PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARAH KRICK
MAKEUP BY ARCHANGELA CHELSEA
HAIR BY IGGY ROSALES
STYLING BY CHARLIE BRIANNA
WRITTEN BY MIN A. LEE
Composure: First off, we want to say a huge congratulations to you and your co-hosts on winning an Emmy this year! From the very beginnings of The Real til now, did you ever imagine taking home an Emmy would happen?
Jeannie Mai: Thanks for the congrats! No, I never imagined that I would win an Emmy, but not because I didn’t think I was deserving. It just wasn’t a focus for me. When I started out in this business, my focus was to be the very best at being comfortably myself. Well, that and being booked! That focus stays the same today, as well as my mission of empowering women in an entertaining way. So Emmy or not, I’m going to stay killing it doing just that.
C: What thoughts and emotions ran through your mind the very second they announced the win?
JM: Real talk? I couldn’t believe they called our names! We were ecstatic. Shoes went flying, and I had to try to keep my extensions in. Everything else was a grateful blur.
C: What do you hope the future holds for The Real?
JM: I hope The Real is on for another ten seasons. I love growing with our audience. In just five years, we’ve gone through marriage, divorce, babies being born, and even tragedy, and through it all, we’ve held each other closer than ever, with our #RealFam. Our show is a genuine example of how I wish the world could be, differences and all—we are family.
C: Let’s talk about fashion a bit! Looking at fashion as a way to empower, when did you first genuinely start to see clothing as something much more psychological?
JM: I first recognized the power of clothing through my mother. I saw her transform from a wife and mom of three kids to an entrepreneurial businesswoman in just one outfit. I call it “Wearapy” today. “Wearapy” describes the instant therapeutic mood clothing can give you from the outside in. It is a very powerful tool women can use to put the game face on for anything they want to achieve in life and relationships.
C: Over time, what sort of impact, positive or negative, have you seen social media have on the fashion industry?
JM: Social media is like a puppy. It’s cute and cuddly and looks easy to handle at first, but then you realize it can be a little punk that needs constant attention and care. While I like that social media allows me to see internationally what’s trending, and what everybody is wearing in different parts of the world, it has also made bullying easier and leads women to believe that things in social media are what real life should look like. FALSE! Social media is a mere highlight reel of your best filtered moments filtered. As long as you know that nothing can replace the true beauty in the ups and downs of real life, then continue playing the social media game unattached.
C: What is the best piece of style advice you have received growing up that has stuck with you over time?
JM: The best piece of style advice came from Mama Mai—that the sexiest thing I could wear is my smile, and it’s true. Even when you’re not feeling your best, walking in with a bold, confident smile leaves a lasting impression that people want to remember about you anyway, that you love yourself and the life around you.
C: When it comes to wardrobe staples, what are your top two must-haves right now?
JM: When it comes to wardrobe staples, my two must-haves are Thinx undergarments and No Ka ‘Oi athletic wear. Thinx is a genius line of period proof panties. They have a built-in absorbency with insane foolproof production. And they’re super sexy as well. When it comes to daily outfits, I would live in athletic wear, because it shapes my body and makes me feel motivated to fit in a workout at any time. No Ka ‘Oi is a sick brand of luxury activewear that makes every woman look and feel confident and cool. Their colors are so sick. I haven’t found any athletic wear that compares to No Ka ‘Oi’s quality and design.
C: One style fad or trend that needs to go?
JM: One look that I could retire is super caked Instagram makeup. It’s about time we let our skin breathe dammit. This holiday season let’s “bake” cookies instead of our foundation!
C: What was one of your best-loved red carpet looks?
JM: My recent red carpet look from The People’s Choice Awards of 2018 was really fun. I love wearing pants whenever possible because I’m a little bit more of a tomboy when it comes to ease of style, and what girl isn’t gaga for some Gucci gang?
C: We read how you support new female designers, and we at Composure have a huge soft-spot for independent design! Can you share with our readers some noteworthy ones?
JM: I will always support entrepreneurial female designers first. Victoria Beckham is a great example of ten years of strong, stylish, consistent cuts for women. Her silhouette molds a woman’s body into her best sensual self. I appreciate the variety within Khloe Kardashian’s Good American denim and athletic wear. The stretch really does snap any booty into shape, haha. The last line of talented female designers I would support is Ethical Stories, Ethical Me. This is a sustainable fashion and lifestyle [collective] where they source from around the world enabling economic development through trade rather than direct foreign aid. There’s nothing like feeling good about the way you look.