Looking like a million bucks! Fixer Upper star Joanna Gaines donned a strapless black gown with a thigh-high slit as she and husband, Chip Gaines, attended a state dinner at the White House on Wednesday, April 26. The dress featured an off-the-shoulder wrap around her upper left arm, and she wore her brunette locks in a long, cascading side ponytail. It was a far cry from her usual casual looks while renovating homes.
The event was in honor of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and his wife Kim Keon-hee. Joanna’s mother, Nan, is Korean, and the HGTV star has spoken openly about the difficulties she had growing up embracing her Korean heritage. Her father is of German descent.
“I don’t know that I ever told you this, but I always wanted to say I was sorry for living in halfness. And not fully embracing the most beautiful thing about myself, which was you,” the Magnolia Network founder told her mom during a November 2022 episode of her podcast, “The Stories We Tell With Joanna Gaines.”
On the verge of tears Joanna continued, “The culture that was half of me as a Korean little girl, as a Korean teenager, as a Korean woman. That I felt that guilt and that regret. Like dang it, that’s my mother, this is her culture”
The entrepreneur said that visiting New York’s Koreatown when she was in college awakened her when she saw “other mothers holding their daughters’ hands.” Joanna explained, “I didn’t fully own who I was until that moment. That I am this culture, this Korean history, this Korean story, my Korean mother, my Korean grandmother. That’s the richest part of who I am. And walking in the fullness of that really changed the narrative for me.”
The evening was a date night for Joanna and Chip, as they were part of the 200 guests invited to attend the dinner hosted by President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden. Other high profile stars in attendance included Angelina Jolie and her son, Maddox. He’s fluent in Korean and studied at Seoul’s Yonsei University. The Maleficent star wore a flowing ivory gown with a matching blazer slung over her shoulders for the event.