Joanna Gaines: Mommy Mogul Turning Her #FixerUpper Dreams into Reality

Joanna Gaines, Women Who Inspire

Some of the most influential women in my life never had a podium, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, or an album that dropped. They were mothers, who often lived ordinary lives while trying to raise extraordinary kids. For many years, I thought a woman couldn't be successful unless she was striving for an executive position and that coveted corner office. But I was wrong. Joanna Gaines is more than just a designer and cohost of the popular HGTV show Fixer Upper. She's a wife and mother of four who continues to prove you can build the empire of your dreams, so long as you take the first step by walking in faith. Joanna's story is beyond inspirational and just one of many reasons why we celebrate her for Women's History Month.


"Are you ready to see your fixer upper?"

Who knew this question would be music to the ears of design aficionados everywhere? With a DVR full of episodes, I, like the millions who tune in to watch Joanna and her husband Chip Gaines on Fixer Upper, am a fan of demo day and the decorative wonder known as shiplap. Joanna has reignited a passion of making old things new again that's sparked a movement, and she is getting us all acquainted with her growing Magnolia enterprise.

Joanna is the neighbor you want to have -- so you can score an invite for savory Sunday dinners at her noteworthy farmhouse. She's the friend you want to hit the town with to find unique antiques, and the businesswoman you want to keep in your Rolodex should your home need a little sprucing.

Who She Is

Before her time in front of the camera, Joanna Gaines was once Joanna Stevens. Hailing from Kansas, Joanna was raised a Texan and spent most if her life in the state she still calls home today. A proud graduate of Baylor University, Joanna completed school in 2001 with a degree in communications, which led her to New York City for a period of time. She was once even an intern for Dan Rather. Joanna, however, later headed back to her beloved Waco, Texas -- putting dreams of design and being on television in her carry-on bag.

Back in the Lone Star State, Joanna worked inside her dad's auto shop. It was there that Chip Gaines, also a graduate of Baylor, would meet the woman he would later call his soul mate and business partner. 

Chip and Joanna married in 2003 and now have four children (Drake, Ella, Duke, and Emmie), a 40-acre farm, 60 animals, and a thriving series of businesses.

How She's Shaping History

Joanna's vision, and what she's been able to accomplish since the start of Fixer Upper back in 2013, have been nothing short of amazing. But what's even more remarkable is Joanna's journey to success, the detours she had to take, and how Joanna is doing things her way, and on her terms.

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While most of us probably never heard of the Gaines family prior to the show, that doesn't mean this duo wasn't hard at work in the background.

In 2003, Joanna took a stab at opening a shop, but later closed it to focus on her first two children (two more would later come). But she was determined to continue following her passions. Joanna and her husband Chip later created Magnolia Homes, a construction and remodeling company that enabled the husband-and-wife pair to renovate and flip houses around the Waco area.

With a decade of experience under Joanna and Chip's suede tool belts, it was only a matter of time before HGTV came knocking on their farmhouse door. Commanding more than 24 million viewers since its start, Fixer Upper has become a household craving, with millions of fans watching to see the Gaines family work their magic on the most undesired abodes.

And even with the success of her show, Joanna continues to soar into an assortment of ventures that would aptly crown her as the new queen of decorating and repurposing. (Sorry, Martha.) There's Magnolia Real Estate; the bustling Magnolia Market (Joanna reopened her store in 2014, which has become both an online and in-town attraction); the Magnolia House bed and breakfast; and the soon-to-be Magnolia Flour bakery. Joanna also just finished her first book, The Magnolia Story, which offers fans an in-depth look into her life, her family, and how her dreams became a reality.

Joanna is a woman on fire who's just warming up. Her love for home and her family has inspired a revolution in looking at the things you have in your life and finding ways to give them new meaning.

Her Words to Live By

Joanna is a spirited woman, full of life, faith, and a grateful heart. She doesn't seem to take her blessings for granted and always expresses her gratitude for being able to do the things she loves.

She also isn't afraid to admit that good things do come to those who wait -- and work their tushes off.

As Joanna says, "Great talent takes time to mature," which is so spot-on.

And despite her accomplishments or newfound stardom, Joanna Gaines can't believe her dreams came true:

This entire business idea was born completely out of a dream I didn't know could ever come to life.

Why She Inspires Me

Where do I start?

Joanna Gaines is my kindred. (Yeah, there's just no other way to put it.)

Through the success of her HGTV show, and all of her business ventures, she's still a wife and mother at the end of the day -- one who continues to find ways to solve the work/life balance equation.

Like Joanna, the New York City design world inspired me. While helping future homeowners style their homes during my last year in college, I later made the decision to head to the Big Apple and start my own boutique decorating business at age 23. Years passed, and so did my focus. Now a wife and mother of a toddler and baby boy, I often ask myself about the next chapter -- and whether or not I can accomplish certain aspirations right now, or if I have to put them on the back burner in order to focus on my family.

But thanks to Joanna, I realize that I can enjoy my dreams and have my farmhouse, too! (No, seriously -- I found a builder here in Oklahoma who can make a home that looks like Joanna's Magnolia farmhouse.)

Joanna's whole brand is full of love, her family, and comfortable design that enriches the soul. Joanna reiterates to me that the sky's the limit if I maintain my faith and trust that things have a way of working out in my favor if I just take the chance. She gives so many of us a new outlook on life, and on the importance of not giving up on something -- even if it doesn't look fixable. She inspires me to live fearlessly, enjoy the sweeter moments of life, get my hands dirty, and keep on cooking Sunday dinner for my family.

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She is the epitome of the modern woman, who can pursue her entrepreneuerial endeavors while taking her family along for the ride. I'm in awe of what Joanna has been able to accomplish, and I can't wait to see what else is in store.

Thank you, Joanna.

A photo posted by Molly (@mollychernandez) on


Image via Magnolia Market

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