If you'll let me, I would like to start this piece with a confession: I had no idea who Mimiyuuuh was before any of this. The name was familiar though. That much I could have told you.
When I was tasked to write this very article, my bubble of uber-specific pop culture obliviousness was finally ready to burst. For the first time since scrolling past shares and retweets that included the mysterious, oft-mentioned name, I took a moment to actually stop and ask: Sino ba siya???
What followed next was a deep dive into online resources. In the grand tradition of internet sleuthing, my first step was to message several chat groups, where friends gave me the leads that told me where I needed to go. I logged on to YouTube and Twitter and pulled her up.
For people like me, who continually struggle to crawl out of the rock they live under, please, for the love of 2019, let me share my newfound knowledge with you. (For those who are OG Mimiyuuuh fans, please feel free to reach out if I've missed anything!)
Mimiyuuuh, or Mimi for short, if you can believe it, only started vlogging in March of this year.
She shot to fame quickly over a span of two videos gone wildly viral: her "interpretative dance" to This Band's "Kahit Ayaw Mo Na", and one of her giving some serious face on her "Dalagang Pilipina" Twitter video.
As these things go, the videos were shared. Over a short amount of time, they were shared even more and on various platforms! They were talked about and, as is the mark of true viral success, eventually memed all over everyone's social media feeds.
As quickly as you can say "Skkkrrrt," your girl, Mimiyuuuh, basically became an overnight success.
She swooped in—or at least that's how it looked to me—her wide-leg pants swishing along as she entered the studio with a small entourage.
One by one, she was introduced to every single person in the room.
"Hello po! Good morning po!" she exclaimed with a smile after each beso.
After some more of the initial pleasantries, an apology from Mimi herself for being (slightly) late, and a quick briefing for what was to be expected of the day, she was off to hair and makeup.
A few minutes later, she swooped in again. She went straight to the clothes selection rack to check out the outfits the Cosmo team planned for her.
She was swift. She knew what she wanted. She asked questions about the clothes, listened to input, and offered her own suggestions, too. The shoot hadn't even started yet and it immediately felt less like we were here to point a camera and direct a subject, but more like we were about to start working on a collaborative creative effort.
We were dealing with more than ~just~ an internet celebrity. Clearly, she was A Professional.
"May plans po ako. Ayokong maging vlogger for my whole life."
This was my brief, initial encounter with the Internet x Fashion Superstar of the Now and already, I was charmed.
Right now, Mimi refers to herself as a content creator, or what the general public refer to more casually as a "vlogger."
However, as comfortable as she is in front of the video camera, as much as she has enjoyed it, vlogging was not the main career path she had planned on taking.
"May plans po ako. Ayokong maging vlogger for my whole life."
So, what did she want to do outside of it? Without even having to stop and think, she answered, "Gusto ko po talagang maging fashion designer. 'Yon po talaga yung sana endgame ko talaga. Gusto ko po next year, ma-start ko po yung fashion [line], ganoon. Actually, may merch po ako." (It was a cute tote bag, with a familiar catchphrase stamped across it. I was ready to buy it off of her!)
The merch she had shown off so excitedly is set to be ready for the public sometime soon, she says. But for now, with collaborations left and right, brand tie-ups, interviews, and guestings, she's just grateful for every other opportunity handed to her.
"Sobrang natutuwa po ako kasi parang mas malaki na kinikita ko compared [to before], at saka natutulungan ko na po family ko, ganoon. Nakakapagod siya. Pero, in a way, siyempre, kailangan talaga nating kumayod and to earn money. Hindi lang naman para sa'tin. It's for family, ganoon. So, sobrang fulfilling po yung job."
She has always been close to her family, she says, and even remains close to the friends she had before millions of people knew who she was.
It was easy to see: Despite the modern-day job description, the familiar dalagang Pilipina sensibilities of family values and tight friendship continues to shine right on through.
She walked out of the dressing area, mild waves and hairspray now in her trademark fringe, sporting a getup half a step away from androgyny.
That air of certainty she had had about the clothes the first time? She had it too, this time, facing the photographer. Pose after pose after pose, not only did she take direction well, she threw in little bits of ~*Mimi magic*~ here and there.
There was a suggestion to try out a jump shot. I feel like that was thrown in because she seemed genuinely game for anything. Jokingly, she said, "Pwede bang parang Chinese Garter?" And she actually did the jump.
The best part? We actually got a great photo out of it! (Probably several. I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case.)
All the energy she put into fooling around on set that day, combined with her expertise and charisma, resulted in a wider-than-usual array of fun, fierce, and dare I say fearless, photos for the Cosmo crew to choose from.
Mimi on her newfound fame: "Sobrang overwhelming. Hanggang ngayong po, parang hindi pa rin po ako sanay."
This was the day we learned that not only was she a pro on video, she knew her way around modeling too. That was Fashion Student Mimi at work.
The first major designer purchase Mimi made for herself at the height of her success was a pair of Maison Margiela tabi boots. (You probably already know this if you follow her at all.)
"College pa lang po ako, dream ko na talagang magka-tabi boots. So, ayon, nung nag-earn na po ako ng pera, 'yon, go na ko sa tabi."
It's her enthusiastic addendum shortly after that makes Mimiyuuuh who she is. "At saka sale po yan! Hindi po ako bibili ng hindi sale! Ang mahal e!"
That pleasantly surprising contradiction in her larger-than-life personality was what I was completely drawn to. I suspect a lot who have met her and worked with her can say the same.
I'm not ashamed to admit that there were moments during my allotted time for the interview that I got a little carried away, maybe sharing an anecdote I thought she would appreciate. I had to constantly remind myself that I had a job to do and was not, in fact, hanging out with an old friend.
She seems incredibly at ease and makes everyone else around her feel so at ease, that you almost forget: Fame and success rarely come without their own drawbacks. Even more so when they come at you so suddenly.
"Sobrang overwhelming. Hanggang ngayong po, parang hindi pa rin po ako sanay. Kunwari, may magsasabi ng, 'Huy, mag-hi ka naman sa mga fans mo.' Bakit ako may fans? Parang ganoon! Parang hindi po ako sanay sa ganoong buhay po talaga! Tapos kunwari 'pag nalabas po, medyo nahihirapan na po ako lumabas. Kaya medyo, parang hirap po ako mag-adapt."
As with any job, there's the good and the bad, and typically a probationary period that allows you to adjust to your new responsibilities. In Mimi's case, having skyrocketed to over a million subscribers on YouTube and nearly 600,000 followers on Instagram in such a short amount of time, it's understandable how she's still just getting used to all of it.
Despite the overwhelming change, she considers herself extremely lucky. She has her friends, that she knows she can run to. And she remains thankful that the industry at large, including its people, has been kind to her.
You wouldn't know she was still figuring the fame thing out, honestly, if she hadn't said so herself.
Mimiyuuuh is every bit the same person in front of the camera as she is right in front of you. And she is every bit as contradictory, in the best, most alluring ways.
She is one heck of an extrovert but all she does, she says, when she isn't working is stay at home or hang out in the homes of her close friends. She loves her designer brands but will poke fun at the ridiculous price tags. She is unquestionably a stylish girl but holds no shame over repeating favorite items in her closet like a lot of others do. The awkwardness she openly expresses only plays onto her confidence.
And only Mimiyuuuh unites the fashionably chic and willingly, unironically jologs.
There was one thing I wanted to make sure I ask though: What is her preferred pronoun?
She says she doesn't care. (It's apparent that she fits right in with the rest of the fun, fearless Cosmo girls, so for the purposes of this article, I went with "she/her.")
"Dedma!" she exclaimed in true "I am who I am" Mimiyuuuh fashion.
This nonchalant acceptance of her identity and the story of how her name came to be is representative, really, of how she goes about her hectic daily life.
"Yung 'Mimi' po, nung college pa lang po ako, yun na ang tawag sa akin. Jeremy po kasi yung name ko. So, 'Mimi’.' Tapos, yung 'Mimiyuuuh' po...yung si Michele Bumgarner po, kapatid ni [renowned designer and former boss] Mark Bumgarner, maarte kasi 'yon."
She says this all in good nature and laughs as she recalls the distinct affectation of her name.
"'Mimiyah?' Ganoon. Ganoon tono niya. So, doon po nag-start po. [Tapos] kinanta ko na lang. Kasi nung high school, kumakanta talaga ako pero wala talaga akong talent sa pagkanta. Parang ine-eme-eme ko na lang. Ariana [Grande] kunwari."
This seemed to be the prominent outlook, the way everything's been going: It happened. It's there. I might as well have fun with it and make it work! And if it doesn't work, well, we'll try until it does!
Has anyone else wondered how she decided on the specific spelling of her name? Not "Mimiya," or "Mimiyuh," but "Mimiyuuuh."
"'Di ba, 'Mimiya?' Dapat 'a.' E bawal na sa Instagram! Yung username, na-ano, nakuha! Oo! Opo! Tapos 'yon po! Nag-try ako, tatlong 'a.' Meron din. Tapos yung tatlong 'u,' wala. So, 'yon na lang, pinush ko na lang."
Mimiyuuuh, the username, was merely by chance. Mimi, the person, however, is a result of self-assured choices.
To get where she is now took years of hard work, a healthy amount of determination, chutzpah with the glimmer of her personality. Add to that just the right amount of luck, and it's happened. She didn't really plan to be here but she's here and she's having the best time with it.
And there's no doubt about it, Mimiyuuuh is not only making it work, she is totally working it.
PRODUCED BY: Retty Contreras
CO-PRODUCED BY: Lily Tabanera
PHOTOGRAPHY: Mixi Ignacio
ART DIRECTION: Jico Joson
SHOOT COORDINATOR: Lou Ferrer
SOCIAL MEDIA: Andie Estella
SITTINGS EDITOR: Jacinda A. Lopez
HAIR: Mycke Arcano
MAKEUP: Sylvina Lopez
STYLING: Bela Vitug
STYLING ASSOCIATE: Allan Ray of #StyledbyBelaVitug
Special thanks to Match Contract Furniture.