Mady Gosselin 'Proud' to Embrace Korean American Identity After 'Shame' About Heritage as a Child

Jon and Kate Gosselin's daughter opened up about being “hyper-aware” of her ethnicity after receiving her first American Girl doll as a kid

mady gosselin
Photo: Mady Gosselin/Instagram

Mady Gosselin is opening up about her previous struggle to embrace her identity as a child in honor of Korean American Day.

On Thursday, the 21-year-old daughter of exes Kate and Jon Gosselin shared a throwback photo of her younger self smiling before she got her first American Girl doll, revealing why the picture now brings her "discomfort."

"She was from the 'look-alike' line and I named her Jordan," Mady wrote on Instagram of the toy, which was not pictured. "She did not look like me; she had blonde hair and blue eyes, by my choice. At the time, there wasn't a doll from the line that looked like me, but more importantly, at 5, I chose a doll that reflected the way I thought I was suppose to look instead of the way I do."

"Looking back, this story fills me with a gross sort of discomfort and shame," the former TLC star continued. "Having grown up 50/50 (white and korean), I was hyper aware of my ethnicity from a young age, but the transition from awareness to shame was a slow progression that I didn't notice happening until I was much older."

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mady gosselin
Mady Gosselin/Instagram

"So I want to make it known that I'm so proud to celebrate being korean-american today. I'm proud to be a part of a community that has suffered through decades of ridicule and hate in this country (only made worse in the last 2 years) but have persevered through it powerfully and gracefully," Mady concluded her post. "I'm also proud that I make a kick ass kimchi !!"

Many of Mady's followers shared words of support in the comments, celebrating the importance of Asian representation. Responding to a fan, she said she struggled after she and her siblings experienced racism at school growing up.

Along with Mady, Jon and Kate — who starred on Jon & Kate Plus 8 from 2007 to 2009 — are also parents to Mady's twin Cara and 17-year-old sextuplets Hannah, Collin, Leah, Joel, Alexis, and Aaden.

mady gosselin
Mady Gosselin. Mady Gosselin/Instagram

Currently a junior in college, Mady attends a different school than her twin sister Cara and documents her experience on TikTok.

Speaking to PEOPLE in July 2019, Kate opened up about sending her eldest children off to college.

"It is the biggest mixed bag of emotions and stress I have ever faced," Kate, 46, said of her daughters, who were six when Jon & Kate Plus 8 began.

"Mady and Cara really steered the ship in terms of applying to colleges; they knew what they wanted, and I trusted them," she continued. "That same feeling is going to have to carry me through my fears now when I think about them going off on their own, fending for themselves, being alone for the first time."

One thing that also contributed to her mixed emotions was the fact that her girls would be going to different schools for the first time.

"They agreed all along that they don't want to go to the same school," Kate said at the time. "Their ambitions are so different that they really felt, there's not one college that would fully answer what each of them wanted."

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