Style & Beauty

9 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Joanna Gaines

1. She didn't grow up in Waco, Texas.

After five seasons of hanging on every Fixer Upper design detail, it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about Joanna Gaines (she loves shiplap and hates walls). But, believe it or not, there are still some things Gaines mega fans might not know about Jo. From her upbringing to her early design days, here are nine surprising facts about the Magnolia maven.

1. She didn’t grow up in Waco, Texas.

The design guru was actually born in Wichita, Kansas. Her family moved to Austin, Texas, when she was 12 years old, and they didn’t plant roots in Waco until her junior year of high school.

2. She’s half-Korean.

Joanna’s dad, Jerry, is half-Lebanese and half-German, and Joanna’s mom, Nan, is 100 percent Korean. They met in Seoul, Korea, while he was serving overseas during the Vietnam War. Three daughters and 46 years later, they’re still together, and, as Joanna wrote, they’re “an example of how to love, fight for, extend grace to, and honor each other amidst all their many differences.” *Sniffles*

3. She attended Baylor University with Chip ― but never ran into him.

Jo graduated from the Waco-based college in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. Her hubby Chip graduated from Baylor in 1998, but they never met while on campus. What are the chances?

4. Her first job was at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Joanna once revealed that she cut her teeth in the food industry while working at a buffet. Pros: Always having mounds of food at your fingertips. Cons: Always having mounds of food at your fingertips.

5. She met Chip thanks to car trouble.

The couple met when then 27-year-old Chip came into Joanna’s dad’s automotive shop to get his brakes worked on. Joanna, then 23, just so happened to be working in the office that day. Chip asked her out and they married on May 31, 2003, in Waco’s Earle Harrison House.

6. She always dreamed of being on TV.

Joanna was an aspiring broadcast journalist long before her “Fixer Upper” days. She even starred in her dad’s automotive store’s commercials.

7. She opened Magnolia Market solo.

Yep, Joanna initially started the Gaines empire on her own, but it wasn’t long before Chip stepped in to help take it to the next level. A cookbook, a restaurant and a Target line later, they’re still the cutest business partners.

8. She lives in a 100-year-old farmhouse.

With her five kids, jokester husband and oodles of farm animals, no less. Her favorite room? As any mega fan knows, the kitchen of her century-old home. That tilework, though...

9. She had to audition for “Fixer Upper.”

And she and Chip almost didn’t get the job… until he pulled a total Chip move and tried to move the family into a houseboat during renovations. Thankfully, Jo reeled him in, and the rest is HGTV history.

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