Jeannie Mai Gets Real About Being Sexually Abused As a Child and Not Being Believed

Jeannie Mai is known around the world for her impeccable sense of fashion and her warm and bubbly personality. She has been a fan-favorite on the daytime talk show The Talk since she first signed on to be one of the co-hosts back in 2013. 

Mai seems to be a very warm and friendly person who is always happy. This is why it is so hard for some people to believe that life was not always that great for the fun-loving TV personality.

She has recently admitted that when she was little, she was sexually abused by someone that she thought she could trust. Because she was abused, she struggled for many years with trust issues. The abuse not only made her despise her abuser, but it also caused her other relationships with certain family members to deteriorate as well. 

Jeannie Mai’s career

Jeannie Mai attends 2018 Samsung Charity Gala at The Manhattan Center.
Jeannie Mai | John Lamparski/WireImage

Mai grew up in San Jose, California with her family. Her mom is an immigrant from Vietnam and her dad immigrated to the United States from China. Both of her parents worked very hard to give their children the best life possible.

Mai had always been interested in fashion and celebrity life. When she was 18 years old, she makeup artist for MAC cosmetics and was soon doing the makeup for some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera.

After working as a makeup artist for about four years, Mai decided that she would like to get out from behind the scenes and start being in front of the camera. In 2003, Mai got a job as a host on some local television programs before becoming a producer and reporter on the WB entertainment news show, The Daily Mixx. 

After that, Mai went on to work as a host and fashion consultant for many different shows. She hosted the Miss Universe Pageant and other shows, including How do I Look?  before landing a co-hosting gig on The Talk, when she is still currently working.

Jeannie Mai gets real about being sexually abused as a child

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While Mai was growing up, her parents were constantly working in order to make ends meet. While they were working, her parents had relied on other family members to watch after Mai and her siblings.

During this time, Mai says that she was sexually abused multiple times over the course of five years. Mai says that the abuse started when she was just 9 years old. The reason the abuse continued for so long was that when she had confided in her mother about the abuse, her mother didn’t believe her.

Mai recently told People that not being believed was a very difficult thing for her to process. “The first time I was told as a child that what I saw or what I felt wasn’t true, that was the first time I learned not to trust myself,” Mai had said. “When I look at the five years that he abused me, I believed him over myself. Then, when I looked to my mom for help, her dismissing the entire situation taught me to dismiss my own intuition.”

Because her mother refused to believe her, Mai had a very strained relationship with her mother. When she was 16 years old, she ran away from home and moved to San Francisco where she could pursue her dream to become a makeup artist.

Does Jeannie Mai have a better relationship with her mother today?

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OF GROSS @themamamai watch link in bio #HelloHunnay

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Mai harbored a lot of resentment towards her mother for many years. In fact, she admitted that she did not see or talk to her mother for eight years. The two had reconciled a few years after the incident, but Mai said that she was always unable to completely forgive her mother for letting her down when she needed her the most.

Then, Mai had the idea to have a sort of therapy session on her YouTube channel with her mother. During the video, Mai and her mother talk about the incident and her mother admitted that she had handled the situation wrong.

“That episode was monumental for me and my mom,” Mai had said. “She owned that she was young and didn’t have the answers, and that healed me. When she listened and made me feel heard, it made up for all of the years that she didn’t.”

Because of her experiences, Mai is now a strong advocate for stopping sexual abuse and human trafficking. Last year, she even produced a movie entitled Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex Trafficking.” She hopes that the documentary will resonate with people around the world and we can finally put an end to sex trafficking.