ENTERTAINMENT

Virtual Instagrammers work with designer brands, make thousands a day, and are loved by millions


To meet Miquela Sousa. Also known as Lil Miquela, she is the effortlessly cool 19-year-old social media influencer whose trendy Princess Leia-style clothes and buns have now attracted 2.8 million followers on Instagram.

Not only is she known for her devotion to topics like abortion rights and Black Lives Matter, which earned her a spot on Time Magazine's list of Time Magazine's 25 Most Influential People on the Internet, but she has worked with brands like Prada and Chanel to Pay Well Money so that their products adorn their perfect, supple body.

She can potentially make up to £ 6,500 per post on Instagram.

Meet Miquela Sousa. Also known as Lil Miquela, she is the effortlessly cool 19-year-old social media influencer whose trendy Princess Leia-style clothes and buns have now attracted 2.8 million followers on Instagram

Her dedication to issues such as abortion rights and the Black Lives Matter that earned her a spot on Time Magazine's list of 25 Most Influential People on the Internet

Her dedication to issues such as abortion rights and the Black Lives Matter that earned her a spot on Time Magazine's list of 25 Most Influential People on the Internet

She is the kind of person every teenage girl would like to have as her best friend. As a result, millions of young people turn to Miquela for advice on what to buy, how to dress, and even what to think.

If Miquela seems too good to be true, it is her. It is a computer graphic animation made up of pixels that only exists on the screen.

From her exotic Spanish-Brazilian background to the cute freckles on her nose (which are supposed to give her imperfect beauty and make her more "reliable"), everything is made.

So she ticks every box trying to figure out what a young woman should look like in order to gain followers.

It was founded in 2016 by a secret LA-based company called Brud, which is now estimated to bring in millions of brands who are paying for their growing selection of glamorous avatars to promote their products.

It is said that the "virtual influencers" have become so lifelike that a survey found that 42 percent of teens followed an influencer they didn't know was CGI. Even when they find they aren't real, a third reported that the characters had given them "helpful advice."

While some describe this as the most cynical and manipulative stunt performed on social media to date, others say it is the logical next step.

After all, it's no secret that human influencers project an unrealistic lifestyle and use filters to create an illusion of physical perfection.

She is the kind of person every teenage girl would like to have as her best friend. As a result, millions of young people turn to Miquela, pictured with actress Millie Bobby Brown, for advice on what to buy, how to dress, and even what to think

She is the kind of person every teenage girl would like to have as her best friend. As a result, millions of young people turn to Miquela, pictured with actress Millie Bobby Brown, for advice on what to buy, how to dress, and even what to think

It was founded in 2016 by an LA-based secret company called Brud that now brings in an estimated millions of brands who are paying for their growing selection of glamorous avatars to promote their products

It was founded in 2016 by a secret LA-based company called Brud, which is now estimated to bring in millions of brands who are paying for their growing selection of glamorous avatars to promote their products

So why hire a diva-like person to sell your products when you can build the perfect brand ambassador yourself?

Miquela will always be on the word and never look rough with a hangover. Plus, she'll be 19 and beautiful forever.

"A CGI influencer doesn't have a personal life that can trigger a PR nightmare for the brand: no messy divorce, no drug abuse," says Stefano Marrone, managing director of strategic content agency Nucco Brain.

But how will this next generation of influencers affect the minds of young people who are already struggling with the feeling that they cannot compete with airbrush perfection?

Research shows that more than half of Miquela's followers are in the 18-24 age group, but many are under 17.

Will it more or less give it to them knowing their insta idols are fake? Marketing expert Scott Guthrie says the often wafer-thin bodies and flawless complexion of virtual influencers simply reinforce unrealistic standards of beauty.

“You don't have to undergo constant diet, strenuous beauty regimens, or cosmetic surgery. They don't age or fluctuate between dress sizes. “It appears from the comments that many young people are confused – with girls complimenting Miquela on how she looks and asking for advice on hair and skin care.

Miquela will always be on the word and never look rough with a hangover. Also, she will be 19 years old and will be beautiful forever

Miquela will always be on the word and never look rough with a hangover. Also, she will be 19 years old and will be beautiful forever

Research shows that more than half of Miquela's followers are in the 18 to 24 age group, but many are under 17

Research shows that more than half of Miquela's followers are in the 18 to 24 age group, but many are under 17

Andy Phippen, professor of IT ethics and digital rights at Bournemouth University, added, “Avatars like Miquela are usually thin with big eyes. Even compared to influencers who use filters, this is a completely unrealistic representation of body image – because it's not even real. Both promote unhealthy body image and unrealistic expectations.

“It's up to parents to help their children understand that sometimes what is online is not what it seems. Young people need help learning how to make informed judgments when they see such content. "

But the last word has to go to Miquela – or at least to the team she writes with every move. When asked how her pictures are edited online, she replied, "Can you name a person on Instagram who isn't editing their photos?"

  • Tanith Carey is the author of What’s My Teenager Thinking? Practical Child Psychology for Modern Parents, edited by DK.

An empty look reveals Miquela

Surname: Lil Miquela, @lilmiquela

Instagram follows: 2.8 million

Possible result per post: £ 6.5k

Brands: Calvin Klein, Samsung, Givenchy, Prada

At first glance, Miquela looks like any Instagram influencer. The feed of these “forever 19-year-olds” is full of the usual shots of them in casual clothes (with the tag Adidas) drinking coffee and taking selfies with her cell phone (with the tag Samsung).

In her comments, she shares her heartbreak with breaking up with a friend, complaining about her allergies and how much she needs a frozen matcha when it's hot, despite never leaving a computer screen.

It's just Miquela's incredibly glassy complexion and vacant stare that gives her away.

Devoted followers will know, however, that she came out as a "change-seeking robot" two years ago.

According to the California-based team writing all of this, Bro, this seems to qualify her as a role model to talk about what it feels like not to fully belong.

At first glance, Miquela looks like any Instagram influencer. The feed of this “forever 19-year-old” is full of the usual shots of her drinking coffee in casual clothes (with the tag Adidas) and taking selfies with her cell phone (with the tag Samsung).

At first glance, Miquela looks like any Instagram influencer. The feed of these "forever 19-year-olds" is full of the usual shots of them drinking coffee in casual clothes (with the tag Adidas) and taking selfies with her cell phone (with the tag Samsung)

In one post she writes: I see family and friends being hurt every day by ignorance. I have to say something! To be an artist and not recognize politics seems irresponsible to me. "

While her life is fake, the money she makes – could make up to £ 8.9 million this year – is real. In a lucrative collaboration with Calvin Klein, she was pictured kissing supermodel Bella Hadid, although this was later criticized as "queer-baiting".

In addition to being featured in Vogue, Miquela has a music career that makes money.

Each month, songs recorded under her name are streamed up to 80,000 times on Spotify.

The wannabe pop princess

Surname: Bermuda, @bermudaisbae

Pendant: 286,000

Possible result per post: £ 1,021

Brands: SoulCycle, Vetements

Blonde model Bermuda is the CGI closest to Paris Hilton. In her biography, she described herself as an "undisturbed mogul with Daddy's PIN and flawless highlights".

Like her best friend Miquela, Bermuda is so photo-realistic it almost looks like flesh and blood.

Both have bodies so realistic that experts believe real models are used to create their poses before overlaying new faces.

Like Miquela, Bermuda has an up and coming pop career after recording a version of the Red Hot Chili Peppers song Under The Bridge.

Blonde model Bermuda is the CGI closest to Paris Hilton. In her biography, she described herself as an "undisturbed mogul with Daddy's PIN and flawless highlights".

Blonde model Bermuda is the CGI closest to Paris Hilton. In her biography, she described herself as an "undisturbed mogul with Daddy's PIN and flawless highlights".

Like her best friend Miquela, Bermuda is so photo-realistic it almost looks like flesh and blood.

Like her best friend Miquela, Bermuda is so photo-realistic it almost looks like flesh and blood.

Her feed consists mostly of her glamorous LA lifestyle that borders on parody at times.

According to Bermuda's Instagram feed, her day starts at 6:15 a.m. with meditation and a smoothie made of green apple, kale, purple milk, and ionized charcoal butter, followed by cycling or Pilates and avocado toast and a turmeric latte.

However, Bermuda could also be seen as an example of how such CGI characters can be used as a mouthpiece for darker news.

As a one-time Trump supporter, she has also denied climate change, saying, "The world is not getting hotter, but I am."

First digital supermodel

Surname: Shudu, @ shudu.gram

Instagram follows: 210,000

Possible result per post: £ 791

Brands: Balmain, Soulsky, Ellesse

Shudu's biography describes her as "the world's first digital supermodel".

However, it has never stepped onto a catwalk because its creator, British photographer Cameron-James Wilson, made it on screen three years ago.

He explained that he was not only inspired by black Barbie dolls, but also some of his favorite models – Naomi Campbell, Iman and Alek Wek.

Shudu has never stepped onto a catwalk because her creator, British photographer Cameron-James Wilson, made her on screen three years ago

Shudu has never stepped onto a catwalk because her creator, British photographer Cameron-James Wilson, made her on screen three years ago

At the moment, Shudu is still more of a clothes horse than a personality, as Wilson says he's still looking for the right backstory for her

At the moment, Shudu is still more of a clothes horse than a personality as Wilson says he's still looking for the right backstory for her

Shudu looks so lifelike that it is often mistaken for a real model. Wilson explains, "Shudu represents what I've always considered beautiful but something I don't see often enough."

Within a year of her introduction, Shudu got her big hiatus when singer Rihanna's makeup brand asked to repost a picture of her using one of her lipstick colors.

At the moment, Shudu is still more of a clothes horse than a personality as Wilson says he's still looking for the right backstory for her.

However, their creation has also sparked controversy when some accused their creator of being a white man who makes money off of images of black women.

Great in Japan, Imma perfect

Surname: Imma, @ imma.gram

Pendant: 324,000

Possible result per post: £ 900

Brands: Porsche, Ikea

Imma's name comes from the Japanese for "now". Her character – described in her biography as a "virtual girl" – is based on her pastel pink bob, her perfect complexion, her fancy dress sense and her love for Japanese culture.

She is depicted in Tokyo and takes care of a real dog named Cotton Candy, who has his own account with 2,000 followers.

Imma's name comes from the Japanese for "now". Her character - described in her biography as a "virtual girl" - is based on her pastel pink bob, her perfect complexion, her fancy dress sense and her love for Japanese culture

Imma's name comes from the Japanese for "now". Her character – described in her biography as a "virtual girl" – is based on her pastel pink bob, her perfect complexion, her fancy dress sense and her love for Japanese culture

She lives in Tokyo and takes care of a real dog named Cotton Candy who has its own account with 2,000 followers

She is depicted in Tokyo and takes care of a real dog named Cotton Candy, who has his own account with 2,000 followers

In fact, it was created by Japanese graphic artists at ModelingCafé Inc, who specialize in computer modeling, aiming to create characters that can be manipulated in real time to respond to audience feedback and sales trends.

Imma's makers have attributed their credibility to the fact that female graphic designers play a huge role in shaping their lives. To add to their attractiveness, their contributions are written in Japanese and English.

Blawko the robot sex symbol

Surname: Blawko, @ blawko22

Pendant: 153,000

Potential earnings per post: £ 598

Brands: Yeezy sneakers, Absolutely Vodka

It appears that Ronald F. Blawko, also known as Blawko, was way ahead of the Covid-19 curve when it was founded two years ago.

It appears that Ronald F. Blawko, also known as Blawko, was way ahead of the Covid-19 curve when it was founded two years ago

It seems that Ronald F. Blawko, also known as Blawko, was way ahead of the Covid-19 curve when it was founded two years ago

Despite his less clean life, industry experts estimate that he could bring his developers around £ 159,000 annually on product placements

Despite his less clean life, industry experts estimate that he could bring his developers around £ 159,000 annually on product placements

Shortly after its introduction in 2017, he started wearing masks to hide his lower face for reasons that were never fully explained.

A self-confessed dude and "sex symbol for young robots" who moves away from the minimalist locales of most influencers, he's also proud of his unhealthy lifestyle and messy LA apartment – and happy to admit he's not real, too. even a tattoo with the name of the company that made him, brother, on his thigh.

Despite his less clean life, industry experts estimate that he could bring his developers around £ 159,000 annually on product placements.

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