Jeannie Mai on Joining ‘Dancing With the Stars’ & ‘The Real’s New Season
Jeannie Mai has a lot on her plate right now with cohosting The Real (back for its seventh season September 21), serving as a sideline correspondent for the extreme mini-golf series Holey Moley, and competing on Dancing With the Stars Season 29.
“I’m very nervous, and I’m going to absolutely need your support, so even if you plan on DMing me a super critique about my dancing, I need to hear it. Tell me everything,” she tells TV Insider of her upcoming turn on the ABC competition show, which pairs celebrities with professional dancers.
When Mai was invited to join DWTS this season, which premieres Monday, September 14, she admits she was “very flattered.” And while she shares that she does have rhythm, “I do not see myself as a ballroom dancer at all … I had to do it for me. I’ve never ballroom danced, and obviously it’s amazing to watch people do it … This is my moment to just experience it for one time.”
As far as how confident she’s feeling about her chances, the TV host and stylist, who has only had two rehearsals so far, laughs, “There’s zero confidence. None whatsoever.” At least she does have “twerking and anything booty-related” under control.
But that’s perfect for her goal this season. “All I’m going to do is have a damn good time,” she says. “If I don’t make you smile, I’ve done a bad job. For me, screw the Mirrorball. I want to make people smile and make them laugh and maybe even call their friends because I have an amazing playlist.” She even offers a hint at her first song: “I promise you ’90s babies are going to live.”
After hearing from her co-hosts at The Real, Loni Love and Adrienne Houghton, Mai feels “just really, really supported and so thankful about that.”
Speaking of the talk show, she says filming it remotely has been “a nice break,” as it allows her to “do a whole talk show in half my pajamas and half dressed up top for work.” And she’s especially looking forward to the new season, with Garcelle Beauvais joining as the new co-host (following Tamera Mowry-Housley’s departure). “That is something really refreshing to all of us because Garcelle is just an elegant, amazing, fresh breath of air, and we can’t wait to hear all the adventures in L.A.,” Mai says.
The new season will continue to cover hot topics, what’s happening in the news each day, new shows, what’s happening in their communities, and maintaining great relationships with loved ones and kids. They also focus on trying to “really live a stress-free life,” the co-host notes. “As women, we’re always inundated by some type of gossip from somebody else. We’re inundated with how we’re supposed to be, how we’re supposed to dress, what our weight’s supposed to look like.”
“We also talk a lot about saving money. That’s a big thing on The Real and a big thing for me. I always think about saving money,” adds Mai, who’s partnered up with Straight Talk Wireless to offer tips and formulas to maximize long-term savings (such as with its no fees phone payment plan).
For the How Do I Look? alum, saving money includes “the essentials we’re constantly paying for that we don’t see because they’re hidden in contracts that we signed up for maybe a year ago. Straight Talk Wireless is a smart way to go neck-and-neck and compare your current cell phone bill to your current cell phone that you’ve paid for and make the comparison.”
As she puts it, “At the end of the day, no matter what, we’re never getting rid of our cell phones. We might get rid of our ex-boyfriends and husbands, but we’re never getting rid of our cell phones. That’s staying for life, so make sure it’s also not draining your pockets.”
Dancing With the Stars, Season 29 Premiere, Monday, September 14, 8/7c, ABC
The Real, Season 7 Premiere, Monday, September 21, Check Local Listings