Joanna Gaines spoke about the struggle of growing up

Joanna Gaines spoke about the struggle of growing up mixed race and her journey to embracing her Korean heritage

You know Joanna Gaines – one half of the couple who took the world by storm with their home renovation show Fixer Upper. Since then, they have had great success with their home and lifestyle brand, Magnolia, and are co-owners of the Magnolia Network.

During a recent interview with People, the 44-year-old opened up about the struggles she faced as a mixed-race kid of Korean descent.

Joanna grew up in Rose Hill, Kansas with her American father and Korean mother (who met while he was stationed in South Korea) and two sisters. “We were literally the only Asians in our entire school,” she said. She recalled being scolded and taunted for eating rice during lunch.

“It was deeply personal because that was half of my story,” she said. “I realized if that’s not accepted, maybe I need to hide it and play more into the other side of who I am.”

“My early memories, a lot of the things that come up are the moments where I would switch off and be like, ‘Oh I can’t be this’ or ‘I shouldn’t be this’ or that won’t be approved. I won’t get the approval you want when you were a kid.

When Joanna left Kansas for a college internship in New York City, it proved to be an enlightening experience.

“I’ve seen more people who looked like me than I’ve ever seen,” she said. “I left because I truly understood the beauty and uniqueness of Korean culture, and for the first time I felt whole, like this is complete who I am and I’m proud of it.”

But even with this newfound perspective, it took Joanna years to get over her insecurities.

“There were a lot of things that I didn’t believe were true. I had to go back and cross them out and say, ‘That’s the truth. you are worthy You are enough.’ My biggest regret is not having owned it sooner and really loving who I am,” she said.

You can read the full People interview here.

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