TV Guide: Fashion Mai way

2011-07-08 14:30

Oh my, Jeannie Mai! Jeannie Mai is the Martha Stewart of style and fashion.

Her friendly yet stern approach to fashion has made her the ideal TV gal-pal that women turn to when bad fashion happens.

Mai, who is of Vietnamese descent, found that fashion helped stamp her individuality among the 16-people household she grew up in.

“My mother taught me everything I know about fashion. She taught me that in order to recognise my worth I needed to take care of myself and make sure I always stand out. She encouraged me to use fashion as a way of expressing myself.
Little things like changing the buttons on an old cardigan was how I began to make things unique.”

By 18 Mai had saved enough to buy a full MAC make-up kit, which she used to pave the way to the faces of stars such as Christina Aguilera and Rosario Dawson.

A field reporter for E!Entertainment, Mai jumped ship and replaced soapie veteran Finola Hughs as the host of How Do I Look in 2008.

The reality series is about changing people’s lives through fashion and style, something seen and done many times before.

But Mai’s approach sets her apart. Although she has fun with the contestants she steers clear of the psycho-babble usually found on similar shows and instead, allows contestants to take control of their own issues.

“For a long time I’ve wished that I could have a show like How Do I Look, so I’ve never wanted to take advantage of anyone’s situation. Usually, the psychology aspect of it is an exercise to allow the person to come to terms with their problems and realise that they are using their appearance to act out.”

The 31-year-old uses a range of mediums to share her knowledge and expertise, from doing interviews, posting videos on Youtube and on her blog to Facebook and Twitter, she agrees she’s addicted to interacting with her fans: “I love engaging with my fans in any way I can, I am always looking for ways to talk to them and share my experiences and hear theirs.”

Mai cites British singer Adele as one of her own style icons. She coos: “I love her, she dresses for her shape and knows how to work it. I love Michelle Obama too for always promoting young designers.”

One of the most common fashion faux pas, according to Mai, is being under-dressed.

“I always say overdress to impress. Never feel shy about wearing bright colours or florals and never ever say, ‘I should’ve dressed better’!”

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