Do you ever sit on your bed for hours on end scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook feed wishing for the life of your favourite influencer?
They have the lifestyle and appearance that makes you scream at your own dull life – in short, they represent the perfect storm of great genetics, fillers, fashion, friends and filters.
Truth is, they may not be real at all. A generation of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) influencers are making their way into the digital world, and you may even be following one and you don’t even know it.
Here are 3 CGI influencers to look out for:
Michaela Sousa, @lilmiquela
The most notable of CGI influencers, 19-year-old suntanned beauty Michaela Sousa’s Instagram feed is a stream of designer ‘outfit of the day’, and wittily captioned lifestyle pictures.
With an enviable designer wardrobe, 1.1 million-strong Instagram following and features in a boast of fashion publications, the LA-based Brazilian/Spanish model and musician appears to be living every insta influencers dream. Only in reality, she’s not technically living at all.
It doesn’t get more 2018 than this. ‘Lil Miquela’ as she is known online is fashion’s first computer-generated influencer. She’s in with top-tier fashion industry folk like Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert and Margaret Zhang, has become the muse of beauty tycoon Pat McGrath and debuted the Italian House’s GIF sticker pack, and … she’s completely computer generated!
After being hacked by another CGI influencer @bermudaisbae, Lil Miquela was forced to disclose to her followers that she was in fact computer generated linked to Brud, a LA based company that specializes inartificial intelligence, robotics, and their applications to media. But the entire saga remains an apparent mystery with Miquela announcing that she was “no longer working with” ‘her’ managers at Brud.
Shudu, the CGI “supermodel” created by fashion photographer Cameron-James Wilson,is best known for modelling Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line. ‘Her’ account shot to fame when Fenty Beauty reposted a “photo” of Shudu “wearing” the brand’s lipstick. Wilson says since then, he’s received offers from plenty of brands in the fashion and tech worlds all eager to work with the CGI model.
An influencer who appears more CGI-esque than life-like, Bermuda is a pro Donald Trump lifestyle influencer who boasts a following of 73.6 thousand on Instagram. ‘She’ shot to fame after hacking Lil Miquela’s Instagram account resulting in the disclosure of Miquela’s identity a CGI influencer.
With the rise of digital influencers, questions are being raised around issues of trust and ethics and point to a wider problem of accountability on the internet. It’s becoming increasingly impossible to tell the difference between automated and human identities online, and maybe we’re heading in to a time where we will no longer be able to distinguish whether we are following and aspiring to be like a machine or a real person.
So, is this the future? Do you fake it ‘till you make it? One way or another, things just got real.