Fixer Upper’s Chip and Joanna Gaines are still just figuring this whole mega-fame thing out.
In the new issue of Texas Monthly, the HGTV couple talks about their unexpected rise to stardom, and reveal it’s not all sunshine and shiplap.
One trip to North Dakota stands out to Joanna as the moment when they realized they were no longer a regular couple from Waco, Texas. At one point, the pair were having an argument in a parking lot in Fargo, when passersby started pointing.
“All of a sudden, we were just going back and forth, and you just see people driving by and going, ‘There’s Chip and Jo.’ They only know us on the show, so the fact that so many people were getting this as their first impression of the ‘real’ Chip and Jo was not good,” Joanna recalls.
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Another tough time came shortly after opening their wildly successful vacation rental home, The Magnolia House, which sold out its 2017 reservations in under an hour. Although the house was built with the best of intentions, the couple was criticized for the $1,295-per-night price tag.
“They don’t realize it’s not for a room, it’s for a whole house!” Chip says. “Our entire mission with this thing was to give our guests the chance to stay in a Fixer Upper. And this one is special because it’s modeled after our house.”
The couple has also now taken a step back from fully renovating every house by themselves, as they are sometimes flipping ten at once. But putting the work in someone else’s hands hasn’t necessarily been easy for Chip, who still helps out as much as possible on the construction sites, and worries his absence might cause others to label him a fake.
“He’ll linger around and do something more,” Joanna says, “because it’s important to him: ‘I did this, I’m not an actor.’ It’s very important to him that it’s authentic, because I remember all the days when he did everything by himself, so this is really who he is. He would stick it out and finish.”
But of course with these low points, come the plethora of positives that have graced the Gaines family.
“It’s just such an honor to be in this position, and the opportunities, the things that come with this that we would’ve never dreamt of in a million years, I think certainly overshadow the fact that there are some downsides to this, and those are somewhat obvious,” Chip says.
When it comes to their influence on Waco, there’s no argument that they’ve shed a better light on the sometimes troubled community. And although they’re happy to be making a difference in their town, they’re still taking everything day by day.
“I want to be known for what we love to do, what we’re passionate about, and if that brings our town up in the midst of that, good,” Chip says. “But again, it’s one of those things. It’s, like, I don’t want to be responsible for it. We’re going to do the best we can, but we’re all humans.”
For full details on Chip and Joanna’s Fixer Upper journey and the response they’ve received from Waco, pick up this issue of Texas Monthly, on newsstands now.