Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Interview: Ex-Party of Five Star Enjoys the "Privileged" Life

JoAnna Garcia, known to many television viewers as Cheyenne from “Reba” and Hallie from “Party of Five,” is entering the world of the Palm Beach social set on The CW’s new show called “Privileged.” JoAnna stars with Academy Award-nominated actress Anne Archer in the weekly drama, which premieres Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT.

JoAnna stars as Megan Smith, a recent Yale graduate who finds herself being hired as the tutor of Laurel Limoges’ (Anne Archer) twin 16-year-old granddaughters. As the show’s premiere gets closer, JoAnna can barely contain her excitement.

“I am so thrilled,” JoAnna tells me. “Up until now, it has felt like our little secret, but soon, it will be for everyone. I had worked with people from The CW for some time, and I happened to read this script by chance. After I read it, I was like, ‘I don’t care what you have to do to make this happen, just make it happen.’”

One thing that drew JoAnna to the show was the similarities between herself and Meg. “Everything about Meg hits home to me. It’s wonderful to play her. She sometimes puts her foot in her mouth, like me. She’s just a sweet, sexy girl who is just starting to come of age. Meg is a very strong female voice in a television world that is usually dominated by men. She stands for everything I’d want my daughter to stand for.”

For Meg -- who initially went to Yale for journalism but ends up becoming a tutor -- it could be seen as a step down to not be working in her field, but JoAnna doesn’t see it that way. “Initially there is shock. She says to Laurel: ‘I’m a writer. I’ve never taught anyone anything.’ But everything she has, she did all on her own. There is a drive and inner confidence you aren’t aware of. There is uneasiness at first, but ultimately she is trying to find herself through writing in her journal and just living life each day.”

Meg is able to find a common ground with the wealthy twins she is tutoring in that the three of them grew up motherless. JoAnna explains: “No matter how much money you have, you have to choose a path. It’s all part of the journey for her.”

Working with such a renowned actress as Anne Archer has been an amazing experience for JoAnna. Aside from being a true professional and such a pleasure to work with, JoAnna is most captivated by Anne’s girly side. “There is nothing about Anne that I don’t adore. She is amazing; and she is also such a girly girl. She’s so excited to be a part of such a young show. She told me, ‘I love to be around young people and see their world as it opens up before them.’ She’ll sit around with us and talk about tattoos and boys. Bottom line: She’s a really neat chick.”

Being the main character in a new show has been a little bit scary, but JoAnna is mostly excited about what lies ahead. “In the first few weeks I had some anxiety, in that there is a lot of responsibility on the Megan character. Her character helps the other characters to take shape. But now that we are all settled in, things are really coming together. Everyone is definitely bringing it, and it’s made it such a great team effort. I feel like there is so much we can do with this show under the guise of wealth and privilege. It’s a nice escape for the audience, but we also send a good message.”

(Photo: Patrick Ecclesine/Warner Bros. Television)