JEANNIE MAI: First and foremost you have to have the want to be better. If you don’t want to be better and you like yourself the way that you are, oh my gosh! Enjoy your life and avoid people that annoy you and do as you will but, for me personally, I love myself the way that I am but I love myself too much to leave myself the way I am. I always want to try and be better.
Let’s just say someone is really annoying me, based off the idea that I want to strive to be better, then couldn’t I work on certain issues about myself so that that person that is just being themselves wouldn’t annoy me. I’m sure there are areas of myself that I can tap into that needs working on, for example patience: Oh my gosh! I’m sure that person wore my patience thin because I have such low patience. Is that them annoying me? Or is it me allowing them to annoy me because I don’t have as much patience as I should? There’s communication: I know I rush through things all of the time and I really live my day-to-day schedule so if someone frustrated me, then I know that my communication isn’t the strongest point about me and that perhaps, I have to work on my communication, slow down and stop and listen or read through carefully. If you really want me to pour out all the things that Jeannie Mai has to work on, she won’t have enough time on this call! [laughs].
Let’s say if I was annoyed and I reacted, immediately I’m going to think about the things about myself that I can enhance or look at right now in this very instant to talk myself up a few more metres on that low end of where it is at; to work out this annoyance, to be patient and for communication and listening skills – oh my gosh horrible! It would be the fact that I don’t always focus all the time or maybe the fact that I didn’t delegate correctly; the fact that I didn’t mind my time wisely so last night I slept horribly for two hours and everyone is getting the shit end of my stick today. There’s so many things that I could work on. You know the one finger pointing at another is four fingers pointing back, you’ll get a nice good load of things you need to work on to make you a) forget about that person annoying you so badly or b) have a totally different perspective so you can at least you can manage through whatever the situation was.
All the things that you mention like patience and focusing on things is the stuff I also struggle with. I always learn from every single interview that I do. Out of all of the people you have interviewed so far over your career is there anyone that stands out that has taught you something amazing?
JM: One of my favourite role models would be a man named Nick Vujicic. He is Australian and he is just an amazing man. He was born with no arms and no legs and today he presents himself in every available scenario possible because he appeals to anybody (whether it be battered women or foster children or murders in jail) to say, ‘You have everything you need in the way that you were born to make anything happen that you dream and all you have to do is just live it.’ You’re sitting here listening to this person and you want to feel bad for him but he’s living the most amazing life; he’s built houses, he’s drove cars and been in marathons. You look at someone like that and you just have to think, what am I going to whine or complain about? That goes for any other people that have setbacks in their life that they still manage to achieve. I want to remind every person out there that we have the exact same amount of days in a year as Helen Keleher or Mother Teresa and we have the exact same amount of hours in a day as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. There is no reason that you can’t accomplish being great either. It’s just how you see it and use it.
What does your show How Do I Look? mean to you?
JM: How Do I Look? is truly a show about celebration. You know when you have a birthday…sadly where I live in L.A. most people look at their birthday and go, ‘Oh my gosh! Another year!’ and they dread it and count the wrinkles on their face. To me, my birthday is the-bomb-dot-com! I get so excited because it’s a whole celebration of: my god! I am blessed. I am blessed another year! It’s that same reaction you might get if you barely miss a car accident or if you were in any near-death situation and you thank your stars and kiss the ground—that’s the same way I feel about my birthday and How Do I Look?
To me, each segment of the show is bringing each woman to recognise herself so that at that very last line she throws out at the end of the show, really is for herself to ask, How do I look? How do I look to myself? How do I look in the way that I see myself now? In that time in the show that’s when they should be celebrating that they look amazing! Nothing has changed in weight, maybe a few things that will wash off at the end of the night like make-up and hair but really, what changes is your perspective about yourself; your acceptance of yourself; your joy about who you are. That’s what How Do I Look? is about.
Do you ever get sentimental about your clothes? Is there something in your wardrobe you couldn’t bear to part with?
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