Joanna Gaines is getting real about her childhood — and people online are totally here for it. Speaking with Hoda Kotb on The Today Show, Gaines spoke candidly about growing up mixed-race in a predominantly white area. It was tough to say the least, but Gaines said she wanted to share her experience for her daughters' sakes, so that they grow up understanding their own worth.
A copy of the interview was later shared on Twitter (@TODAYshow) and shows Gaines opening up about the difficult subject.
"There are so many things you have to say — and there are so many things I didn't know," Kotb said in the clip. "Your mom's Korean and your dad's American, what was it like growing up as a little girl with your foot between two worlds?" she asked.
"It was interesting. It was like I couldn't find my place," Gaines admitted. "I remember going to Korean church and remember feeling like, I don't look like them [....] and then going to school being the only girl who looked pretty Asian. And so I think just finding my spot was this internal thing for me, that I always felt like I was somewhere in the middle," she explained.
Ultimately Gaines said she saw "beauty" in both worlds, but did admit that she tried to stuff down some of the pricklier parts of her childhood – like being teased by other kids at school for bringing traditional Korean lunches, lying about her middle name to sound more American, or getting strange looks at the grocery store while with her mother.
Gaines said she decided to share the story for the "6-year-old you see on the cover" (i.e. Gaines) and added that she now feels like she is "enough."
"To my girls, get there sooner than I did," she added.
People in the comments section were in absolute tears over the admission. "It is sad that parents teach their kids hate and disrespect. Ms. Gaines understands how kids who are 'different' get bullied," wrote @Jjsedona41. "Changing our names to fit in is something many of us are familiar with. Bullying forces people to hide their identities - but our names hold our histories & heritages. We will always proudly be #VeryAsian and stand up against bullying," added the @ActToChange account. "Joanna Gaines says she lied about her middle name to avoid being bullied at school. How many others have done that? I also have the middle name Lee but then to use L. That's another story," @DanielLWong wrote in.
If you ask us, Joanna Gaines was so brave for sharing her experience. Here's hoping that by using her voice she'll make things easier for others.