‘How Do I Look’ host Jeannie Mai wants Asian women to stop blending in

Don’t be afraid of embracing colours or style, which can make you feel a whole lot better, says American host Jeannie Mai. — TODAY pic
Don’t be afraid of embracing colours or style, which can make you feel a whole lot better, says American host Jeannie Mai. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Aug 25 — After helping countless sartorially challenged women and fashion victims turn their wardrobes and lives around in American reality series “How Do I Look”, host Jeannie Mai is psyched about the Asia edition that’s premiering next Monday.

“It’s so exciting to have it in Asia. It’s been so wildly successful in the US and changed the lives of so many women. As an Asian-American woman, I’ve been waiting for the version to come to Asia,” said Mai, who was in town to promote the show.

Although she isn’t presenting the Asian edition — Malaysian celebrity Sazzy Falak will be doing the honours — Mai said the format will be the same as the US version as it shows the same challenges and emotional journey that the contestants go through. “There are badly dressed people and fashion emergencies everywhere. We can identify what contestants are going through in their lives, where they are in a place where it’s just an unhealthy way to live.”

She’s especially passionate about getting Asian women to stand out with their sense of style, declaring that it’s “a problem” when Asian women dress in a certain way because they don’t want to stand out and prefer to blend in.

As a firm believer of “wearapy” — a term Mai coined to describe the psychology of style and how you can affect your mood through your clothes — Mai explained that there is much potential for women to change how the world perceives them if they dress up and how colours can affect the way you feel.

For example, she advises yellows and citrusy shades for energy and vivacity. Pastel blues and greens are calming and dark while rich amber tones convey romance.

Style can even help you score at work and at home, according to Mai. “If women took their image seriously, they can get better jobs, have better relationships, their children would respect them differently. I’m not saying you have to be fashionable — I don’t care about trends — I’m saying if you don’t care about how you look, why should anyone else give you the time of the day? By dressing up, you don’t have to tell the world to respect you as you’re already showing it,” the bubbly 36-year-old expounded.

She dismissed the excuse that there’s no time to dress up — or for that matter, head to shops to get something nice to wear. “Guess what? It takes the same amount of time to put on a wrap dress as it does a sweatshirt. Unless you’re telling me you’re going out naked.”

But while Mai is known as a makeover maestro for women, there is one male celebrity that she would want to bring in for a makeover. “Anthony Bourdain. Not because I think he’s poorly dressed — he does have his own style that’s all about loose, well-travelled comfort. It’s because he’s my man-crush and I want to see him with his shirt off!” — TODAY

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