ASK AN EXPERT: JEANNIE MAI!

jeannie2In this ASKANEXPERT interview, GLITTER asked Jeannie Mai of POPSTYLE about how she broke into the fashion and style industry, her career with the Style network, and the shows she’s hosted. For tips on how to create your own style, and how to break into hosting and fashion television, and the best looks for the upcoming season, read on!

GLITTER: Where did you grow up and what is your educational background?
JEANNIE:  I grew up a proud Bay-Arean in San Jose, CA. Lived in a home of 15 family members after my parents sponsored the rest of my fam over from Vietnam. This taught me more than anything else I can remember about the importance of people’s stories, their personal style, and the engaging of one another. I finished high school and left it at that because I didn’t see, “How to Celebrate People Thru Style,” on that college application so I decided to pursue my career in becoming a television host to share my knowledge about individual style.

GLITTER: How did you get your break into fashion and styling?
JEANNIE: I started out as a makeup artist, was a trainer for MAC cosmetics, and traveled with various celebs. At the time stylists weren’t as common of a position, so I found myself having to help a lot of these stars put their look together after doing their makeup. I realized there was a need and that I was passionate in both.

GLITTER: Tell us about your career with the Style network and the shows you have hosted.
JEANNIE: When I was traveling to do both makeup and styling, I realized my fave part of the process was going home to share tips and tricks. Helping everyday women to look just as good is such a wonderful feeling. One day I was watching Oprah and she was counseling a woman whose husband wanted to leave her and had kids who no longer respected her. Oprah spent the next hour giving her tips on her finances, counseling, new activities but never once mentioned this woman’s appearance. As I was looking at this woman dressed in bland layers, dull washed out tones of gray and black, it frustrated me that Oprah wasn’t addressing the most important issue and that was this woman’s image that she portrays to the world. What she was telling the world was that she was giving up and doesn’t care and that would keep her in the same mind space that she was living in. I took this understanding of makeovers and fashion and pitched myself to different networks. Style network is one of the first networks that I ever felt a connection to the brand’s mission statement and that made me proud to be a host for their show “How Do I Look.”

GLITTER: Tell us about PopStyle and what fans can expect from the show.
JEANNIE: PopStyle is going to a being fashion driven entertainment show hosted by myself and Louise Roe. My favorite factor about the show is that you the audience will be able to engage with us via social media. Please do follow me on twitter (https://twitter.com/jeanniemai), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/IheartJeannieMai) and Instagram (http://instagram.com/thejeanniemai) and I will be announcing the progress of the show.

GLITTER: Are you doing a lot of traveling for the show?  Where will PopStyle take viewers?
JEANNIE: PopStyle will cover a global look at fashion and news around the world, and in particular, in the US. It will ideally be shot in NYC and LA first.

GLITTER: What can fans expect with the audience participation portion of the show?
JEANNIE: Fans can expect to have the power to directly engage with Louise and I over exciting topics around the world. We want to know what you think!

GLITTER: What are some of your favorite fashion cities that you have visited?
JEANNIE: I would say Singapore has quickly become one of my favorite fashion destinations across the world. Not only do I have access to all low and high end popular brands but I have my favorite black market of emerging designers to choose from.

GLITTER: What are 5 fashion accessories you cannot live without?
JEANNIE:
1. Eyewear
2. Statement jewelry
3. Bright makeup
4. Block heel for
comfort and sass
5. Anything the color yellow

GLITTER: Name your favorite 3 pieces in your closet right now.
JEANNIE:
1. Lia Sophia jewelry (http://www.liasophia.com)
2. I also covet Habitual jeans (http://www.habitual.com) because they make my butt look fantastic and I don’t leave home without my OnePiece (http://onepiece.com/us/) onesie. It’s the first thing I picture when I need to get out of my work wear when I travel.

GLITTER: Who are your favorite designers?
JEANNIE: For everyday wear Monika Chiang (http://www.monikachiang.com/) (below) has some of my favorite go to pieces to make a bold statement. All of Alice + Olivia’s (http://www.aliceandolivia.com/) separates are what I can wear all year long because the designer Stacey Bendet inspires me to make sure nothing matches. Kat Von D (http://www.katvondlosangeles.com/) has started making some amazing quality pieces. Karen Millen (http://www.karenmillen.com) is my all time go to. It’s the first stop I make when I’m in NYC. My dream wardrobe would be custom created by On Aura Tout Vu, a French designer. (http://www.onauratoutvu.com/)

GLITTER: If you had a teen budget which stores would you look to build your wardrobe?
JEANNIE: Gap has amazing jeans with 3% spandex that fit all body types nicely. American Apparel has amazing sample and warehouse sales that go monthly on the web and they do up to 75% slashes. Invest in major accessories, scarves, necklaces, statement pieces from stores like Target and NastyGal.com.

GLITTER: What trends are you looking forward to rocking for Spring/Summer 2013?
JEANNIE: I’m really excited that jump suits are coming back. I love a great pleather jump suit. Sneakers from brands like Jeffrey Campbell and Converse. They have some great sneakers for an everyday outfit or a dress. I really love back to basics black and white too!

GLITTER: What advice do you have for teens wanting to create their own style?  Where do they start?
JEANNIE: I love that Polyvore allows you to build a dream board to give you a sense of style that you like and exchanging pins on Pinterest is great too. Make your own physical dream boards on Pinterest with all your tastes from music to your favorite travel destination to the people in your life, the colors you love, your favorite settings whether it’s Paris or it’s your favorite music store. When you define your story you will find your style.

GLITTER: What advice do you have for girls who rock who are trying to break into hosting and fashion television?
JEANNIE: I would recommend putting themselves on tape. Get a friend who’s willing to follow you around and pop yourself into your favorite situations around your favorite topic like the farmers market, music, architecture, fashion, and engage in conversation with people to see how you can best warm people up to talk and hear their personal stories. Let a conversation be natural and interesting and find your best angles on camera. It’s not until you see yourself on camera that you know how people see you.

GLITTER: What’s your motto for looking good and living stylishly?
JEANNIE: Always wear heels as high as your hopes.

GLITTER: What is your advice on what not to wear?
JEANNIE: Don’t wear fakes brands and fake labels. I would never encourage somebody to be something they’re not so why would you wear something that isn’t what it says.