Jeannie Mai is back up and running following her dangerous run-in with an illness that affected her throat, but she's "still bitter" about having to give up her spot on Dancing With the Stars because of it. "It was truly the hardest job I've ever had. I'm still reeling from how challenging it was and how much [time] it took to me every week to learn a new dance," Mai told Us Weekly while promoting the upcoming season of ABC's Holey Moley. "At the same time, I'm still bitter about having to leave so early that I'm pissed that Chrishelle [Stause] took the spot I should have had. I'm still going through my emotions."
Mai, who was paired with dancer Brandon Armstrong, underwent emergency throat surgery in Nov. of last year and was diagnosed with a rare condition called epiglottitis, which causes inflammation of the tissue protecting the windpipe. At the time of her announcement, Mai took to Instagram to share the unfortunate news with her fans and followers. "Although I am grateful to be recovering safely, I can't lie… I am devastated by the fact that my journey with #DWTS will end this way," she wrote. "Dancing on this show has been the most exhilarating adventure. I've gained both beautiful friendships and loving supporters."
Mai is completely healed and in the clear now, she assures, saying, "I am 100 percent healthy. My throat is healed." However, she's still on the journey to gain back the weight. "What's weird is it's actually hard to get back to the amount of food I used to eat because I went through, like, two months without eating real foods that I'm still kind of affected by that," Mai continued. "It's only been about six months. So hopefully in a year, I'll be fully back to normal."
While she may be bummed over her past gig, she says her current position as a correspondent on the ABC game show was the perfect job while in quarantine. "I needed it because everybody went through a rough time for quarantine. Everybody was looking for a reason to laugh and to be outside. I've always kind of complained, if I'm honest, like, allergies or how cold it was for Holey Moley," she shared with Us. "But this year, I was screaming to get outside and just to play and to just be in the fresh air and say hi to people. Holey Moley was the saving grace for me."