Sweet Magnolias: Joanna Garcia Swisher on the Accident Aftermath & Cal’s Past

We have been huge fans of Joanna Garcia Swisher since she played Cheyenne Hart, Reba’s older daughter on Reba, or Ariel on Once Upon a Time.

Since 2020, Joanna has portrayed Maddie Townsend on Netflix’s Sweet Magnolias. The series is based on Sherryl Woods’ best-selling book series Sweet Magnolias. The series follows best friends Maddie, Helen, and Dana Sue as they balance careers, family, and relationships in the Southern town of Serenity.

TV Fanatic was lucky enough to chat with Joanna about Maddie’s emotional arc in Sweet Magnolias Season 2, Maddie’s romance with Cal, and the friendship with her co-stars.


Hey, Joanna, it’s good to talk to you again. I loved Season 2. It seemed Maddie had quite a season.

She sure did. That’s why I’ve been telling everybody I was tired. She went through a lot.

She certainly did, starting with the aftermath of the accident. How does a mom cope with her sweet teenager who is so angry and won’t open up?

It was challenging for her. Obviously, it was super traumatizing as a mom to watch your kid go through something like that, but then to not be let in and not know why. It was excruciating for her, and ultimately she had to give him his space and allow him to have his journey, but it wasn’t easy.

Maddie comforts Kyle - Sweet Magnolias Season 2 Episode 4

I can imagine and how did it affect Maddie that the one person who could reach Kyle was Noreen?

In some ways, I feel like it helped her relationship with Noreen move through that. It wasn’t easy, and I admire Maddie for coming out of it in the way that she did. It forced her to realize how important Noreen is to Kyle and allowed them to find some peace and healing.

Yes, I was stunned that Maddie and Noreen managed to form a truce for the sake of the kids.

I was too, and it was lovely. I thought that was an important story to tell. It was exceptional.

It seemed like people were starting to welcome Noreen into Serenity.

I think Dana Sue and Helen were a little bit reluctant, but I would be too if I were them. They were not the first to jump on board with that, but I understand why. In the end, they knew what that meant for the kids.

Maddie encourages Ty - Sweet Magnolias Season 2 Episode 2

Absolutely. It seems that Ty was also struggling since he got hurt and was trying to find his place since he couldn’t play baseball anymore. How did you manage to help him?

That was so painful for Maddie because the writing was on the wall, and knowing that everything that he’s worked towards was slipping away was as difficult for her as it was for him.

That’s one of those things that you have to sit back and pray they find their footing and be there for them as they go along the journey. Ty had a lot of growth, trying to figure out his relationship with his father and all of those things. So it’s like a real identity crisis.

It certainly was. It was beautiful to watch it. I also saw that Maddie and Cal’s relationship was evolving, especially as Maddie learned some of Cal’s demons when the school board wanted Cal gone.

That’s s lot to unpack too. The stakes get even higher and higher as the season goes on, and Maddie doesn’t want Cal to be collateral damage, but they’re a team and a partnership. And so I think there’s also a lot there.

Cal and Maddie kiss - Sweet Magnolias Season 2 Episode 1

I noticed we also saw some romantic Cal and Maddie scenes. Do you think they’re in for the long haul?

I think they have the kind of love that could go the distance, but it wouldn’t be Sweet Magnolias if it were just an easy race to the finish line. I’m never surprised by what’s up Cheryl’s sleeve and what she has in store for us.

No, I suppose not. Are we taking dibs on whose wedding we will see first since we know all three of you get married in the books? Just for fun.

I think Dana Sue.

Do you think Dana Sue and Ronnie will get married first? Any particular reason why?

I do. They certainly have earned it. They weren’t their happy ending. I’d love to see Dana Sue and Ronnie find that. There’s a lot of love there, and they put in the work. I think that they’re truly meant to be.

Trying to see the mayor - Sweet Magnolias Season 2 Episode 6

Yes, I like them too. So this year, we saw the Magnolias go into battle against Mary Vaughn. You seem to have the fiercest rivalry with her out of all of them.

I know, and I love Allison. But yes, you’re right. I do.

Why is that?

I don’t know. Our kids are in the thick of it together, and our sons are rivals to a certain extent. I think they have many more opportunities to butt up against each other.

That is very true. And how is this rivalry going to affect the fact that Kyle and Nellie like each other?

There’s going to be some tip-toeing and not telling the truth. Mary Vaughn has forbidden her kids from having anything to do with the other side, so she’s going to be in for a rude awakening. If I were her friend, I’d warn her, but I’m just going to watch it all unfold like an innocent bystander.

Mother and Daughter - Sweet Magnolias Season 2 Episode 1

That’ll be the fun part. So we love Sweet Magnolias for the drama. But of course, at its heart is friendship. What are some of your favorite Maddie, Helen, and Dana Sue moments?

This season, there were so many that stole my heart. They love each other. Those moments when they remind each other that they’re not alone are always my favorite. They always tear at my heartstrings.

Oh, yes. I saw several of those. Those make me cry too. You three always seem to lift each other and are like best friends and sisters.

It is the heart of the show. I love that we get to continue doing that and celebrate that type of friendship.

Celebrating Helen's News - Sweet Magnolias

It is the heart of the series. What are you most looking forward to fans seeing in Season 2?

Well, once they’ve binged the end, it just gets so good. It finishes with a bang. I can’t wait to go outside and meet people that are asking me now who’s in the car and then see what they think when we get through with them.

Yes. Season 2 leaves us on even more Cliffhangers. There better be a Season 3.

We would love nothing more than a Season 3. Let’s put it into motion. Let’s make it happen!

After the hearing - Sweet Magnolias Season 2 Episode 10

Because if they leave us on even more cliffhangers than they did in season one, the fans will riot.

Yes, exactly. We won’t allow that to happen. I think we’re safe. It was a great season to make, and I can’t wait. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.

Thanks for catching up with me again, Joanna. It’s always a pleasure.

Sweet Magnolias Season 2 is streaming now on Netflix.

Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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