Gwen Stefani made a bold and controversial claim during a recent interview with Jesa Marie Calaor of Allure in early January 2023. Gwen was promoting her GXVE beauty brand, which shares similarities to Harajuku Lovers, a fragrance line that drew inspiration from Japan’s Harajuku subculture.
The collection had five scents and was housed in a bottle shaped like a doll made to look like Stefani and her Harajuku Girls, four dancers of Japanese descent she’d hired to promote her album.
Gwen told Allure that she decided to use the Harajuku subculture as the basis of her fragrance brand after visiting Japan: “I said, ‘My God, I’m Japanese and I didn’t know it.’”
Gwen was raised by an Italian American dad and Irish American mom
Gwen Stefani was born on 3rd October 1969, in Fullerton, California, to Dennis Stefani and Patti Flynn. Dennis is Italian-American, and Patti is Irish-American. Therefore, Gwen is Italian, Irish, and American.
Dennis and Patti were high school sweethearts who gave their four children – Eric, Gwen, Jill, and Todd – whatever they wanted. “I was very spoiled compared with a lot of people,” Gwen told Style.com. “We weren’t rich, but we definitely had whatever we wanted.”
Gwen said she got her first taste of Japanese culture through her father, whose research and marketing work for Yamaha forced him to travel between California and Japan for nearly two decades.
Gwen told Allure that Dennis would return home with stories of street performers and stylish women. “That was my Japanese influence and that was a culture that was so rich with tradition, yet so futuristic [with] so much attention to art and detail and discipline and it was fascinating to me,” She said.
Gwen said she had an epiphany that she was Japanese after visiting the country. However, Gwen isn’t Japanese despite her love for the culture. Gwen foretold that her comments would attract criticism:
“If [people are] going to criticize me for being a fan of something beautiful and sharing that, then I just think that doesn’t feel right. [It] should be okay to be inspired by other cultures because if we’re not allowed then that’s dividing people, right?”
After Allure published the article, tweets accusing Gwen of cultural appropriation proliferated on the platform. “Being a super fan of something doesn’t make you that thing,” @forthereading tweeted.
Gwen hails from a lineage of knitters and bakers
Growing up, Gwen spent a lot of time with her extended family. Her Irish ancestors were expert bakers and knitters.
According to moms.com, Each one of us got revealed that her maternal grandmother would involve the family in making gingerbread villages. “Each one of us got our own gingerbread house and at Christmas, we would take it home and eat it,” She said. “It was over the top.”
Patti, an accountant turned homemaker, knitted clothes for her children, like her mother had done for her. The tradition started with Gwen’s great-grandma, who spent months sewing clothes for her family for Christmas. Gwen explained:
“Her daughter, my mom’s mom, made every single thing my mom wore, to the point where she didn’t get to choose her own clothes until she was like, engaged. And then my mom made our clothes. I used to be kind of bummed. Like, ‘Can’t I go to the mall?’”
Gwen told Style.com that her mom got emotional looking through the designs for her fashion collection dubbed L.A.M.B. “It’s in your blood!” Patti told Gwen. “This is for Great-Grandma.”
Gwen’s father was the first to note that she had a unique voice
Gwen grew up listening to folk music, thanks to her parents. Dennis and Patti took her to movies and musicals, including The Sound of Music, which she claims changed her life.
Gwen’s father was the first to acknowledge that Gwen had a unique voice. Dennis recognized his daughter’s talent after listening to a demo tape of a song she’d written. Gwen said:
“I remember two things he said to me. One was ‘Everybody’s saying that your songwriting is really good and you should just keep going.’ And the other was ‘Don’t ever take lessons, because your voice is really unique. There’s just something about it.’”
In 1986, Eric, Gwen’s brother, formed the band No Doubt and invited her to be the co-lead singer. After the lead singer, John Spence, committed suicide, Gwen became the lead singer. “I was very passive,” Gwen said. “My brother did everything. I was like, ‘I’m just the sister.’”
Gwen wrote songs about her everyday experiences, including her breakup with bass player Tony Kanal, which spawned the hit Don’t Speak, and her strict upbringing, which inspired Just a Girl. In September 2020, Gwen posted an Instagram video exploring the meaning of Just a Girl.
“My parents were quite strict with me and I was living at home even into my twenties and I would have to come home and like, knock on my parents’ door, and it was frustrating because I was older,” Gwen said.
“It got me also sort of paranoid about the fact. I can remember thinking ‘wow, I’m in a car right now. I’m driving home, it’s like one in the morning and if something did happen to me, I’m quite vulnerable because I’m a girl.’”
Gwen remains close to her parents and siblings
Gwen Stefani’s followers on social media know that she remains close to her parents and siblings. In June 2016, she posted Snapchat photos of her parents’ 50th-anniversary celebration, writing: “Congrats 50 years married!”
Gwen was worried that her parents wouldn’t get to see her marry Blake Shelton. Gwen told Ryan Seacrest in late December 2020: “I would say I just want my parents there at this point. My parents wouldn’t come to Thanksgiving because they’re so scared.”
Blake and Gwen wanted to get married in early 2021, but she feared for her parents’ health as their age put them at a high risk of developing COVID-19 complications. “I would rather not have masks and that kind of thing,” Gwen said. “Even when you cut it down to just family, it’s too many people for COVID.”
The couple pushed the ceremony to early 2022, allowing Gwen’s parents to attend without fear. By then, the likelihood of contracting the coronavirus had diminished.
Gwen and her family spent Mother’s Day weekend with her parents at their home in southern California. Per her Instagram uploads, the family enjoyed spending time together.