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.


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.


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.


Announcing: Data Structures and Algorithms Blog Series

Data Structures and Algorithms - Asian Barbie

When I walked into Algorithms class earlier this semester, my first thought was “Oh God.”

I had not been a fan of Discrete Mathematics, the precursor to the course, and the thought of having to learn these data structures and algorithms — and implement them programmatically — made me want to hide under a large rock and never come back out again.

Then I dove into the class, and realized that algorithms are really cool, and understood everything right away, and got a great job in Silicon Valley, and saved up money over the years and bought a nice house on the water where I lived happily ever after with my 50 cats.


Announcing Asian Barbie Version 2.2.0

maroon skater dress

maroon skater dress

Forever 21 sunglasses | Monteau dress | Unknown bracelet | A’gaci shoes

Taking action is always better than overthinking.

When I was first learning how to program in Java, I would spend the majority of my time reading and taking notes from the textbook assigned for the class. How did encapsulation work? What was the difference between method overriding and method overloading? And so forth. I thought that knowing everything conceptually would make me a better programmer, and it did, in a way — by the end of that semester, I had a vast theoretical understanding of Java and object-oriented programming, and could hold long conversations about their subtle nuances.  (more…)

Announcing Asian Barbie Version 2.0

Lilly Pulitzer Franco Pink Hyacinth Petal Pusher Lace Strapless Dress

Lilly Pulitzer Franco Pink Hyacinth Petal Pusher Lace Strapless Dress

Lilly Pulitzer Franco Pink Hyacinth Petal Pusher Lace Strapless Dress

Lilly Pulitzer Franco Pink Hyacinth Petal Pusher Lace Strapless Dress

Lilly Pulitzer Franco Pink Hyacinth Petal Pusher Lace Strapless Dress

Forever 21 headband | Forever 21 sunglasses | Unknown bracelet c/o Vinted | Lilly Pulitzer dress | Franco Sarto shoes

This is, in some ways, a continuation of my earlier post about style blogging and why I’m doing it.

Ever since I wrote that last post and promised to be more authentic about the way I approach my outfits, I’ve been looking for more intellectual ways to talk about fashion. Style blogging, to me, is so much more than posting pretty pictures of myself online, and I’m still trying to find my voice when it comes to sitting down and putting words to screen.

Everyone has a different motive for why they present the way they do when it comes to their personal style. Some use clothing to make themselves look more attractive. Others want to make it known that they belong to a certain group or culture, or to express how they were feeling when they got dressed that day. I like making subtle statements with what I wear, but I also just really like playing a more sophisticated version of dress-up. In the outfit above, I was equally inspired by sassy receptionist emoji as I was by Blair Waldorf (every time I re-watch even a little bit of Gossip Girl, my headband obsession comes back in full force). I’d much rather tell you those things than, say, what I did that day, because what I do every day is pretty much the same: wake up, eat breakfast, go to class, take pictures, eat lunch, more class, homework, gym, eat dinner, more homework … et cetera. Insert eye-roll here: even listing my routine makes me want to fall asleep. I’d rather tell you about how much I personally identify with  ?? , or how I’m really into the way Blair styles her outfits on GG.

So I will! From now on, I’ll post about things like this, effectively giving myself a way to play dress-up every day while talking about what I love the most. (Why didn’t I think of this sooner?) For example, have you ever listened to a song you were obsessed with and knew exactly how you’d make the music video to that song look like? I do all the time, and while it’s extremely expensive both money- and time-wise to actually make a music video to my favorite songs, it doesn’t take more effort than it usually would to put together an outfit, pick a location, and have a song-inspired photoshoot instead. Or, if I’m feeling particularly fond of a certain look featured in a Netflix show I was watching, I’ll replicate it and put my own spin on it (like a cover of a song, if you will — okay, I’ll stop with the music analogies now). Obviously, I’ll still be posting my usual outfits that aren’t particularly influenced by anything other than random choice, but I’ll try to make a dress-up post at least once a week. I don’t think that personal style is at all arbitrary — and I can’t wait to play around with different themes and expressions on the blog.

Check back soon to see what’s happening! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

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