The Effect of a Virtual Model and Influencer on Instagram

Miquela, better known by her Instagram handle @lilmiquela, is your stereotypical 19-year-old Instagram model and influencer…except she is computer-generated.  

With over 500,000 followers, Miquela influences change by supporting several prominent causes including Black Lives Matter, which is included in her Instagram bio.

Lil Miquela serves as a singer, model, and social media influencer through her instagram.

According to her Instagram, she’s half-Brazilian, half-Spanish and based out of Los Angeles.  Every aspect of her persona is meticulously planned; however, the actual person running the account is yet to be revealed.

This had led to numerous conspiracy theories about whether or not Miquela is based on a real person.

One Instagram user questions whether or not this person could be the real Lil Miquela.

Youtube personality Shane Dawson created a whole video on conspiracy theories behind Lil Miquela, and conducted the first ever “live interview” with her.

A screenshot of Dawson’s phone interview with Miquela.

And recently, Miquela even started to create her own music, which is available on Spotify.

Lil Miquela additionally has released her original music on Spotify, including the song “You Should Be Alone.”

Miquela is not the only computer-generated model. Shudu Gram is another Instagram model whose first post was only last year. She already has over 37,000 followers.

Shudu Gram’s first Instagram post from April 21, 2017.

This begs the question: will Instagram accounts ditch real models for computer generated ones? Fashonista’s Beauty Editor, Stephanie Saltazman, hopes not.

“Is the CGI Insta-model the new wave of beauty influencing? Personally, I sure as hell hope not….I can’t be the only one who shudders with pangs of the uncanny valley once I stare at these images for a bit too long,” Saltazman said in one her latest articles.

Since the account started, Lil Miquela has always had an air of mystery behind her; and the controversy surrounding virtual models is unlikely to end any time soon. As they begin to adopt a larger social media presence in the United States and beyond, the questions that surround what or who is really behind Miquela and those like her will only grow.

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