When Johanna Braddy graduated McIntosh High School a decade ago, she received the senior superlative, “Most Likely to Become Famous.”
That prediction is beginning to come true. The Peachtree City native has been a working actress for a decade, playing her fair share of young ladies in distress in horror flicks and smaller roles in dramas such as “Necessary Roughness,” “CSI: Miami,” “Leverage” and “Criminal Minds.”
This year, Braddy had a breakthrough, landing two notable jobs. First, she appeared this summer in the well-regarded Lifetime scripted show “Unreal” about the behind-the-scenes drama at a fake “Bachelor”-type show. She played one of the bachelorettes and in a case of reality-meeting-fake-reality-TV, she’s dating the actor Freddie Stroma who played the bachelor on the show in real life.
“How cheesy is that?” she said. “He’s in Barcelona shooting ‘Game of Thrones.’ We do a lot of Skyping.’ "
Starting Sunday, the 28 year old will appear on ABC’s highly touted new drama “Quantico” as Shelby Wyatt, an Atlanta heiress pursuing a career as an FBI agent inspired by the deaths of her parents 14 years earlier on 9/11.
The show’s first season focuses on a group of 50 FBI recruits at Quantico, Va., one who may be involved in a major terrorist attack nine months later in New York. The pilot was shot in metro Atlanta but the show moved to Montreal for the rest of the season. Montreal provides comparable tax credits to Georgia.
In the pilot episode, Shelby becomes good friends with Alex Parrish, played by Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra, who is the closest to the lead in an ensemble cast, similar to Meredith Grey on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
“They both have an authenticity to them,” Braddy said, of the two characters. “They are not fake girls. They both come from difficult backgrounds. That’s why they bond.”
Chopra’s character is “endearing and captivating," she said. "She’s an underdog. Hopefully, the audience will fall in love with her."
As an heiress, Shelby had to take care of her family after her parents’ death and handle their business. Otherwise, she isn’t sure about her own character full background yet. Shelby, in the pilot, does say, as a pretty, blond woman, she is often under-estimated, a feeling Braddy can relate to.
Braddy grew up in Peachtree City loving the transportation of choice: golf carts. She was able to drive them (with parental supervision) at age 12. Her father Steve worked for the FAA as an engineer, which is why they ended up not far from Hartsfield Jackson. Her mom Jo Beth, a teacher, worked with a theater company, helping to nurture Braddy’s own love for the arts.
As a teen, Braddy originally thought about being an opera singer but changed gears partway through high school. She landed some commercial work and a film. During senior year, she tried out for pilot season in Los Angeles and home schooled for a time.
Why she got into acting: “It’s very freeing. I don’t know what it is. You can wear a mask. You can be more expressive with this filter of another human. I love being a different person every day in situations I’d never get to be in.”
She finds being an FBI agent appealing and was a fan of the show “Fringe” although she knows she would be unqualified. “They’d never hire me,” she said. Coincidentally, before this job came along, she actually played an FBI agent for Halloween last year.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.