Forever 21 Sweater and Black Leggings | Mimi Chenyao | Fake & Basic

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 can’t promise you anything, except that I’m trying my best and I’ll always share my insights with you. My ideas and the approaches I implement to achieve my goals are always changing, as are the books I’m reading and the things I’m learning. Just because I write about something one month doesn’t mean I’ll be doing it the next — I’m a big believer in giving everything a try, and throwing stuff away when it doesn’t work for me. If I like something, you’ll know it. If I throw a method away, you’ll know it. If I run away to Silicon Valley and start a company that makes it possible for humans to be charged like phones so that they don’t have to eat or sleep (which is my dream, to be honest), you’ll know it. I swear that I’ll always be as open with you as I can.

I can get preachy sometimes, but I’m not you, so what works for me may not work for you, and vice versa. Please don’t take what I say on here as the One True Way to Do Things, because that’s horseshit. Try stuff out for yourself. If you don’t vibe with it, don’t stick with it. Feel free to call me out on stuff — the last thing I want to do is sit in my blogging ivory tower and talk down at you.

Listen, I’m just a kid with a lot of intense determination who started a blog one day. I’m a STEM major who hasn’t taken a reading or writing course since high school. My photography education extends to having read a single book on the subject. I take all my photos with my iPhone. Nobody told me how to get started or how to be successful. Nobody gave me permission to put on pretty dresses and pose in front of random rich peoples’ vacation homes. I just decided that I wanted to create a place where I could speak, unfiltered and unobstructed by others’ notions of who I was, and happened to have enough ridiculous confidence to turn my ideas into reality.

Hopefully, you’ll also develop a sense of ridiculous (but not baseless) confidence after getting to know me. If there’s one thing I want you to leave Fake & Basic with, it’s that, and an unshakeable, fearless dedication to achieve whatever the fuck you put your mind to. You define yourself, your life, and your achievements. You’re the one holding yourself back or building a shining future piece by piece.

If you’re like me, and you want to …

Make a name for yourself

Celebrate your beauty and intelligence at the same time

Learn everything that you can about the world

Be comfortable with being uncomfortable [1]

Spend your time doing things that make you glow

Never settle

Be outspoken and unconcerned with the status quo

Stay independent and self-reliant

Embrace lessons learned from failure

Be ruthless in the pursuit of your goals

Take pride in your imperfections

Keep yourself publicly accountable

… then Fake & Basic is for you. Welcome home.

XOXO your favorite well-dressed cult leader,

Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie


[1] This refers to being uncomfortable at, say, a technical interview or trying things you’ve never done before, not putting up with bullshit that makes your skin crawl.