TV star overcomes insecurity with faith


Joanna Gaines, who stars with her husband, Chip Gaines, on the popular HGTV show “Fixer Upper” recently told Darling magazine that she was bullied as a child in school because she is half Asian.

“If you haven’t heard my story, 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 this is, ‘Who I am isn’t good enough.’”

The “Fixer Upper” is one of HGTV’s highest-rated shows and is entering its final season.  The Gaines are well-liked by the American public.  Yet, Gaines revealed her long struggle with fear and insecurity, particularly during her childhood and early adolescence.

“I don’t think confidence has ever really been one of those things that came naturally for me.  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,” she said.

The reality star grew up in Texas and moved to New York in her last semester of college.  Gaines said that in New York, she battled insecurity and identity issues for six months before she discovered that her purpose was to help others overcome their own insecurities.

“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.  And so I knew that from that place of pain there was going to be a place to reach others, because I had actually lived in that place; I had felt that pain myself,” Gaines told Darling magazine.

Gaines’s mention of how it was God calling her to help others struggling with lack of confidence and low self-esteem garnered a lot of attention for soft-news reporting on Christian news outlets such as the Christian Post.

The article on the Christian Post about Gaines’s interview is titled, “Joanna Gaines Says She Was Bullied for Being Half Asian, but God Used Her Insecurity to Help Other Women.”

Their article is centered around the star’s faith and how her family has been recognized and praised for their Christian values.

The Christian Post mentioned that notable evangelical leader, Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., commended the couple’s home renovations as examples of how God redeems and restores.

“They will take the couple to the home, and they will have this giant blown up photo of how the home used to look, and then they will pull the panels and reveal the new home – and you can hardly believe it’s the same place . . . God can take that which is outdated and antiquated and make it fresh and new,” said Laurie.

The story of Gaines’s interview was picked up by secular news outlets with the focus being on the star’s experience with bullying and how she overcame it.

AOL wrote a considerably shorter piece than the Christian Post with the headline, “‘Fixer Upper’ star Joanna Gaines says she was bullied as a child.”

AOL did include the quote from Gaines where she mentions God, but that was the only mention of faith in their article.

FOX News covered the story under the headline, “Joanna Gaines reveals struggles with insecurity, being bullied for being Asian in school.”

Similarly to the AOL story, the FOX News article recounted the star’s struggles with being half-Asian and the teasing she received in school because of her nationality.

The Fox News article provided more details on Gaines’s life and personal experiences with fear and insecurity, but did not include her quote about God until the very end of the article.

The varying ways of covering the same interview of Gaines revealing her struggle with bullying and insecurity exemplify how news outlets carefully tailor their words and coverage of events to appeal to a wide audience or a very particular niche.