Jeannie Mai How Do I Look? Australian Overhaul Interview
Style announced that popular fashion intervention series How Do I Look? and its energetic host and fashion expert Jeannie Mai, will be coming to our shores to advise the stylistically-challenged in a special production set in Sydney, Australia.
On each episode of How Do I Look?, Jeannie meets with a nominated fashion victim for a candid interview about her inadequate sense of style. Once confronted with the hard truth, Jeannie directs the victim's family and friends - or accomplices - to single out the items that they find exceptionally appalling, Jeannie then disposes of them through the "Ewww Tube" which vacuums clothes up through the ceiling and out of her life forever. Following this tough love demonstration, the accomplices and stylist hit the shops to create their own distinct wardrobe collection for the victim's consideration. Without knowing which family member or friend pulled together the choices, the walking fashion disaster discovers a new appreciation for clothes as they choose their favorite outfits from each of the mystery collections.
The candidate then debuts her new look, and renewed confidence before an eager audience in that includes Jeannie, the accomplices and other friends and family.
As an experienced makeup artist and fashion expert, Jeannie Mai brings her exuberant personality and unbridled talent to Style as host of How Do I Look? which is currently in its twelfth season. After successfully launching her career as a trend-setting stylist with a roster of clients that includes Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys and Rosario Dawson, currently she can also be seen as a frequent fashion correspondent on E! News.Series return of How Do I Look? premieres Thursday November 3rd at 7:30pm on Style.
Interview with Jeannie MaiQuestion:
Are you enjoying your time in Australia?Jeannie Mai
: I think I have nailed off my checklist of everything Aussie that I am supposed to eat. I've had the Sweet Chili Sauce and Sour Cream, I've had the Tim Tams (I haven't sucked yet, but I will) and I will have kangaroo at some point. I'll be having a gluten free meat pie tomorrow too.
I have been to Woolworths here and I raped the chip and chocolate aisle! Right now I have to go back and get the Chokito chocolate bar and more Cadbury! I eat a balance
Have you tried Vegemite?Jeannie Mai
: Okay let's talk about the Vegemite! I tried it at about 7am this morning, I had a little container of it with me when I was getting my hair and makeup done and when I peeled open the container my makeup artist backed up and said "Jeannie that does not smell good"! I wanted to give it a chance because everybody says it's great and on the front of the jar it says 'wholesomely nutritious' - I dipped into it and my eyes popped! It tastes like spoilt soy sauce
I'll give it a chance on some bread! Question:
Can you talk about the special episode you have filmed for How Do I Look? in Sydney?Jeannie Mai
: Well today we ambushed our Aussie guest for How Do I Look - it was funny as she was literally in the mall arguing with her sisters, thinking that it was a normal day and I came up behind her and totally called her out; she was so shocked she turned as pink as the fishnets on her fingers!
Who we've chosen is the top, the crème del la crème - she absolutely needs an hour to herself to debunk her fashion myths and ideas! Question:
Whilst in Australia, what did you notice stands out about Australian fashion?Jeannie Mai
: Around the area I've been staying in Australia I haven't seen a whole lot of bad fashion to be honest with you. The women I've seen who are dressed up for the night are really lovely and I have seen lots of floral prints because you are going into Summer.
I love how women here take to matching their sandals and their handbags and are neutral with colour. I am going to hit up King Street in Sydney on Friday and I've heard that is slightly more alternative which I do want to see that because I was in an alternative store yesterday and I noticed that the ladies are very confident in letting their aspects hang out of the back of their shorts (I did see that)! There were these shorts that were ripped, all the way up
they were happy about it!Question:
What is the main difference you've seen in Australian fashion, compared with American?Jeannie Mai
: The main difference I see is that Australians really love more flowing, loose-fitting garments and really like frills and soft colours including floral prints. I think Australians dress similar to the typical personalities of an Australian - very relaxed, friendly, approachable and with great fabrics!
Australians aren't afraid of colour - when I walk into the shoe stores, I've seen bright pumps! I don't see ridged and form fitting but I've seen lots of dresses below and above the knee.
I've noticed the ladies in Australia don't really wear a lot of makeup; when it comes to hair and makeup the ladies wear their hair long and tuck it behind their ears and mascara if that - not at all drag queen, like myself. My makeup artist, Uzmee Krakovszki, is always posting on my blog
and I actually do require drag lashes and I like lots of fun lashes!Question:
What advice do you have for Australians, this summer in regards to styling?Jeannie Mai
: I definitely love what Australians are doing with loose flowing prints, if there were a way to switch it up a bit, not saying the style is wrong, but a way to switch it up and make the style more fun would be to try taking more structure to clothing, I saw Cue really like structure. I would take to trying belts round the waist include corset belts - try clothes with more form because the ladies in Australia are gorgeously built and I would recommend having fun with belting in a maxi-dress or skirt!
Take a collared shirt and alter it in on the sides to wear with a flowing skirt rather than a flowing skirt and flowing top.
I love the look of hardware on shoes to offset flowing fabrics, if you have booties with brass or metals wear them with a maxi skirt rather than pumps or sandals; if you want to think about celebrities Rihanna does that well as she wears a girlier flirty side outfit and then she's wearing the hardware leather banded shoes; I love that look!
Right now I am loving the look of hosiery - it's still Spring in Australia and I like light hosiery with a print, that is so fun especially if you wear it with nude pumps - you can get away with that in the evenings when it is a little breezy and you don't want bare legs.
You guys are totally rocking the fascinators I am seeing in stores, I love that look and think more ladies should add that to their cocktail evening outfits, that would be fantastic! Question:
What are the main colours you'll be wearing?Jeannie Mai
: It is Winter at home but I consider myself a wearapist and what I mean by that I find that clothing is the medicine to your mood. As a Californian girl I like to be very bright and I vibratious in spirit so most of the time I am always going to try and bring in some element of fluorescent or bright colour even into the Fall and Winter seasons.
If I am wearing a wool blazer or a Chanel tweed jacket, I am still going to put a fluorescent lacy top underneath or something with a peek-a-boo of colour even if my nails are sprinkled in colour or even my lips, I love glips which are glitter lips!
You'll see on my show, How Do I Look which is airing on Style in November, how I turn my sunny personality into my clothing even if it's Winter.Question:
How much of How Do I Look is scripted?Jeannie Mai
: I am blessed with an amazing crew that wants me to weave in my personality; I would say 110% is my personality, but what you get to see on TV is about 99% because the other 11% I am saying things that are completely inappropriate!
When I ambushed our girl (Bronte) from Sydney in the middle of QVB Mall she had these blue and green extension in her hair and not an even dose of extensions just two pieces that stick out of her blonde ponytail and I asked her if a seagull had 'sharted' on her head and they told me "Jeannie you can't say that, it's a bad word"! Anyway, a lot of it is my own but there are talking points that I have to say to make sure the audience knows what we are setting up including 'Where are you from?' and 'How old are you?' and of course 'Why did you start dressing this way?' Question:
When filming How Do I Look how do you ensure the candidates still maintain their own personal style?Jeannie Mai
: I actually really work hard with the produces to try and inflect as much of the woman's personality as possible. What I love about How Do I Look is that it has evolved so much over the last twelve seasons, the difference between myself and the season prior to my hosting is that I am all about personality inside clothing.
What you can buy from the stores in LA is what is 'in' whether it be harem pants or belting cardigans but I really try and think about the audience who is watching and what they're learning, I don't want to teach woman that you have to be trendy! If animal print is in right now when you go out and buy it and then wear it next season you are going to look old season and I don't like that. One of the reasons during the show I asked the women 'What is your dream job?' or 'What do you want to do?' or 'What kinds of men do you want to date?' is because the questions I ask are more focused around life so what they wear is dressing up the life situation not to the trends. Question:
Do you do your own styling for How Do I Look?Jeannie Mai
: I have help in styling, I have an amazing team who I call the 'Pretty Posse' and if you go to my blog
you'll see the page I have dedicated to my team of hair, makeup and wardrobe! For me, personally I have a very sync style in regards to the way that I want to dress and because my schedule is so crazy and I don't have time to shop for myself I have a team. I am dying in Sydney because I have bought two skirts from Cue and it's the first time I have gone shopping in months!
I have an amazing stylist, Bory Tan and I also have an assistant Xtina who is always behind her and tweeting a lot; these two run around town for me and pull things for me so I can sit with them and put outfits together. We have what I call a sitting day and if we can (it's a little rushed) we'll have wine, snacks and we'll go plowing through outfits and mix and matching the pieces together. I love that I work with someone who has know me ever since I began my business, Bory Tan knows exactly what I will wear and what I won't, she can put an outfit together and nail it!Question:
When you put together you outfit, each morning, what inspires your look?Jeannie Mai
: The number one thing that inspires me, first off and something that I say to every women is your body shape! You have to make sure you balance your body shape, I get compliments from women who say I have the 'perfect shape', nobody has the perfect shape, okay maybe Heidi Klum has the perfect shape but for me I am a little bit more top heavy, I have no hips and my mum calls my legs 'bird legs' but I make sure that I wear proportioned things so that my body looks proportionate. I really love high waisted things and if I am going to wear legging you'll barely see me in anything oversized on top - in fact you'll barely see me in anything oversized. I can't do the Nicole Richie Boho style because it makes me look like a big Moo Moo!
For me wearapy is about wearing certain textures and feels so you feel that you're ready for the job. When I was getting dressed to approach Bronte I wanted her to know that I meant business and that she was in for a fashion overhaul so I switched up the outfit to include spikes. When this episode airs on February 16th 2012, you'll see that I added some really spiky earrings from Mischa Designs - it's not all about clothes though, you're entire ensemble including hair, makeup and accessories can really bring yourself to attention. If I was having a cup of tea and chatting about puppies with Bronte instead I would have dressed in softer material but because today is kick-arse QVB fashion overhaul day it required a totally different outfit! Every outfit has to be for a different situation in your life.
I have a sweats and t-shirt day when I am running around Whole Foods (an amazing store and I eat at Whole Foods three times a week because I don't like to cook) when I am at home in Los Angeles - I usually love wearing fresh kicks and bright coloured high-tops or leather chucks. I never want women to think that they always have to be in heels or uncomfortable and sucked in at the hips! Question:
How do you feel when you watch yourself of the big screen?Jeannie Mai
: I am often critical because I know that when I watch I am thinking things that I wanted to say. I have to think that (and this is good for people who watch reality television) so much is edited and you have to keep in mind whatever you think about celebrities or reality characters in general is not a good judgment of character because a lot is edited down! Sometimes I say things on TV and it will sound mean because sometimes they edit the mean things and other times I think 'I really felt that way about her fashion'. Most of the time with my posse I am always watching with them and I'll say 'I don't know if I like this top with that skirt because I feel like my boobs look like a boat on top of my chest' or I'll go to the produces and say 'I think we need to make sure when she talks she needs to share most of her story because she doesn't seem as if she was that likeable' - there are always little things.
I could be critical because of the Asian in me - we're overachievers and it doesn't mean anybody is doing a bad job, I just think things can always be improved.
Interview by Brooke Hunter