Career

How Fashion Modeling Made Me A Better Software Engineer

(and vice versa)

H&M Striped Dress | Sarasota Burns Court | Mimi Chenyao | Fake & Basic

It’s often implied that my two chosen careers are distinctive.

Upon first glance, they do seem contradictory — the mental image of posing in a put-together outfit is at odds with the one spent furiously typing away on a keyboard. It’s “interesting” how I model despite the fact that I also write code professionally, or how I program despite the fact that I also pose for photos professionally. But are the two really that different?

Not really, as it turns out. I started my blog around the time I started programming, and I got serious with shooting and editing photos as I started considering being a full-time software engineer. When I refined my skills in the two areas, I started noticing how the mentality and best practices I picked up from one trade easily translated to the other.

Both are highly technical at the core, but require a certain amount of intuition and creativity to enjoy. Both are essentially creating something (hopefully beautiful) out of nothing. Both require solid project management skills and an eye for detail.

I use tools from the two trades on an everyday basis — I gather requirements, estimate work times, and use a Kanban board for my shoots. I debug and approach code reviews with the perception of a model after the perfect shot. I’m not an engineer despite being a model, or a model despite being an engineer. I am one (at least a far better one) because of the other.

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An Interview with Sam, UO Music Intern

Urban Outfitters Music Intern Interview // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

Although (usually) subtle, in-store music helps to set the tone of your shopping experience.

Sam is the Music Intern for Urban Outfitters. He helps curate the songs you hear in store (I totally don’t have a playlist consisting of remixes and covers of this UO song or anything…). We talked about personal tastes in music and aesthetic, and how a prospective UO intern can stand out.

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Announcing: URBN Intern-Views Blog Series

URBN Intern-Views // #myURBNSummer // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

It’s that time of year again — a time when college students eagerly send in their resumes, cover letters, and application materials to companies of their choice in order to land a coveted summer internship.

A lot of people have messaged me since I started posting interviews with the URBN Class of 2017 interns, asking me for more tips, tricks, and experiences I had while I was with the company.

I’m really nostalgic for my time there. It’s where I met my best friend, and turned twenty-one, and learned how to be a halfway-decent software engineer. I had such a good time that I spent the entire first week back at school incredibly homesick. Even now, the Navy Yard, University City, SEPTA, Old City, and Fishtown have a special place in my cold, dead heart.

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An Interview with Natalie, Urban Outfitters UX/UI Design Intern

URBN UX/UI Design Intern Natalie

Behind every great app interface is a great designer.

Natalie is a UX/UI Design intern for Urban Outfitters. Her team creates the visual part of the apps that my team implements in code (I’ve actually done this a few times, so it was really cool to see the Urban app from an artist’s perspective). We talked about how much work actually goes into those advertising emails that appear in your inbox, Intern Interview Day, and how a creative project can make your intern application shine.

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An Interview With Billy, URBN Business Analyst Intern

URBN Business Analyst Intern Billy

Not all interns at URBN work directly with clothing or with only one brand.

Billy is an URBN Business Analyst intern whose job is to pull and analyze data from URBN’s three main brands: Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People. We talked about working with large amounts of data, landing an internship without going through the normal application process, and the cute dogs running all over the Navy Yard.

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An Interview with Carlie, BHLDN Dress Buying Intern

Not gonna lie, “dress-buying intern” sounds like my dream job.

Carlie works with BHLDN (pronounced “beholden”), URBN’s wedding brand that specializes in bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, accessories, and décor. We talked about what a buyer’s job is really like, how it feels to transition from store associate to Home Office employee, aesthetics, and interviewing tips.

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Urban Outfitters Internship Welcome BBQ & Orientation

URBN Summer Internship 2017 Welcome BBQ

Lilly Pulitzer dress | Franco Sarto heels

This week I started my Urban Outfitters internship.

It’s been a really intense yet enjoyable time — I’ve never experienced anything like it before. I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking here and dive into my day-to-day activities in a future post.

Sunday kicked off the program with a barbeque for the Intern Class of 2017. I hadn’t taken the train or subway in upwards of two years, so I left early to make it to the Home Office on time. I was blown away by the aesthetic of Building 3, where the event was being held. It’s all white walls and big windows and photo-ready backdrops. Later I learned that they used the space to do photoshoots.

URBN Summer Internship 2017 Welcome BBQ

URBN Summer Internship 2017 Welcome BBQ

I kinda want to decorate my future house like this, not gonna lie.

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Say Hello to URBN’s First iOS Engineer Intern

La La Land Yellow Dress Forever 21

Forever 21 dress | Old Navy flip flops

It’s official — this summer, I’ll be working as an Associate iOS Engineer at URBN, the parent company that Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain, and BHLDN, in their Home Office in Philly!

“I’m really bad at showing my excitement, but I’m really, really excited,” I told my future manager after I found out I’d gotten the position. This still doesn’t feel real (and trust me, I’ve been pinching myself since I received the offer letter). I’ll be writing, testing, and maintaining code with the rest of the iOS dev team and actually getting to see what “doing Agile” means in a business setting. I’m also the first intern the iOS team has ever had, which is really cool to think about.

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