Lil Miquela is 19 years old, it's music, model and influencer. In his Instagram profile, he shows his day to day: he's staying for dinner with some friends, he's having an ice cream, he's going to get a tattoo, he records a song with a famous production company in New York. And everything, dressed in signatures like Prada, Balenciaga, Chanel and Burberry. The normal. More than 1.5 million followers follow his adventures as a fashion icon. But the probability of you crossing paths with Miquela is absolute zero. This young woman is not flesh and blood: she only exists inside a computer. But this is not an impediment for brands to bet on it as an ambassador for their products. He has appeared in the magazine Vogue dressed in Alexander Mcqueen and Magazine TIME he named her last year one of the 25 most influential people on the internet. Its existence gives a twist to the business of the influencers and opens the debate about the future of marketing.
In his publications, Miquela describes himself as a robot, but it is not so clear that artificial intelligence has anything to do with it. The captions of his publications and the management of his profile point more to the fact that there is a team of flesh and bone creating the images and answering comments. In the photos you see Lil Miquela, but he could be a man from Cuenca. He began his adventures with Instagram in 2016. At that time, many wondered if it was real. Brud, the creative agency that created this avatar, had not yet openly explained that he was not a real person and played with uncertainty while the number of followers continued to increase.
In this document published by the company that created Lil Miquela, some frequently asked questions are resolved. One of them is the inevitable: "Miquela is real?" To which the company responds: "As much as Rihanna". It is not a crazy response. As far as most human beings are concerned, Rihanna could be a virtual avatar. Overall, the chances of you crossing with her on the street also touch the absolute zero.
Finally, a supposed hack to your account confirmed the digital nature of Miquela. But does the fact that it is not real influence your success? Since it became known the truth, his followers have done nothing but climb. Different specialized media suggest that the hack who suffered his account was nothing more than a marketing strategy. But even so, her way of dressing and combing her hair continues to be imitated and the clothes she shows become a trend. Advertising agreements continue to grow and its presence in fashion magazines increases.
- Beyond Lil Miquela
Although she has the most followers, Miquela is not the only one instagrammer virtual that is triumphing. Shudu has been named the world's first digital supermodel and also lives on Instagram. Cameron-James Wilson, a 29-year-old London photographer, was its creator. As explained by the The Lily, Shudu and Lil Miquela emerge at a time when Instagram, Snapchat and photo-editing applications that rely on artificial intelligence have erased the lines between reality and fantasy, "turning ordinary people into paintings or digital avatars ".
The manipulation of images has always been in the spotlight and has been criticized for perpetuating unrealistic beauty standards. "Now, some fear that an incoming wave of digital models will put even more pressure on people, particularly women, to keep up," he explains. The Lily. Renee Engeln, a professor and psychologist at Northwestern University (USA) who studies body image, says there is a worrying drawback in the standardization of digital models. Critics of the fashion world have long accused the industry of imposing unrealistic expectations on the public. Engeln says digital models could exacerbate that trend.