Joy Gardner was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida. She received a scholarship in the Music Dance Theater Program at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. As a freshman, Joy was cast as a member of the traveling musical theater company, Young Ambassadors, where she had her first opportunity to perform outside the U.S. Following her experience with Young Ambassadors, Joy was signed as a lead singer for Holland America Cruise Lines.

Joy has perhaps become most visible in the lead role of Laneah in the Christian film, The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd that is shown at temple visitor centers the world over. After filming The Testaments, Joy returned to Brigham Young University to finish her degree and played “Eve” in the University’s musical Children of Eden. Joy can also be seen in roles of other film productions such as the Prophet Joseph Smith's older sister, Sophronia, in the film Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration and as Sister Larson in the children’s film series, Liken the Scriptures.

During her time in Utah, Joy was asked to workshop and originate the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus in a new musical, Savior of the World; the first major production in the new Conference Center Theater at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. Joy played "Emma Smith" in the Nauvoo Pageant in Nauvoo, Illinois.

Joy loves teaching in the arts. Following graduation from BYU, Joy was asked to join the Music faculty at Brigham Young University, teaching contemporary musical theater singing. She has also taught in the Musical Theater Department at the University of Florida and Mesa Community College. She currently teaches Drama at Heritage Academy.

Joy has been a guest artist on numerous professional recordings and has a solo inspirational CD, There Is Hope. She is currently the lead singer for the Uptown Big Band. Joy and her husband, Quin, were married in 1999 and have been blessed with three beautiful children.