sullivan (Brooke Elliott) and attorney Helen Decatur (Heather Headley).

The three close pals have seen one another through romance, marriages, divorce, career, family triumphs and tragedies, and a lot more. And it does all of this with a great deal of heart, relatable characters, and real-life ups and downs that make us want to keep coming back for more.

The series is based on the popular Sweet Magnolias novels by Sherryl Woods and was developed by Sheryl J. Anderson. Sweet Magnolias premiered on Netflix in May 2020 and became a place for “comfort TV watching” appreciated by the entire family.

When the three besties — Maddie, Dana Sue, and Helen — sit around bearing their souls and “pour it on” during frequent “Margarita nights,” many viewers feel like they are sitting there providing a lot of laughs and a shoulder to cry on when the three women are sharing the chips, dips, and libations.

Being back together to film Season 3 was something that Swisher truly appreciated. “It’s the best. I love it. Brooke and Heather are two of my favorite people, and I love working with them,” Swisher recently told Monsters and Critics. “We just have this unique chemistry that felt like it was pretty instant. I can’t wait for everyone to come back to Serenity for Season 3.”

Read on for why we all need self-care time, how she has bonded with the actors on her hit Netflix show, and what she is excited about for Season 3 of Sweet Magnolias this spring.

Monsters and Critics: We’re all thrilled that Sweet Magnolias will be back in our lives this spring. What does that feel like for you?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: I’m so thrilled to have everyone enjoy Season 3. It was a really fun season to film. I felt like we kind of dug in in different ways that felt different, but the same love and the same sort of realness and relatability. It was just a great season. I love doing the show, and I’m so excited for everyone to get to enjoy another season of it.

M&C: I appreciated Maddie’s relationships with her two teenage sons, who were going through their own really difficult times and pushing her away. I felt like by the end, there was a lot of growth on everybody’s part.

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: Yes, and I think you’re going to see a lot more of that. You’re especially going to see that with Ty (Carson Rowland), my oldest son. Not only just in terms of Ty graduating high school but really hitting a crossroads in his life. You just see so much growth in these young people.

Yes. I also saw it personally, too. There were so many wonderful things that were happening in their lives. It’s such a special time to be young and all of that. It was fun to get to see how they brought all of that to their characters. I think it’s going to be a really rewarding season. In the end, I think there’ll be a promise of some really beautiful storylines that are yet to be explored. But you’re going to get a taste of it.

M&C: Overall. how is your character of Maddie faring?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: It’s not smooth sailing, I’ll tell you that much. I think Maddie is finally catching her breath a little bit from the divorce and all of the chaos that ensued. But I think she’s also digging a little bit deeper, maybe the why of where she’s at, and doing a little bit of reflection.

Obviously, she has this really beautiful love story that has been introduced into her life that took her by surprise, and she wasn’t really sure what she thought of it. But I think for Cal (Justin Bruening) and Maddie especially, a moment where they’re coming up for air and they’re realizing they both have things that they have to address and things that they have to deal with and hoping in the end that they can come out of it stronger.

Joanna Garcia Swisher as Maddie and Justin Bruening as Cal in the Netflix series Sweet Magnolias
JoAnna Garcia Swisher as Maddie and Justin Bruening as Cal in the Netflix series Sweet Magnolias. Pic credit: Netflix

M&C: What was it like being back with your two besties, Heather and Brooke?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: I just feel very loved and supported and seen by them. You’re going to see some interesting things that’ll develop within their dynamic and their friendship, which I think is really real and important to address. This year you really get into the nitty-gritty.

M&C: And more Margaritas, right?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: Always. The tequila will be flowing. And the chips and guacamole, which is my favorite part.

M&C: With two young daughters, Sweet Magnolias. and your recent Hallmark movie, As Luck Would Have It, with Allen Leech from Downton Abbey. How do you balance it all? Do you?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: I try. It takes a village, and I have a huge support system, and I have a husband that’s very hands-on. I’m so thankful for my girls. They are along in the journey with me. I’m not leaving home and leaving them behind. They get up and go with me. It’s really a family affair, and I just feel really grateful for that. So, I couldn’t do it without them and without the incredible people that help us. We have a lot of animals, too, so there are a lot of moving parts at the Swisher home.

M&C: What is it about you and Mrs. T’s Pierogies that makes such a good fit

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: I was instantly excited when they approached me about working with them. First and foremost, I’m a huge fan of Mrs. T’s Pierogies. My mother-in-law swears by them. They live in our freezer. But when they came to me and said that they wanted to celebrate all-star moms, I was like, how can I be a part of this?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher is in a kitchen whipping up her Mrs. T`s Pierogies Margherita Pizza Pierogy Skewers recipe.
JoAnna Garcia Swisher whips up Mrs. T’s Pierogies Margherita Pizza Pierogy Skewers recipe. Pic credit: Michael Simon

M&C: What is Mrs. T’s Pierogies All-Star Moms Campaign all about?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: This campaign is all about treating moms to the necessary recharging moments, a little bit of self-love, and a little bit of self-care that moms deserve. I just was so excited about it. It was just the perfect partnership, celebrating moms and enjoying foods that I love. I got to create a recipe for this campaign that I was so excited about, so it was just all good things.

M&C: Do you think it kind of fits with the fact that many moms take care of their children, homes, extended family members, and work and often put themselves last?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: Yes, what I’m hearing is that we are superwomen, and I believe that. And, yes, we have so many people in our lives that we are tending to and making sure that things are running smoothly that oftentimes you leave yourself to the last.

M&C: Is there an answer to this?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: I think so. You don’t really need hours and hours to luxuriate. It feels like you’re indulging, but really and truly, sometimes it just takes five minutes. So, having a place of your own can be enough, which is why the idea of these recharging rooms was so exciting for me. It’s about having a space that’s yours, that holds the things that are near and dear to you. 

These are some of the tips that I offer throughout this campaign of just personalizing these small spaces and putting things in them that make you happy. Are you a reader? Do you want to listen to some good music? It’s about whatever your idea is of a true recharging moment; creating a space for yourself.

M&C: How do you recharge?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: I’m an avid reader. I read at night before I go to bed. Truly when you give me an idea of something that’s just the most indulgent moment of my day, it would be that I could actually pick up a book that I love in the middle of the day. That, to me, is just such a gift. My recharging room has a good, cozy chair, a little stack of my books, and something to keep me warm. I wish it was soundproof. But when I walk into her recharging room, everyone knows to just kind of give me a minute.

Any time a company that I am a huge fan of and is a part of my home life wants to celebrate something that’s very near and dear to me, in this case, motherhood, I will jump at the chance to join forces.

Heather Headley as Helen Decatur, Joanna Garcia Swisher as Maddie Townsend, and Brooke Elliott as Dana Sue Sullivan in the Netflix series,Sweet Magnolias.
Heather Headley as Helen Decatur, JoAnna Garcia Swisher as Maddie Townsend, and Brooke Elliott as Dana Sue Sullivan in the Netflix series Sweet Magnolias. Pic credit: Richard Ducree/Netflix

M&C: So, why do you think Sweet Magnolias is still such a hit? It started during the pandemic and became such an immediate comfort. But the attraction from the viewers has continued.

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: I think at the core of it, at least what it feels like when we’re making the show, is that it’s really relatable. There’s an incredible amount of heart. It doesn’t shy away from being genuine, and it doesn’t shy away from being honest and true — it’s very wholesome in a lot of ways. At the end of it, at the core of it, you have these three women who genuinely love each other, have seen each other go through all of the things, and continue to go through all of the things. I think it’s a testament that your family isn’t necessarily your blood, and you can create your own family. I think that there are a lot of relatabilities within that.

Please tell me more about your feelings about Season 3.

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: I really love this season in particular because you see it’s not always sunshine and rainbows; there is a real friendship there and a real journey and it ebbs and it flows. Like anything, you want to kind of see a little bit of yourself in that kind of programming, I think. I think that Sweet Magnolias and Serenity is a place that we hope everybody can see themselves walking through.

Seasons 1 and 2 of Sweet Magnolias are now streaming on Netflix. The much-anticipated Season 3 is slated to stream on Netflix in the spring.

For more on Mrs. T’s Pierogies All-Star Moms campaign through March 28, click here.

Next, Exclusive: Love on the Spectrum U.S. teaches us ‘we have just as many commonalities as there are potential differences’

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