Anh Mai of Mai Style Pages is a stylish lady who currently resides in Philly. I find it so inspiring that Anh turned her passion for fashion into a career path. Read on to find out more about Anh and her awesome personal style!
Anh Mai: I started my blog because when I moved to Philly I didn’t know anyone. When I was home I used to be able to share my new clothes and outfits with my sisters or friends. When I moved to Philly, I only had my husband, and I think he was getting sick of me trying on outfits and showing him. Lol. Also, because I love sharing with people the bargain and finds I would get from vintage and thrift stores, so the blog really allowed me to share that. I love it when people ask me questions on the blog. I have even connected some of my readers to my sales people to help them find things like sold out shoes. My last name is Mai pronounced like “my” so I thought it was a fun play on words. Even though now most people call me Mai, even people I’ve met in the past! It’s kind of weird.
Shen Dove: Can you name some of your style inspiration or influences (family members, designers, artists, celebrities, etc.)?
Anh Mai: I love Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. I love the bohemian, free spirited yet high fashion style they have. I love love Nicole Richie. Also, everyone in my family has great style. I usually have pictures sent to me by my brothers, asking me what I thought about their jeans or hats. Or they ask me to find a trendy boot they are on the hunt for.
Shen Dove: I know you have a nursing background. Can you explain a little about the evolution of your career from nursing to a fashion and styling focus?
Anh Mai: I have been a nurse for five years and though nursing has been rewarding, it wasn’t always my first passion. When I was in high school, I loved science and loved fashion. (I was voted best dressed in high school even though I really didn’t make a lot of friends since I was a new transfer). When the time came for college, I was afraid to go into fashion because of the risk of the unknown. I knew nursing was the safe route and definitely the more stable way. Of course, my mom agreed as well and that influenced my decision.
Working as a nurse has it ups and downs like any other job. When you save someone’s life or you are there for somewhere at the most vulnerable time in their lives you find a sense of reward from it. At the same time, working with dying patients or patients looking for a new heart (I worked on a cardiac floor with patients waiting for heart transplants), you realized life is too short to not do something you love. Transitioning into fashion wasn’t easy. It was difficult to leave a stable job, stable income and do something that was on the opposite spectrum. It was the unknown for me. But the deeper I got into it, the more I realized how much happier I became. I did a number of things before realizing that I love styling. I went to school for technical design and began sewing. I realized I wasn’t a designer. I started at a buying internship and became a buyer eventually but didn’t love it. I wanted something more creative, and styling was the perfect fit for me. It came naturally and it made me really excited to wake up and go to work.
Shen Dove: Do you have any advice for other professionals who want to make a leap into a fashion-related career?
Anh Mai: It cliché but I would say follow you heart. Do what makes you happy. When I have kids, I would tell them to do what makes them happy. No amount of money in the world can give you happiness. And it is true, “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.” I think if that is your real passion, you should just go for it and don’t look back.
Shen Dove: What are some of your favorite shopping, restaurants and other must-see places in Philly?
Anh Mai: I love the vintage and thrift stores in Philly. There is a really special gem on 12th and Samson called Philadelphia Vintage and Consignment. I love thrift shopping on South Street at Philly AIDS Thrift and Retrospect. The restaurant scene in Philly is spectacular also, my favorites include Vernick, Vetri, Zahav and Amish donuts from Reading Terminal. There are so many more, but then this interview would never end.
Shen Dove: If money or time weren’t an option, where would your next travel destination be and what fashion essentials would you pack for your trip?
Anh Mai: I have always wanted to go to Barcelona. I would pack sweeping, flowy dresses and a cardigan to wrap up in for walks home after dinner.
Shen Dove: Do you have any quotes, inspiration or words you live by?
Anh Mai: Do what makes you happy. My sister always said that to me, and now I have the courage to do it.
Shen Dove: Thanks for the interview Anh!