Joanna Gaines Reveals the Beautiful ‘Chaos’ Behind Her New Lifestyle Magazine

Elise Solé
Joanna and Chip Gaines, a husband-and-wife team and stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, launched a lifestyle magazine. (Photo: Brian Ach/Invision/AP)

Fixer Upper star Joanna Gaines is sharing the sweet and honest story behind the latest issue of her lifestyle magazine Magnolia Journal — and how its beautiful cover unfolded in absolute “chaos.”

The summer “Confidence” issue of the quarterly publication — whose motto is “Inspiration for life and home” — hit newsstands on Friday, and it’s all vacation vibes.

In the cover image, shot in Mexico, Gaines looks tranquil leaning against a white Volkswagen Beetle parked next to a row of leafy palm trees. She’s wearing an off-the-shoulder white-striped dress and is clutching a yellow-and-white bag. Pure bliss.

However, behind the scenes: Complete and utter chaos, involving a tow truck, frizzy hair, zero makeup, fading light, and a chorus of whiny children in the background.

Gaines shares in an Instagram post Friday, “On our last evening [in Mexico], at 10 minutes to 8pm (sun was going down) I looked at everyone and said let’s try this! My friend @billyjackbrawner3 (guy in the popsicle shirt) had to run 10 minutes from where we were staying and ask in broken Spanish if we could borrow the car. After trying to start it multiple times, he realized it wasn’t going to start so he then had to ask if we could borrow another car and tow it.

She also wrote, “Meanwhile I’m throwing on this dress and putting my beach frizzed hair in a bun and applying lots of layers of blush and eyeliner so I could look somewhat photo ready.”

The team had just two minutes to take a photo before the sun went down so the photographer’s wife pitched in, while holding a baby on one arm. Meanwhile, Gaines’ two daughters, Ella and Emmy, had found a puppy on the road and were begging, “Mommy pleaaaaaasse look it’s sooooo cute!! Mommy why can’t we take it back to Texas????”

“I’m yelling back at them, ‘Put that puppy down!!! Go inside and wash your hands, you could get ringworm!!'” wrote Gaines.

No one expected the shot — with zero professional lighting, makeup or hair — to make the cover, but the outcome was a happy surprise. “Every time I see this picture I smile because I love everything about what had to happen to get this one shot,” wrote Gaines. “It was chaotic, rushed, and hilarious but look! It made the cover. And there you have it… now you know the rest of the story.”

More than 25,000 fans loved the exclusive scoop. “Yes! I love real life moments and stories!” wrote one person. “We get so caught up in feeling like everything has to look perfect and thinking that everyone is perfect because of photos. But we are all human and have these stories behind our photos.”

Another wrote, “Love it! The unexpected, unplanned; often some of our favorite moments and memories.”

The behind-the-scenes confessional was not unusual for the HGTV star and her husband, Chip Gaines, who in the past, have freely aired their financial troubles and parental fails. Their magazine, which launched in October, has been a hit among millennials, according to publisher Meredith, and it’s pretty easy to understand why.

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