February 1, 2008
By Denise Tong
Picture a fairy godmother, but imagine that she’s young, stylish, and has blue-streaked hair. That’s Jeannie Mai.
Since 2006, Mai has been the bubbly host of USA Network’s Character Fantasy, helping the show’s viewers to realize their dreams. The first new episode of the year airs on February 2.
One of USA’s short-form programs, Character Fantasy airs between breaks in the network’s Saturday afternoon movies. With Mai’s guidance and experts’ training, viewers have been able to fulfill wishes such as shooting a music video, becoming a cheerleader, and DJing at a party. They also receive makeovers from Mai, founder of styling company The Doll Service.
Although her face is familiar to USA viewers, Mai began her career behind the scenes as a Hollywood makeup artist. In addition to beautifying celebrities including Alicia Keys and Lil’ Kim, her work has been seen in magazines including Glamour and Maxim and on runway shows for Baby Phat and Lady Enyce.
Eventually she moved in front of the camera, becoming a host on AZN Television’s Emmy-nominated Stir TV, as well as appearing on E!, MTV, Style Network, and The WB.
In addition to her Character Fantasy gig, she most recently served as the spokesperson for NAO Cosmetics and as a member of the advisory board of TLC’s reality special Miss America: Reality Check.
Fresh from the Reality Check finale, Mai took the time to share with Current Vine her future plans and her own fantasy.
CV: As someone who needs to stay on top of products and trends, where do you get your beauty news?
JM: I love “connect-the-dots,” super-easy-to-follow-type guides that give you in-depth detail on how to get the look…which means I have yet to discover one. So this year I am planning to launch my own site with basic how-to videos teaching the classic smoky eye, contouring tricks, and everything else we love to see on red carpets. Until then, my favorite sites for up-to-date news are MACcosmetics.com and MakeupHairAndStyling.com.
CV: What are your personal dos and don’ts?
JM: I love lashes…love. It all started when I first saw Donald Duck run after Daisy, who looked exactly the same as Donald, except for the sassy lashes she showed off every time she winked. Knocks any man off his feet—and still works to this very day.
I’ve stopped wearing things I don’t feel comfortable in, physically or emotionally. Every single time I’ve walked out the door wearing something I would never have picked on my own—or worn something that was too tight, too loose, too short—it’s ruined the event I dressed for and made me self-conscious the whole time. It’s true that you should be yourself!
CV: What do you enjoy most about TV hosting?
JM: That I get to be myself. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to wake up each day and go to work, focusing on how to exude my personality even more to stand apart from all the rest.
CV: How would you describe your experience on Character Fantasy?
JM: I can’t believe that I stand alongside these individuals to be a part of something they’ve always dreamed of. I’m a small part of their lives—how many times does one get that opportunity?
CV: Do you have a fantasy that hasn’t yet been fulfilled?
JM: My true fantasy is to influence people, and the power of media is incredible. Oprah is one of a kind, and I want to be one of a kind too.
CV: What would you say to people who are nervous about pursuing a dream or trying something new?
JM: You only live once, so really experience it.
Photo courtesy Jeannie Mai.