NYUnique: JOYCE MAO: “Sweats are Better Than Tears”

"Getting me into good habits. What fitness can give me is more than aesthetic beauty, but the determination and persistency on a certain task. I believe how I perform in the gym is what I do in life"

Joyce Mao


Maisha: How would you describe your style?

 Joyce: Athleisure most of the time, since I basically live in the gym (laughter).

Maisha: Is there a particular designer whose style you resonate with most?  

Joyce: To be honest, there are so many geniuses in the industry that I don’t know which one to pick. But I will definitely go with the brand that have chic and simple designs. I’m almost a minimalist for the fact that my wardrobe is basically all black and white. I will love simple design that fits the curve.

Maisha: You get to swap closets with one person. Who is it going to be?

 Joyce: Bella Hadid? ‘Cause she’s bomb.  


Maisha: What’s the best thing in your closet?

Joyce: A black cropped fur jacket that I got from my grandma. Believe it or not, every time I wore it out in the winter people asked me where I got it.

Maish a: You have to wear one outfit for the rest of your life. What’s it gonna be? 

Joyce: Black crop top and black high-waist legging.

Maisha: When deciding on your outfits, what is the process like?

 Joyce: Functionality, since after workout in the morning i will go straight to class. So I want something that’s comfortable but not too casual. I will usually wear a sports bra underneath a crop top. Then the bottom will usually be leggings and sneakers.

Maisha: You’re walking down the street, what is that one item no one will ever see you in?

 Joyce: I would never wear a pleated skirt. 

Maisha: What one item is currently on your wish list? 

Joyce: Military jumpsuit


Maisha: How do you tune New York into your style? Has the city affected the way you dress on a daily?

Joyce: One thing that the city taught me is to be the best version of yourself everyday, and this is the tip I have for the girls my age too. Dress yourself before you go out, make sure you look good. You don’t do it for others, (of course genuine compliment from strangers in the street will def light up your day), but for yourself. I believe the vibes that you present to other will have a great impact on your daily life. Do not care about what others think, after all life is too short to hide your personality.

Maisha: I know you’re very into your modeling career. What got you started, and when did you know this is something you’re interested in pursuing?

Joyce: I have been hating modelling for 19 years, trust me. At the beginning I thought models are just bunch of people with only pretty faces and nice figures. But after I came to the city, I saw so many models with great personality, passion and determination in what they are doing, that it really touched me. Modelling is also something that’s out of my comfort zone. I always think that I am not photogenic and look bad in pictures, but the only way to get better at something is to keep practicing it right? Work hard, know your angles, and show your attitude on set and you are good.

Maisha: You’re also super into working out and having a healthy lifestyle. What sparked your interest in terms of making these choices?

Joyce: At the beginning it was for others. One of my ex boyfriends said I was ugly when we broke up. That was almost 4 years ago and was the motivation for me to hit the gym. But after that as I saw the result of my hard work on my body, I started to realise that all I have been doing was for myself. Sweats are better than tears.

Maisha: Why is physical fitness so important to you? What does it do for you?

Joyce: Getting me into good habits. What fitness can give me is more than aesthetic beauty, but the determination and persistency on a certain task. I believe how I perform in the gym is what I do in life.


Maisha: I know you recently bleached your hair blond, and it looks so cool! What made you bring about that change?

Joyce: It wasn’t because of a certain person or an event; I just wanted to do it. I’ve been dreaming to get blond hair for so long and one day I was thinking, since I am going to get it once in my life, so why not today? Everyday can be special when you want it to be. And almost nothing in life is completed in perfect circumstances. You are going to make sacrifices in order for it to happen anyway.

Directed by: Lei Jin and Alicia Gill

Photos by: Alicia Gill

Interviewed by: Maisha Kabir

Interviewee: Joyce Mao