Joanna Gaines portrays a confident mother, wife, and designer in front of the cameras, but the Fixer Upper star didn’t always have a high self-esteem. While Fixer Upper continues its fifth and final season, Joanna recently opened up about her insecurities growing up as an Asian-American.
According to People, Joanna admitted that confidence has never come naturally. Joanna might seem confident on the outside, but she insists that it is just a way to mask her feelings of insecurity. And it all started when Joanna was a young girl in school.
“If you haven’t heard my story, my mom is full Korean, and my dad is Caucasian,” Joanna explained. “Kids in kindergarten would make fun of me for being Asian and when you’re that age you don’t know really how to process that; the way you take that is, ‘Who I am isn’t good enough.'”
Joanna’s self-confidence reached a new low when she moved to Texas and was enrolled in a much larger school. Joanna recounted her first lunch in her new environment and how she was so overwhelmed with the number of students that she simply ate in the bathroom.
Luckily, things changed for the good when her parents moved to Waco, Texas, where the tight-knit community made it easy for Joanna to make friends. But her battle with insecurities didn’t end there.
The Fixer Upper host faced another confidence test during her final year in college. Joanna spent her final semester in New York City, where she found herself once again questioning her identity and purpose in life.
She recalled that time she ate lunch alone in the bathroom as she wrestled with finding her identity. Although Joanna struggled to find her confidence, her introspection led her to discover her true passion: helping others who also find themselves insecure.
Fast forward to today and Joanna accomplishes her passions several different ways, whether it’s helping people through her television show with husband Chip Gaines or sharing her experiences in her books and magazine.
She also instills her message into her kids, Drake, 12, Ella, 11, Duke, nine, and Emmie Kay, seven. Joanna teaches them to befriend kids in their school who stand alone on the playground and to watch out for those who eat lunch by themselves.
While growing up was hard for Joanna, she didn’t go it alone. The HGTV star has three sisters, one of whom, Mary Kay, was featured on Season 5 of Fixer Upper, when Joanna and Chip helped renovate her home.
Little is known about Joanna’s siblings, but she does post pictures of them on social media periodically and you can tell they are related. It’s also clear from the photos that Joanna is very close to her sisters, though they tend to keep a much lower profile in public.
Chip and Joanna Gaines can be seen in their fifth and final season of Fixer Upper Tuesday nights on HGTV.