The 34-year-old makeup artist and stylist—who has worked with celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Aniston and Alicia Keys—emphasizes the mentally transformative power of fashion, a concept that she has coined “wearapy.” “[The right outfit] converts my mood into a mood I didn’t know that I had,” she explains. “Forget about dressing for other people—dress for you.” Next up on her list: co-hosting the Style Network’s first-ever live show, Pop Style, with Louise Roe. It’s what Mai calls “a variety show with food, fashion, lifestyle and celeb guests.” In other words, it’s a perfect fit for Mai. A San Jose native, she lives in Sherman Oaks. —Jessica Radloff
When did you realize you could make a career as a stylist?
I didn’t, actually. I thought about it very innocently, which is what I try to preserve today. I believe that what you do naturally well—whether it’s making cupcakes, or dressing people up—if you can turn that into a service for people, you will have the best job you never felt was a job.
What’s the biggest mistake that even the most fashionable people make?
Women don’t always factor in that their look is an entire ensemble. What you wear is not going to land you on the best-dressed list. It really depends on your hair, your makeup and your accessories. Everything has to all go cohesively together.
In your opinion, which celebrities always get it right?
Jessica Alba has a beautiful, tasteful way of bringing the whole look together so that she stands out and looks gorgeous. I also love Stacey Bendet from Alice & Olivia. She is totally out there, always mixing patterns.
Which star would you like to style?
I would love to have some time with Christina Aguilera. I dressed her before when I was just starting out, and she has a really cool body. I’d love to help her experiment.
What’s your best makeup trick?
Lashes! I don’t like to wear mascara and curl my lashes, so throwing on a strip—or half of one—is really quick and easy.
Time to spill your L.A. favorites! Where do you like to unwind?
The Wilshire Spa. Vivica A. Fox told me about it and it’s truly the best hidden gem. You get the best exfoliation, and [the services are] all under $100.
How do you keep in shape?
SoulCycle! I’m obsessed! I also love being outdoors, so I like to hike Runyon Canyon.
Favorite place to shop?
The downtown Fashion District is one of the best shopping areas for inexpensive items. Another hole in the wall that I love is Beauty & the City. They have really cool pieces for a night out. Oh, and [Westfield Topanga] mall.
Where do you go to buy beauty products?
Frends Beauty and Naimie’s, both in the Valley. I love to buy Too Faced Cosmetics and NYX there.
You consider yourself a foodie. Where do you like to eat?
We love the lamb neck at Shamshiri Grill, a Persian restaurant. I’m obsessed with Mendocino Farms for lunches. Lyfe Kitchen, which just opened, is a great organic, healthy restaurant. I love Fonuts, too.
Beauty & the City 930 S. Santee, downtown, 213.607.0111
Fonuts 8104 W. 3rd St., L.A., 323.592.3075
Frends Beauty 5270 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818.769.3834
Lyfe Kitchen 9540 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, 310.507.7955
Mendocino Farms 175 S. Fairfax Ave., L.A., 323.934.4261
Naimie’s Beauty Center 12640 Riverside Drive, Valley Village, 818.655.9933
Runyon Canyon 2000 N. Fuller Ave., Hollywood
Shamshiri Grill 1712 Westwood Blvd., Westwood, 310.474.1410
SoulCycle 8570 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 310.657.7685
Westfield Topanga 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park, 818.594.8732
Wilshire Spa 3442 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown, 213.387.0281