Actresses Raven-Symone and JoAnna Garcia star in the ABC Family original movie “Revenge of the Bridesmaids,” which airs July 18.
In the film, Garcia and Symone star as Abigail and Parker, two best friends who attempt to sabotage a frenemy’s wedding to a guy their other friend is in love with.
I got a chance to talk to the two during a pair of phone interviews last week.
JoAnna, have you ever been a bridesmaid before? And if so, what was the experience like for you?
I have. I’ve been a bridesmaid a few times actually. Most recently, I was the bridesmaid to my best friend, who actually just had a baby last week. We had the best time. There were a few moments where I thought I was going to have to regulate a little bit, keep the other bridesmaids in check, but at the end of the day, we had so much fun. She was not a bridezilla at all. She even let us pick our own dresses, but it was a blast. She got married in Park City and the altitude definitely helped keeping the wedding jolly going. So it was a lot of fun.
In those different weddings, have there been any “ugly” bridesmaids dresses that you’ve got to wear?
No, I’ve been blessed. People have been kind to me. I was thankful for that and I’m going to return the favor to my bridesmaids.
A lot of the times actors and actresses that have Hispanic last names, they tend to change it because they don’t want to be pigeonholed into roles. Why have you decided to keep your last name Garcia and have you ever felt the pressure that you have to change it in any way?
The only time I’ve ever thought of changing my last name was when Nick asked me to marry him I never, ever have thought for one second about changing it except for that moment. I’m so proud of my heritage and where I’ve come from, and being a Latin girl is a huge part of my life. I speak Spanish; half of my family doesn’t speak English. Our traditions are based and are influenced tremendously by my Latin Heritage, and I’m proud to be Cuban American. So it never has affected my career in any way. It’s never affected the way that people look at me, nor has it pigeonholed me in any way or confused people to the best of my knowledge, and if it had, I don’t know. I’m just so proud to be JoAnna Garcia and excited to become JoAnna Swisher, too. I’m excited to be a Latin girl that’s doing her thing out there.
You engaged to New York Yankees baseball player Nick Swisher. What do you think of the term WAG (term used to identify wives and girlfriends of ballplayers)? Is that okay with you?
Sure, we are what we are. It’s funny, there’s a lot of intrigue and mystery attached to what being a Yankee WAG is all about. I think people always are asking me, what’s the drama, what’s this? And there really is none. Honestly, it takes a special person to be able to stick it out with somebody who is on the road as much as our men are. And I’m so grateful for the friendships that I’ve made with these women and we have a lot in common. And there’s some actresses that are a part of the mix too and that’s even more of a bonus, because it’s like what more could we have in common? For the most part, it’s just nice to have girlfriends that have a lot in common. We travel together. We sit and watch our men play together. We hope for the best for our loved ones together. It’s hard to watch a piece of your heart out on the field every night battling it out. Looking over the little frumps, and being able to know these things, and the ups and the downs. It’s really nice to have a group of women that you can kind of rely on and talk to, especially when children come into play. It’s a really supportive group of girls, a really supportive group of girls. I’m really grateful that they’ve welcomed me in with opened arms the way that they have.
Raven, the idea of a frenemy is featured in this movie. Why are frenemies usually associated only with females? You don’t see too many frenemies with guys.
I don’t know why guys are so cool about that. I think that is something that we’re still trying to figure out why girls are frenemies to each other. It’s jealousy; pick an emotion, girls just have it all the time forever, forever, forever. Maybe that’s why I don’t have a lot of girlfriends. I have two friends that are girls, all my other friends are guys and I couldn’t have it any other way. I can’t even explain it to you. I don’t know what it is. It’s in our genes, we’re just weird sometimes.
You’d be considered as part of young Hollywood, how have you been able to avoid any of the negative aspects of press, and I’m sure it’s all over the place so how have you been able to stray away from all that?
I stay in my house [and] don’t do anything crazy outside of it. If I see a camera I drive to the police station. That’s how. My family is so involved with my life and my mom calls me if somebody else does something. She’s like “Don’t you dare do this!” I’m like “What are you talking about? I’m not even like in the same city as that person.” I’m like, “I didn’t do anything, Mom.” She’s one of those, so I don’t think I’ll ever do anything crazy that people will know about. It’s all in the privacy of my own house.
You’ve been in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. What would you say you have learned about yourself as an actress during that time?
I’ve learned that I have so much more to learn actually. There are genres that I haven’t tackled that other people believe that I can that I personally haven’t been comfortable enough to tackle. Maybe one day I will when I’m ready to reach that – I’ve actually been able to touch it, but I was too scared to jump over it. I’m still growing and I have a lot more to do; that’s what I’ve learned.
How comfortable are you in getting political? Do you ever want to use your fame to maybe stand up for something you strongly believe in like your mentor Bill Cosby?
I think that with politics it’s such a weird road because you never know who’s right and who’s wrong. People are very tip-toeish. All I can do is say what I believe, whether it’s politically correct or not, and I don’t really care so therefore, that’s why until I find something that I am 100 percent sure on like the March of Dimes, like the Aviva House, like Girls, Inc., like Boys Hope, Girls Hope; things of that nature, I speak on until I’m ready to actually go forth. It’s also right now, like I said, I’m learning. A lot of people my age and younger there is not really a great outlet to understand fully what’s going on politically. We’re not gung-ho about going and reading about it ourselves, we want somebody to help us learn so before I know all the angles I probably won’t talk about it, but eventually I will.