Scan this QR Code to follow PureWow on Snapchat!

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 eight surprising facts about the Magnolia maven.

She Didn’t Grow Up in Waco, Texas

The design guru was actually born in Wichita, Kansas in 1978. 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.

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*


Jo graduated from Baylor University in Waco, Texas in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree. Although you might think she graduated with a degree in design, she actually received one in communications. Her hubby, Chip, graduated from Baylor in 1998, but they never met while on campus. What are the chances?

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.

It's been a good fifteen years @chipgaines ?? Here's to fifty more...

A post shared by Joanna Stevens Gaines (@joannagaines) on

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.

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. 

She Lives In a 100-Year-Old Farmhouse

With her five kids, jokester husband and oodles of farm animals, no less (seriously, we’ve lost count of exactly how many at this point). Her favorite room? As any mega fan knows, the kitchen of her century-old home. That tile work, though…

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.

RELATED: 6 Surprising Facts About ‘Fixer Upper’

From Around The Web

The News—But Only the Fun Stuff—
Delivered Right to Your Inbox.