American TV host Jeannie Mai spent an hour on Thursday last week, during her ongoing trip to Vietnam, inspiring Vietnamese youths to believe in themselves and give life tips based on her own experiences.
Throughout her career Jeannie has become known for empowering women and celebrating people’s potential.
Born in 1979 in San Jose, Jeannie has worked as a fashion expert, makeup artist, style guru and TV host.
One of the most successful emcees of Vietnamese origin in the U.S., she has hosted and co-hosted numerous shows, including the famous Style Network’s double Emmy-nominated series ‘How Do I Look?’, Daytime Emmy Award-nominated ‘The Real,’ ‘Character Fantasy,’ Miss Universe, and more.
In 2012, she was invited to be a guest judge of the reality show Asia’s Next Top Model.
She has also been a television correspondent on many amazing networks including NBC, FOX, Enews, and MTV.
Jeannie Mai. Photo: Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News
Jeannie the Winner
“I feel really blessed that for the last 8 years, I’ve spent my career doing exactly what I’ve always dreamed of – empowering women,” Jeannie wrote on her website.
At Thursday’s meeting in Ho Chi Minh City for around 250 youngsters, the woman with an obviously confident attitude emphasized that young people should always believe in themselves and do things that make them feel confident.
“If people say ‘no’, it’s ‘no’ for them, not for you,” Jeannie said, sharing the tough time she had chased her dream as an Asian girl in television.
Thanks to her confidence and strong belief in what she could do, she made her dreams come true.
Talking to young people at the meeting, Jeannie shared her childhood experiences, which she called a reminder to always be herself.
She said her first day at kindergarten was embarrassing because all of the kids and their parents looked at her like a weirdo because she dressed differently.
But then her mother calmed her down and told her she was "Jeannie the Winner" and that she had to be herself because she was unique.
“The Earth has 7 billion people, but there is only one you, remember that!” she emphasized.
“Love yourself more than Kayne West loves himself!” she added.
In addition, the 37-year-old style guru also gave life tips to the young listeners on how to communicate with their parents, how to deal with feeling lost in life, how to turn haters into motivators, and how to discover one’s inner talents.
Jeannie Mai shares her tips with young Vietnamese. Photo: Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News
Promoting Vietnamese culture
Being among only a few Asian emcees working on American TV networks, Jeannie said she always wants to bring Vietnamese culture to people.
“I think Vietnamese culture is interesting and I want to share it on my shows,” the TV host said. “I teach people Vietnamese words in my programs all the time.”
With nearly 430,000 followers on her verified Facebook page, Mai said she usually makes videos on Vietnamese cooking, and takes opportunities to show the world Vietnamese features like the 'ao dai' when hosting or celebrating Lunar New Year.
“Jeannie really loves Vietnamese people,” she said in Vietnamese.
Jeannie is currently on her 8th trip back to Vietnam with her mother.
After giving a talk in Ho Chi Minh City, she will join American NGO Pacific Links Foundation (PALS) for a 7-day trip to the north where they will visit Hanoi before reaching Lao Cai Province.
“Jeannie is our ambassador,” said Mimi Vu, PALS Director of Advocacy and Strategic Partnerships, working to prevent human trafficking and supporting survivors.
“We will go to the border area where we have a long-term shelter for young girls and women who had been trafficked to China and then returned,” she added. “Jeannie and her mother will meet around 20 girls there and do activities on self-confidence to help them look at themselves in a different way.”
“I want to talk and share with those unfortunate people, help them get their energy back, and make them believe in life,” Jeannie added.
Fans gather to take pictures with their idol. Photo: Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News
This is not the first time Jeannie has devoted herself to charity acts in Vietnam, last time she joined the Heartbeat Vietnam Foundation in helping child patients with free-of-charge heart surgeries.
“My job allows me to travel a lot and I realize there are unfortunate people everywhere,” Jeannie said. “But when I come back to Vietnam and see street children and poor women, I want to do more for my motherland.”