Joanna Gaines Recalls Seeing Her Korean Mom Endure Harsh Looks and Comments as a Kid

Joanna Gaines is using her platform and her experiences to shed light on the recent surge of anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States.

The Fixer Upper: Welcome Home star took to Instagram Sunday recalling encounters that her mother, who is of Korean descent, endured while Joanna was growing up.

“I remember as a little girl being out with my mom and seeing how in a moment, a person’s harsh look or an underhanded comment would attempt to belittle her rich story and her beautiful culture,” Joanna wrote sharing two photos: a picture of her most recent children’s book, The World Needs Who You Were Made to Be, translated into Korean, followed by a throwback pic of Jo and her mom.

“We can’t take lightly the power that our words and actions carry. The world needs who we were ALL made to be and all the amazing and beautiful differences we each bring with us,” she continued. “Maybe if we say it enough, it will ring true and become the message that softens even the hardest of hearts.”

Joanna said that seeing her book translated into her “mother’s first language” is “such an honor.”

Her post comes after a series of violent attacks on the AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) community, and following a deadly shooting spree that killed eight people in the Atlanta area—six of whom were Asian women.

In light of her recent book, which celebrates every person for their unique and individual gifts—Joanna has been open about the struggles she faced growing up in a half-Korean household.

“My mom is full Korean and my dad is Caucasian. 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,'” she said at the time.


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A post shared by Joanna Stevens Gaines (@joannagaines)

“Fast forward to today and my Korean heritage is one of the things I’m most proud of. I’m trying to make up for that lost time – the culture is just so beautiful. I think discovering who you are and what you were made to do is a lifelong journey,” she continued.

“The world is better off when we all lean into who we truly are and fight to uphold the unique goodness in all of us,” she added.

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Bri Lamm
Bri Lamm is the Editor of! An outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure, she lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese all while capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras. Follow her on Facebook!