Joanna Gaines may be half of America’s favorite power couple now, but in a new interview she’s opening up about the days of her youth when she was just a young, insecure girl who was bullied for her half-Korean heritage.
The star, who is currently expecting her fifth child with husband Chip Gaines, got personal in an upcoming issue of Darling magazine, where she confessed to struggling with insecurities until her last semester of college.
“I don’t think confidence has ever really been one of those things that came naturally for me,” Gaines told the magazine. “If people thought I was confident, it was really just the way I masked my insecurity, because I didn’t want people to really get to know the real me.”
The star revealed that she had trouble fitting in at school when she was younger as kids would often make fun of her for looking different.
“If you haven’t heard my story, my mom is full Korean and my dad is Caucasian,” she said. “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.’”
Fortunately, when her family made the move to Texas, she found things got easier. While kids weren’t really making fun of her as much, she found it difficult to make friends in a bigger school. When she moved again to her now-hometown of Waco, Texas, she said she found a place to fit in. Sadly, she was forced to leave the comfort of home during her last semester of college, which she spent in New York City.
As she describes it, struggling with her identity in her adult life led her down the path she walks today, where she spends her time helping others and dedicating her time to her children.
“I discovered that my purpose was to help people who are insecure because I didn’t like the way it made me feel, in that stall; that’s not who I am,” she said. “So while I was in New York I really felt like God was telling me that I would be able to help women who weren’t confident, who were looking for guidance or who were lonely.”
You can see her full interview with Darling magazine here.