Q&A with Jeannie Mai

Jeannie Mai wants me to get my shit together. That isn't as mean as it sounds-- the daytime talkshow host, makeup artist, and fashion expert has joined the Rinse. Recycle. Reimagine project with Unilever because of the personal passion she feels for keeping the planet green. But in addition to cleaning the planet, Jeannie also wants me to check out some incredible movies, catch up on Better Call Saul, and dine at the great places out in Nashville when I get a chance-- all things I'd have to agree with. Jeannie spoke to GoGoMix and gave me some unexpected life coaching and a few of her favorite things!

--Adam Downer


GGM: So tell me about the Rinse. Recycle. Reimagine project. What is the project about and what made you want to join?

JM: First of all, I’ve always known about recycling Adam, because being born from first generation Vietnamese parents, recycling became very important. My parents came from a country where there was so much waste evident around you. There’s not one street in Ho Chi Minh, Saigon that you could drive down and not see the plastic bottles, coke bottles, rubbish everywhere because that’s how many people there are with undeveloped means of recycling! When my parents immigrated to the United States, they realized that that could be what America could look like. To anyone who doesn’t live in America, it’s the shiniest land of opportunity out there, and it still is, but we gotta maintain that.

To me, growing up with something so habitual that I learned had not always been like this was a whole shock. It was something new to me, so it’s a huge honor to partner with Unilever who recognize “Hey, we’re the most popular when it comes to products you have in your bathroom. We want to make sure you know how important it is to recycle these things you bought off the shelf from us. Do you know any other company that would be that responsible? Not only that, but they’re rewarding people for recycling. You can take a picture on Instagram of how you recycle and hashtag it #ReimagineThat and you could win a prize from Unilever because they want to reward you.

GGM: Summer 2015 is coming up. Can you tell us some makeup and fashion tips for the season?

JM: There’s so many every season, but this season happens to have a surge of things I think are innovative. One I really love is the Negative Space Nail, which is covering not your entire nail, but having some see through nail polish to see the nail bed. It’s a cool concept, where you can think outside the box. I also love highlighting. I’m obsessed with trying to beat the lighting. Not every situation will have the best lighting, and wherever you go, why not make that lighting work for you? I don’t think a guy would notice something like this, but when you see a woman who has a little glow, that’s the effort she did to add that sparkle to her face to make her skin shine. It’s a little trick we should do all season long.

GGM: I also know you’re co-hosting the Billboard awards in about a week and a half. How did that come about and how are your nerves?

JM: First of all, I’m a big fan of the BMAs. It’s fun, exciting, and the fashion is on fleek! I just can’t wait to high five Iggy Azalea, do a fist bump with Kendrick Lamar, and it’s gonna be awesome!

GGM: The Real is coming back. Why do you think the show’s been so successful?

JM: I think… you know, Adam, I think it’s because us five women are more unfiltered about things you don’t normally talk about on daytime television, and we own it! We’re not apologetic about the tattoos we got, our tramp stamps, our mistake boyfriends. We talk about these things and then we support each other. There are a lot of daytime talk shows that have a lot personalities, but with us, it’s not about competing against each other. I might think one of the girls on the panel said something outlandish, but I’m not judging her. She’s still my home girl! I think that’s refreshing for daytime television, seeing women support each other!

GGM: What TV you watch in your downtime?                          

JM: Let’s see... I still love The Voice because I have a permissible hall pass from my husband for Blake Shelton, so I can watch and ogle him. I also love a good Tosh.O. He’s so stupid, it’s amazing. I love any fashionable television series like Mad Men. Now, I would have to say Better Call Saul. It’s so good! It’s like the darker, more thoughtful Breaking Bad.

GGM: What movies have you seen recently?

JM: This movie rocked me for a few nights and I couldn’t get back to normal from it because it was so emotionally throbbing: Foxcatcher. Have you seen it?

GGM: No, I haven’t!

JM: Oh my god, Adam, get your life together! It’s so eerie and real and riveting and so good! Pitch Perfect 2 I’m gonna watch this Friday, and there was a documentary about Scientology I watched called Going Clear that’s amazing. You have a whole new respect for John Travolta.

GGM: Can you tell me what music you listen to?

JM: I just came back from Stagecoach, and I’m jamming all my old school jams from Martina McBride and Blake Shelton. And I love anyone who E-40 collaborates with. He’s one of those artists who comes out swingin’. He’s still unfiltered, so different, and the sounds that come out of him are awesome. I’m interested to see if Meghan Trainor comes out with something new. Her hits blew up and I wanna see if she can maintain the big pop sensational train she’s got goin. And of course Sia. All her music is so angelic.

GGM: Are you reading anything?

JM: To be honest with you, I’ve been listening to a lot of audio books. On audible, I get a new book every month. One I’m listening to a lot is Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. It’s such a breath of fresh air that allows you to focus your mind and meditate, even in the craziness of Los Angeles, where I live. I also want to read Gone Girl, because I hear it’s better than the movie.

GGM: You weren’t a big fan of the movie?

JM: I was a big fan, but I hear this is even better! And I believe that, because your imagination colors things in the way a Hollywood budget just can’t, and I want to experience that. And I’m also really reading the Unilever site. It’s an unbelievable website going on and on about the power to just recycle!

GGM: You’ve done a lot of traveling. Can you tell me your favorite vacation spot?

JM: My favorite… Well, this sounds biased, but  I love Sapa, Vietnam. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s all rice patty land, and it’s all manmade, and it’s untouched. Looking at the mountaintops and seeing how every millimeter of the land was made to harvest rice is a very zen experience. The people speak their own language. The food, fabrics, it’s unlike anything else. It’s a blend of all your favorite Tibetan, Asian, and Buddhist type of culture.

GGM: How about a favorite restaurant?

JM: In the US, I would have to say—oh my gosh, do you like fried chicken? You may like fried chicken, but I swear to god, you’ve never had anything like the fried chicken from The Row in Nashville. It’s better than Jesus juice! In Nashville, chicken is flavored, marinated, savory, and sweet at the same time, but The Row in Nashville has chicken that’s buttermilk fried, covered in a savory seasoning, then laid on a waffle that’s sprinkled with Cajun seasoning. You have a waffle that’s like a doughnut on acid, then blanketing this amazing chicken. Hands down, Nashville is one of my favorite spots for all kinds of food.

GGM: Last thing you splurged on?

JM: Okay, I was at this restaurant in Los Angeles, and I saw on the menu they had shaved truffles. I was having this weird craving where I wanted something savory and sweet. I got this bowl of ramen soup, asked for a soft egg cracked into it, and then I wanted them to shave enough truffle on it so it covered the entire soup and the entire egg. Let me tell you: the bill for this soup was about 620 dollars. It was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my life.

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