Jeannie Mai credits her mother for her larger-than-life personality.
"She has so much light in her life and she's super explosive with her personality. She's unapologetic. She's loving of everybody around her and she checks you when your a** needs to be checked," the host of The Real shared as she opened up while taking off her makeup for ET's Unfiltered series. Currently, Mai is also a sideline correspondent for Holey Moley, a unique mini-golf competition series full of epic obstacles, where she gets to interact with the live audience as well as the contestants' family and friends.
Mai's bestie relationship with her mom, known as Mama Mai, is apparent on Mai's social media and on her digital series, Hello Hunnay.
As an immigrant who escaped Vietnam to start a new life in Northern California, Mai's mom instilled pride in her of her Vietnamese culture and the ethics of never giving up.
"So my mom really taught me to be fearless and I love her! She's just so much fun! She is completely the reason why I am a personality and a success to myself today," Mai added.
Although they're extremely close, Mai confessed it is a bit challenging when it comes to dating with Mom by her side. (Mama Mai currently lives with her.)
"It's horrible dating with Mama Mai! She is nosy," Mai joked. "When I was a kid she would be the first one eavesdropping on my phone calls: 'Hello? Who you call for? Huh?' Still today, every time my phone goes off, we dive for it and lose nails 'cause she's the one looking to see who I'm dating."
Despite the nosiness, Mai knows whoever dates her will need to deal with them as a package.
"She's there for life, but even though it's hard to date with my mom around, I'm so thankful for it because the person who can't take Mama Mai is not the person to take me. [You know] what I'm saying? Like, in Asian culture, you have to be down with the family. You have to be down with all the crazy traditional or non-traditional things we do. So Mama Mai keeps me grounded and reminds every bro out there, like, if you can't take this, you can't take this."
Mai and her mother weren't always attached at the hip. When Mai was 16, she confronted her mom about a family member who she says sexually abused her when she was nine years old, which she revealed in an episode of Hello Hunnay in May. This experience rekindled Mai's longtime pain of when Mama Mai initially didn't believe her when it happened. They eventually reconnected when Mai was 24, but this video marked the first time they've openly talked about it in 16 years.
"I had to be clear with where I'm at to then talk to my mom because what I really wanted from getting clarity from my mom is that I not only wanted to understand she understood what I went through, 'cause I don't think she would do the same thing today, but I also wanted her to know that this can't continue on, especially in Asian culture," Mai expressed about the video. "'Cause, like, I just said we don't talk about things and kids don't even know how to approach their parents about things. So if this were to happen to somebody else, it's one person too far with me. So that's why I confronted my mom and I'm so glad I did because I heard and I saw her and now I understand and now I feel so much more cleansed."