Joanna Gaines visits S. Korea after opening up about embracing her heritage

Joanna Gaines visits S. Korea after opening up about embracing her heritage
via Instagram/@joannagaines
Michelle De Pacina
April 5, 2023
Magnolia Network founder Joanna Gaines is visiting South Korea with her family after opening up about her struggles with embracing her Korean heritage last year.
Gaines, the 44-year-old interior designer most known for the TV show “The Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” has documented her journey from Texas to Seoul through a series of short clips on her Instagram story. 
Gaines was raised in Kansas by her American father, Jerry Stevens, and her South Korean mother, Nan Stevens, who emigrated from South Korea in 1972.
The HGTV designer shared videos taken from her airplane window, including scenes of a snow-capped mountainous landscape and an aerial view of high-rise buildings. 
Gaines also shared glimpses of the capital, including a sign that reads “Seoul Welcomes You” on an overpass and a video of a taxi’s dashboard playing a K-pop music video.
In an Instagram post, she shared a video of herself appearing to look tired, with a description that reads, “When the jet lag sets in… 🇰🇷.”
Her adventure to her mother’s home country comes after she opened up about finally learning to embrace her Asian heritage after being bullied as a child.
“We were literally the only Asians in our entire school,” Gaines told People last year, referring to her and her sister. “It was deeply personal because that was half of my story. I realized if this isn’t accepted, maybe I need to hide it and play more into the other side of who I am.”
In the final episode of her podcast “The Stories We Tell with Joanna Gaines,” she invited her mother to speak about the constraints of her emotional past before she was finally able to feel “free” after spending time in New York City’s Koreatown.
“I don’t know that I ever told you this, but I always wanted to say I was sorry for living in halfness. And not fully embracing the most beautiful thing about myself, which was you,” Gaines told her mom, adding that she is now “fully in a place of just complete pride.”
Today, Gaines and her husband, Chip, want to ensure that their five children learn about their grandmother’s heritage and home country.
“Finally, I was seeing the beauty of being unique and realized that what made me different was actually the best part about me,” Gaines previously wrote.
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