LA X LA: Jeannie Mai, Style Expert

Photo By: Ari Michelson

Meet Jeannie Mai, a celebrity makeup artist & stylist, fashion expert, actress, and TV personality (a.k.a. a total minx!).  You probably recognize this fashionista as the host of Style Network’s “How Do I Look?”. As a fashion expert, she is frequently featured on numerous TV shows including NBC’s Today Show on the “Fashion Tips Today” segment, Extra TV, and E!’s The Daily 10. Most recently, Mai joined the cast of NBC’s super-successful new show Fashion Star.

Mai launched her career as a successful celebrity stylist, with a roster of clients including Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys and Rosario Dawson. Her vivacious personality coupled with her keen eye for fashion and ability to spot trends launched her styling career to a whole new level.

Networks caught sight of her likable, upbeat persona and took her styling sessions out from behind-the-scenes and into the spotlight. In 2008, she took part in Miss America Reality Check, starred in the Style Network special Dude, Where’s Your Style? and toured the world as the official spokesperson of Never Accept Ordinary, a line of cosmetics. In 2009, Mai joined Extra as a correspondent and weekend co-host and also appeared on Style’s What I Hate About Me and Lucky Shops, TLC’s10 Years Younger and USA Network’s Character Fantasy.

This fashionable little minx seems to have it all, and the drive to keep her career in full-speed. Check out Jeannie Mai’s take on all things Los Angeles:

Relationship Status: I’m married to an absolutely delish man who’s not only full of heart but hot as heck.

How long have you lived in LA? I’ve lived in LA for 8 years.  I moved from San Jose, CA and chose never to leave.  It was a culmination of about 4 months making the transition to having the dream to finally move out here and make empowering TV.  I packed up a carload of my best outfits, emptied my bank account of $237 and drove out to LA…never looking back.

What is your favorite memory of LA? My Favorite memory is the day I discovered Runyon Canyon.  This was the first time, for being a relatively healthy person, that everyone kicked my ass ripping up the hill while I was dying to make it to the first rest stop where all of the Chihuahuas stop for water.  In just four months of praying myself through it, I finally made it to the top and was able to enjoy the view of the entire city.  It was this that inspired me to construct a Prayer Box at the top of the hill.

What is your favorite breakfast spot? My favorite way to start off the day is in a healthy, hearty way.  My favorite breakfast spot in Weho is Hugos, and not just because of their every day menu but their monthly specials.  One is a Gluten-free decadent pancake dish for my sweet option, and my favorite savory option, which is the Asian Vegetable Satay that I put over kelp noodles.  Kelp noodles should be a part of everyone’s everyday life.

What is your favorite restaurant of all time? Excluding street food in Thailand, my favorite restaurant hands down is Shamshiri for their Lamb Neck, which is served only on Fridays and Mondays.  It’s as if the Lord was creating the Last Supper right in front of you.

How about for – Sushi: I have two places for Sushi.  I have a little brother who I’m trying to teach the value of the dollar and I take him to Fat Fish on 6th street and Berendo in Korea Town.  They have a full day happy hour, which allows you to pay about $2 a plate for delicious cuts of yellowtail, uni and spicy tuna on crispy rice.  However, my favorite spot with my husband to get our celeb sushi fix is Omi Sushi in Weho on Santa Monica Blvd.  The one dish there we have to order several plates of is the Jessica Alba roll.  It has absolutely nothing to do with her, besides looking as delish as she does in a bikini…and I bet it’s also as satisfying as having lunch with her.

Italian: If anyone is a true Angeleno, then they know about Alejo’s in Venice.  Yes, it’s right by the ghetto donut shop and the homeless dude who loiters out in front, but DAMN STRAIGHT they have a garlic factory right in the back of the restaurant and their sauces send taste buds straight to Barcelona.

Mexican: I’m from San Jose, CA where the best Mexican food resides.  I haven’t found anything here in LA that compares and if anyone tells me to go to El Compadre on Sunset, I will ship you in a box back to Tijuana.  The best place for Lengua Tripas is the El Tauro truck that is on 6th street in K-town only after 7:30PM.  And if you know what’s up, ask for their green chile and park behind the truck so the roaming cops don’t give you a ticket for parking in front.

Steak: The best steak is prepared & grilled by my husband; my OWN Hollywood Hunter.

Where do you like to let loose? In my bedroom with my husband…oh wait, you’re talking about in public.  Letting loose for me is letting loose a couple notches of my belt buckle.  And this, would be any buffalo wings spot.  I love my ribs and wings.

Where do you like to free your mind? I love to free my mind in Runyon Canyon where I hike.  However, now I’m officially moving to Sherman Oaks so I hear Fryman is the next best thing.  So if anyone is up to showing a new girl around, holla.

What are your favorite LA stores? If I’m doing any LA fashion shopping, I first start in the Fashion District.  It’s an amazing district of so many inventive designers that you can’t find in any store.  The second place is going to be Top Shop which is coming to The Grove.  The third favorite place would be our very own Robertson Blvd.  Everything can be found there, including a few shots from the paparazzi if they consider you cool.

What is LA’s best hidden gem? In all of LA, the best hidden gem is this Oaxacan…La Cabanita.  It’s a mom & pop place open for 15 years.  It has this fantastic chocolate Mole sauce which redefines any savory & sweet appreciating palate out there.