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JoAnna Garcia Swisher is the American actress who portrays Ariel and Wish Ariel on ABC's Once Upon a Time.


JoAnna Lynne Garcia, professionally known as JoAnna Garcia Swisher, was born on August 10, 1979[2] in Tampa, Florida[1] to Spanish-American homemaker and former elementary school teacher Loraine and Cuban gynecologist and obstetrician Jay Garcia.[2] She earned her first acting gig at about age eleven; snagging the role of Wendy in the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center's children's production of Peter Pan. Back then, her parents insisted acting work be balanced with a normal kid's life—even as she was interrupting classes at Tampa Catholic High School to head to Canada for a role in Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark?[1]

While still residing in Florida, JoAnna snapped up just about every acting role she could land; scoring parts in the Tampa-based ABC series Second Noah, seaQuest DSV, Superboy and numerous movies of the week. After high school, she tried out a brief year at Florida State University, but the pull towards acting was too strong. JoAnna quit school entirely and moved to Los Angeles. Through connections from her acting work based in Florida, JoAnna had a job before she could buy furniture for her apartment, flying to North Carolina to film a television movie with John Ritter.[1]

Recurring roles on Party of Five and Freaks and Geeks followed, along with a part in drama Opposite Sex. She even scored a memorable guest role on Fox's Boston Public. JoAnna was set to act in the cast of David Alan Grier's DAG, but months before the show's fall 2000 debut, she was fired. This turned into a positive; freeing the actor to take a job on The WB sitcom Reba, portraying Cheyenne Hart Montgomery as the show she left was canned by NBC for low ratings.[1]

After Reba, JoAnna explored more on-screen roles in both television and film including, but not limited to, the CW series Privileged, movie spoof Not Another Teen Movie, ABC Family movies The Initiation of Sarah and Revenge of the Bridesmaids and long running drama series Gossip Girl. She has also guest starred on sitcom How I Met Your Mother and starred in short-lived series Better With You.

She is married to baseball player Nick Swisher.[3] They have one daughter, Emerson Jay Swisher.[4]


  • During her appearance in the Once Upon a Time episode "The Jolly Roger", JoAnna portrayed Ariel as the disguised form of Zelena.
  • According to Jennifer Morrison, producers were after JoAnna to guest star on Season One. Rumors said that she could have been cast as Ariel.[5]
  • Despite playing the role of a mermaid, JoAnna cannot swim in real life. Her stunt double was used to do the scenes where Ariel is swimming.[6]


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

External links