The Jeannie Way
Her World Malaysia|September 2016

Named after the popular ’70s american sitcom I dream of jeannie, jeannie mai doesn’t need magic to change your life – just a closet of fashionable clothes and an amazing sense of style. Eena houzyama gets up close and personal.

Eena Houzyama

I first met TV personality Jeannie Mai, who is of Vietnamese and Chinese descent, last year during her first visit to Malaysia for the launch of makeover show How Do I Look? Asia. We managed to have a quick chat over breakfast just before the press conference began. Jeannie, who was born in San Jose, California, asked me how I tied my head scarf and made me promise to teach her one day. Fast forward to May 2016 and the Her World team is in Singapore for an exclusive cover photoshoot with Jeannie, who is in town for the second season of How Do I Look? Asia. I’m sitting with the other media from Southeast Asia when Jeannie spots me and points straight at me, saying with a big smile, “I see familiar faces.” I could not help but grin from ear to ear throughout the press conference. Right after, we have a quick chat and once again, she brings up my head scarf: “You have to teach me how to tie your head scarf.” I couldn’t believe that after a year, she clearly recalls where we last met and what we talked about. That’s how ‘real’ Jeannie is. Who you see on-screen is exactly who you meet off-screen. And let’s be honest, not many celebrities carry the same persona off- and on-screen.

As Jeannie carries on with her press interviews, the team moves backstage to prepare for our cover photo shoot, feeling nervous, excited and a little anxious. After just over an hour, Jeannie walks in wearing a comfy bathrobe and bedroom slippers. We let out a sigh of relief when she admires the clothes and accessories we’ve laid out for her.

We were worried she would be uncomfortable squeezing into the tiny makeshift changing room, but she assures us all is fine. In fact, it doesn’t take long for Jeannie to get into the mood in front of the camera. Once we've got a few shots, Jeannie goes to her trailer for a quick makeup and hair change, and I take this chance to chat with her.

HW: Actress Wanda Sykes played a role in building your career. Have you played the ‘Wanda’ role for someone else?

Jeannie: “I would say that How Do I Look? Asia allows me to give that Wanda Sykes moment to anybody who wants to take it. When Wanda opened the door to my now-agent’s office, I could have just done five minutes of clever, witty chat but never follow through the year after in order to really make it like I have. So, for me, my Wanda Sykes moment is giving women the chance to see themselves more clearly. Out of the three days we spend with them, about two-and a-half days go to the psychology part (of the transformation). Only half a day is spent on the physical makeover.”

HW: Who was your style inspiration when you were growing up? 

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM HER WORLD MALAYSIAView All

YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND IN ME

“More than half of my time is spent with animals, but I enjoy it,” enthuses animal rescuer, Aileen Lee. The story of this selfless lady’s dedication and love for the fur kids she has saved will warm your heart.

8 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

MISSION: Catification

We discover why pet proofing your home ensures harmony and safety for both the owner and the cat.

2 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

THE ONE WHO'S TAKING ACTION

Best known for her extensively waitlisted Nina bag, Gabriela Hearst walks the talk when it comes to sustainable luxury. The New York-based designer shares her inspirations, dreams and resolutions for herself and her eponymous label.

3 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

BORN TO ENTERTAIN

YOU MIGHT RECOGNISE HER AS THE GENTLE AND LOVING MOTHER IN LEE CHONG WEI, THE BIOPIC OF THE BADMINTON LEGEND, OR THE VULNERABLE YET RESILIENT TEACHER IN WET SEASON, WHICH HIT THE CINEMAS IN MARCH. SOME OF US MAY HAVE SEEN YEO YANN YANN ON THE BIG SCREEN PLAYING VARIOUS CHARACTERS FOR MORE THAN A DECADE. STILL, SHE NEVER FAILS LEAVE HER AUDIENCE IN AWE OF HER ACTING PROWESS.

10+ mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

THE TRUTH BEHIND FAUX FUR

Is imitation fur still a feasible alternative in this modern, fashion-forward world? Nadhirah Othman uncovers how the fur industry – both real and fake – brings a detrimental impact to the well-being of our planet.

4 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

Surprising reasons WHY YOUR KID is under performing in school

You’re understandably frustrated that your child isn’t living up to her potential. But before you blame her attitude, check if these conditions are hindering her academically.

9 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

A PAWSITIVE' Life

Like in many parts of the world, pet culture has seen exponential growth in Malaysia. In this issue, Lorraine Chai discusses pet therapy, a method of treatment that is gaining traction, and also some of the pet trends you don’t want to miss out on.

10 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

The Healing Power Of Unconditional Love

There’s a saying that goes, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” For one woman, these words resonated deeply. An unlikely companion came into her life at her lowest point and changed everything.

7 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

Even Pets Need Tummy Care?

For many, keeping a pet is more than just caring for an animal; pets are family members, too. We speak to veterinary surgeon, Dr Wafaa Abdul Washefffrom Pets Corner Sdn Bhd, to find out how your pets can stay healthy with a suitable diet

3 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020

Beauty The Natural Way

With climate change rapidly threatening the future of Mother Earth, we urgently need to curb further acts of destruction. We speak to Law Hong Mei, founder of The Olive Tree, about building a beauty brand that is sustainable from the core.

5 mins read
Her World Malaysia
May - June 2020