Joanna Bacalso was born in Cebu City, Philippines, where she won her first public speaking competition at the age of six.
She immigrated to Toronto, Canada when she was eight years old and aspired to be a doctor, like her mother.
While studying at the University of Toronto, she started modeling with The Judy Welch Agency to support herself as a young single mother. She started booking modeling jobs immediately as her look was coming into fashion and her dynamic personality suited the industry perfectly. She decided to forgo medicine and pursue modeling full time.
After a successful career in Canada, she made the move to Los Angeles, California and signed with The FORD Modeling Agency.
One month after arriving in Hollywood, she was hand picked by Will Smith for his music video, Just Cruisin’.
Since then her modeling work has included both print and commercials ads for hundred’s of clients including Labatt’s Blue, Budweiser, Gap and Banana Republic.
Joanna seamlessly transitioned from a modeling career into film and television.
Her television credits include guest-starring appearances on the series The Jamie Foxx Show, La Femme Nikita, and Ally McBeal and the Baywatch spoof, Son of A Beach.
Joanna made her feature film debut in the Orion Pictures comedy Car 54, Where Are You? featuring Rosie O'Donnell and Fran Drescher. She also appeared in the feature films Half Baked with Dave Chapelle, Bedazzled, Dude, Where's My Car? with Ashton Kutcher and My Baby’s Daddy with Eddie Griffin , Anthony Anderson and Michael Imperioli.
She is most well known for her role as Barb in Disney's SNOW DOGS, featuring Oscar winners, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and James Coburn.
Joanna is now embarking on a career as a director. Her directorial debut is a music video, I DO, featuring her sister in law, Saskia Garel an award winning singer/songwriter.
She is currently producing/directing a children’s TV show featuring Saskia’s soon to be released, children’s album entitled All in a Day’s Play.