What is Joanna Gaines’ Ethnicity and Why She Was Bullied Over Her Background?
We may think we know a lot about Joanna Gaines but we’re always ready to learn even more about the woman who taught us to love shiplap and gave us some great design ideas through five seasons of Fixer Upper.
A question many people have had over the years for the HGTV star is what her ethnicity is. Here’s more on Joanna’s mixed heritage and how she was bullied for her background when she was a child as well as a few other facts you may not know about her.
Joanna Gaines’ mixed ethnicity
Joanna is aware that people are always trying to guess what her ethnicity is so she spoke about her roots a handful of times including during a Q&A on her blog.
“I love hearing all the guesses,” she said after a fan asked about her background. “Although I did play Pocahontas in high school, I am not Native American. My father is half Lebanese/half German and my mother is full Korean.”
In her book, The Magnolia Story, Joanna explained that her parents, Jerry and Nan Stevens, met in Seoul, Korea, at a party while her dad was serving overseas in the military.
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Happy 45th Anniversary to these two! My parents met in 1969 when my dad was stationed in Korea and their story is one you hear about in the movies. All the odds were against them but they fought through and became an example of how to love, fight for, extend grace to, and honor each other amidst all their many differences. Here's to many more years! ❤️
“Interesting enough, the way my mother tells it, she spotted my dad sitting off by himself in a corner at that party and said to a friend of hers, ‘That’s the man I’m going to marry,'” Joanna wrote. “Her friends thought she was crazy, but she says she just knew.”
Joanna was bullied for being Asian
Joanna’s family moved around a lot when she was a child and because she was mixed she didn’t fit in with some of the other children she went to school with.
“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,” she explained in an interview with Darling. “The way you take that is, ‘Who I am isn’t good enough.'”
Things got worse when her parents moved to another area which required Joanna to attend a much larger school and she would sometimes hide in the bathroom to avoid interacting with other kids.
Years later though her family settled in Waco, Texas, and that’s where she made plenty of friends in her high school and was even voted homecoming queen.
She has two siblings
Joanna has two sisters and is the middle child. Her older sister’s name is Teresa Ann Criswell, and her younger sister’s name is Mary Kay McCall.
Mary Kay and her family were featured on an episode of Fixer Upper when Joanna and Chip Gaines renovated a Waco home for them.
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Today's house was my all time favorite #fixerupper …we got to reveal this house to my sweet sis and her family of seven (going on 8!). I can't contain the excitement-after nine years they are finally coming back to Waco! Can't wait for you to see this episode #vintagemodern #plantladiesforever
Teresa also lives in the Lone Star State in Austin, Texas, which is about 100 miles from Waco.
How Joanna came up with the name Magnolia
Joanna initially opened Magnolia Market with the intention of it being her own small business, however, Chip got involved in the construction side of things and today the company has really grown and includes Magnolia Homes and Magnolia Realty.
But how did she get the name for their successful business? Well, it came from something super sweet Chip did for her on one of their first dates.
“You know what’s interesting about a magnolia tree?” Chip told his kids during an episode of Fixer Upper. “One of mama and I’s first dates I climbed up a magnolia tree and I pulled her off a magnolia bloom and I gave it to her.”
Chip and Joanna Gaines were married in 2003 and have five children Drake, Ella, Emmie, Duke, and the newest addition, Crew.
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