We are over the moon for ABC’s latest soapy miniseries, The Astronaut Wives Club, which finally blasted off last week and took one giant leap (in high heels) for womankind. The period drama tells the untold story of the seven young women who stood on the frontlines of the space race and behind the men of NASA’s Mercury Program.
While some of the women were the total embodiment of 1950s wifely perfection, others challenged the idea of being a traditional housewife. The band of unlikely friends came together to put on a brave face for the cameras and to keep their families down to earth while their husbands launched into space on death-defying missions.
Ahead of tonight’s brand-new episode, we caught up with JoAnna Garcia Swisher to get the scoop on her character Betty Grissom, her featured style on the show, and what to except for the rest of the season.
On Betty's backstory and what she appreciates about her:
“Betty was not only Gus Grissom’s wife, but was also his best friend. She did everything that she could to support him in his journey and even worked to put him through engineering school," Garcia Swisher says. "What I admire so much about [Betty] is her incredible loyalty and dedication to her husband and to her marriage. She went through staggering lengths to ensure that Gus’ legacy was upheld and was protected, even after his death. I really understand that commitment because I have that same commitment to my husband.”
On tellin' it like it is, just like her character:
“She was very outspoken and very certain about her opinions … you never really knew what was going to come out of Betty’s mouth and I love that about her. Stephanie Savage has said I’m just like Betty in that sense and it makes me proud to hear that.”
On how her fashion choices differ from Betty's:
"The incomparable Eric Daman [costume designer for the show] gave Betty what he calls the 'frozen vegetable palette' so she wore a lot of bright greens and oranges and yellows, which I never really wear in my own life, and even though her kitschy accessories may not have been the most fashionable pieces, I think they actually really worked for Betty … she had a very strong sense of self and a very strong sense of style."
“She is a simple girl from the Midwest and with time her style evolved but she always remained simple to an extent—Christian Dior does not become part of her life,” Garcia Swisher says. “Every woman had a different frame of reference, and came from a different part of the country and had a different level of sophistication and Betty was certainly not the most polished of the wives.”
On how the ladies band together—despite their different backgrounds—as they live through the same secret struggles:
“As the season unfolds, it really becomes a story of sisterhood, friendship, and honesty. It’s very real and very raw. There were a lot of ups and downs, but at the end of the day it all comes back to that human nature of needing to connect and needing to be supported,” Garcia Swisher says. “Some of the marriages survived and some of them crumbled, but no matter what they were there to support each other through it all. No matter what they thought of each other, or how they agreed or disagreed with each other, there was definitely always a sense of commitment to supporting one another.”
Be sure to tune into The Astronaut Wives Club tonight, June 25, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. And if you missed last week’s episode, click through our gallery to get a quick inside style scoop for each of the wives!