What Photoshoots are Actually Like

Jadelynn Brooke Aloha Darling Cami Dress | Mimi Chenyao | Fake & Basic

Dress | Jadelynn Brooke

Photoshoots are my favorite form of escapism.

Since I’ve started inserting photo sets into my newer, non-fashion-related posts, I’ve toyed around with the idea of having two narratives per post, one through photos and one through text. Now, when I’m shooting photos, I think about the story I’m trying to tell. What kind of feeling am I conveying through the setting, the clothes I’m wearing, and the poses I’m using?


The Fake & Basic Manifesto

The Fake & Basic Manifesto

Note: I use the word “manifesto” in its neutral form here, meaning “a public declaration of policy and aims.” You could probs call it an ideology if you really wanted to 👀 I mean … if bloggers have a lot of devoted followers, does that make them well-dressed cult leaders? So many questions, so few answers.

I recently listened to a bunch of marketing podcasts and wondered who my “ideal reader” even was.

The short answer? Someone like myself. Ambitious and curious, with a penchant for the ridiculous. I write as if I’m talking to them. How that translates to you, an actual reader on this actual site? I have no idea.

You’ve probably got all sorts of reasons to be here. Maybe you want to see my outfits. Maybe you want to change your mindset. Maybe you like my rants against gender roles or stumbled upon the site because you needed an algorithms resource that didn’t make you want to die. Maybe you’re secretly in love with me and want to see how I think, or really fucking hate me and want to eagerly read about all the ways I mess up. Maybe you’re a total creep who’s stalking me. Maybe you’re my professor. Maybe you’re my mom.

Whoever you are and whatever reason you have for being here, come aboard. My name is Mimi, I’m twenty-one years old, and I’ll be your pilot today. Fake & Basic is a trip through my mind and my life. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.


I’m Fake & Basic, and It’s Time to Get Real

Fake & Basic // Mimi Chenyao

“Honesty fuels every relationship worth keeping, worth saving. And it’s the one quality we can’t arrive at on our own. We can’t decide to be honest.”

– Erika Napoletano

With every new environment I enter, I go through what I’ve come to think of as the Fuck-It curve.

The Fuck-It Curve // Fake & Basic // Mimi ChenyaoThis curve represents how much BS I’m willing to take from people in said new environment. My tolerance is pretty high at first. For example, if I were at a new school and someone made a comment that I disagreed with, I would politely brush them off because hey, I was new, and I didn’t want to rock the boat quite yet.

Over time, that tolerance would slowly melt away until I reached the critical point where I’d crack, say “fuck it”, and stop pretending to be “nice”. I’d be loud and outspoken about things that excited me and things I couldn’t stand. I’d confront people and keep them accountable for their actions. I’d cause scenes in public if I had to.


I’m Rebranding My Blog. Here’s Why.

Why I'm Rebranding My Blog

Everly dress

When you have a really girly style but enjoy primarily “male” activities, you get used to being looked at like you have two heads.

You get accustomed to having to break an invisible barrier every single time you meet someone new. You’ll have to shatter their preconceived notion that you’re fake, basic, superficial, or incompetent, and that yes, you do enjoy coding, lifting, business strategy and <insert other male dominated thing here>, despite that bright pink dress you’ve got on.


On Adulting and Illness

Red Flowers on Yellow Background // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

It’s been interesting being sick without anybody else around. [1]

When I was little and I came down with something, my mom was always there with medicine, good food, and strict rules about what I was and wasn’t allowed to do while bedridden (“Mimi! What do you think you’re doing writing that blog post? Go back to sleep!”). Even in college, resources were nearby — all I had to do was book an appointment with the Counseling and Wellness Center and trudge my way down there to find out a) exactly what was wrong with me, and b) how to stop being sick.


I Wore a Crop Top Yesterday, so my Body Decided to Punish Me by Getting Sick

Sick Day // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

Oh, California winter, how I detest thine trickery.

It was unnaturally warm out yesterday, and by unnaturally, I mean that I put on my usual sweater-and-UGGs combo and started sweating like a pig by midday, so I thought, “Oh! Here’s that temperate California climate that everyone’s been talking about!” and excitedly changed into the only crop top I’d brought with me.

I thought it would be fine. I didn’t feel cold even once. It was a blessing from the weather gods!


Four Seasons at Once in Berkeley

Berkeley, California Weather // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

Berkeley, California Weather // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

Berkeley, California Weather // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

Berkeley, California Weather // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

One weird thing I’ve noticed about the Bay Area is that you can see signs of all four seasons at the same time.

Within thirty seconds, you can come across a red leaves on the ground, a rosebush in full bloom, a completely barren tree, and a landscape full of green walking down the street. These photos were all taken on the same outing. 


Announcing Taylor Swift Reputation Lookbook / Album Review

Taylor Swift Reputation Lookbook // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

Sweater, shorts, necklace, and sunglasses from Molly and Zoey | shoes from Charlotte Russe

Taylor Swift’s new album, Reputation, breaks down like this — 67% love songs about her current partner, 20% shade thrown at Kanye West and the hater media in general, and 13% about past exes.

That’s a different than what I was expecting. The vindictive lead single “Look What You Made Me Do” and the aggressive snake symbolism led me to expect an album of nothing but shade, anger, and revenge, full of songs similar to “Picture to Burn”, “Better than Revenge”, “Bad Blood”, and the occasional “Teardrops On My Guitar.” Instead, it’s filled with songs that sound like more grown-up versions of “Enchanted”, “Fearless”, and “State of Grace” — embracing infatuation, lust, admiration, and companionship while finding out who your real friends are. (more…)

Announcing Asian Barbie Version 3.0

Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie // Version 3.0

When I first started studying computer science, everything felt like an uphill climb.

Conceptual terms were confusing, my code didn’t compile half the time, and it seemed like I was in my advisor’s office every other week. I had never programmed before in my life; it took hours to complete assignments because I would have to Google and wade my way through pages and pages of condescending Stack Overflow threads to find the answer to a single one of my questions.

I had many questions.

Every time I finally understood what I was doing, I felt an overwhelming sense of triumph that made all the hours of struggle worth it. I wished that there were resources that explained things to me in a simple manner — to a beginner, language documentation is tricky and intimidating, and half the answers on the Internet don’t help, either.