People that don’t exist: how the digital model is changing our lives

People that were created with the help of computer technology, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish from the real. They are actively using your profile on Instagram where I share photos and talk about their lives hundreds of thousands of subscribers. The live digital model, told the portal KYKY.

Люди, которых не существует: как цифровые модели меняют нашу жизнь

Photo: Shutterstock

Virtual, or computer-generated characters (cgi) have become one of the most striking trends in the digital and fashion industries. Some characters promote liberal values, others advertise the new collection of fashion brands, others tell a very intimate story. Tell about the most famous American virtuals and their creators.

The American girl who sings, going to shows and falls in love with guys

Michaela Souza, 19 years old, and always will be. She lives in Los Angeles, feeds 1.7 million followers on Instagram with regular posts and likes to eat tacos. Mikaela is not just a model and a singer who publishes a photo from a beauty salon, memes from Twitter and music from Spotify. She holds liberal views: advocates for the rights of transgender people (even wrote a letter to Congress in support of the transgender community), supported the movement “black lives matters” and legal abortion, urges vote in presidential elections that she would, if not for one thing – Michaela does not exist in the real world. She virtual influencer.

In 2016, Lil Michaela started her career blogger. And then they released the first track “Not Mine”, which almost immediately charted Spotify. “Music is my passion, she said in an interview with Vogue. In it I try to stay true to my own experience. But I definitely felt pressure coming from my fans, so I released something.” On the day of release it asked followers “to stop sending her screenshots of playlists with her song.”

Since then she has released four singles: Over You, You Should Be Alone, On My Own Money. And two clips, which, in total, have been viewed over three million times. “My big goal is to start playing live music. I can’t wait to take the stage and perform new songs,” she told V Magazine journalist.

As usual influencer, Michaela shows subscribers all his life. Here she was going to IKEA for furniture to a new apartment, and now doing Laundry in the morning met with peers, which “talked about the music industry, feminism and love for Janet Jackson.” The next day she asks followers to give advice, “what to do when you like the guy, but you don’t know, launch it”, and later raises money for the shelter, which can come homeless young people.

Every post Michaela said brands (Diesel, Vetements, Prada and smaller). Prada once even invited her to my show in Milan. Journalists from Dazed magazine told how it was: she published a series of 3D gifs generated with the new Prada collection, and the stories showed a mini-tour of the exhibition space, controlling the drone with the iPhone.

The following line in her resume was the Coachella festival, where she interviewed artists. A London magazine about digital lifestyle Dazed invited her to become editor of the art

The most influential person there

All this time Michaela was a project marked incognito – nobody knew who was behind her success. But when the name came up of the company Brud, a startup out of Los Angeles, led by Trevor Macphereson in Instagram Michaela began dramatic storytelling. She began to write Bermuda, the robot that wanted to be friends with a star. But blogger rejected it because it is too polar views on life. Bermuda – Republican, vote for trump and despising people as a species – threatened with hacking account-millionth, if you do not receive a response.

And here is a model publishes a post that her Agency Brud lied about its origins. “Now I’m not sure I can identify myself as a coloured woman. The color of my skin – the choices made by the Corporation. My gender option on computer screen. My identity was a choice made by Brud to sell me the brands to be on the hype. I will never forgive them,” she writes, and out of the Agency.

All the way to the existential crisis it supports one of Bluco from the same company, but less popular character (only 145 thousand followers): “I don’t care whether you work in Brud or not. You’re my family and nothing else matter.”But after four months of suffering with a new producer Michaela returned to Brud.

Since then, Time magazine named Mikael one of the 25 most influential people on the Internet. The company Giphy asked her to direct the short film for the festival, “Problems of robots”. She organized a “Club 404” with their own merch and the TV series “HEROES”. Kissed with a real model Bella Hadid for Calvin Klein ad campaign and started Dating a real guy.

Her fellow Bloko and Bermuda also had a romantic “get-together”. The full version can be heard on the Youtube channel Bloco. Their affair ended on 10 joint photo. Specific Baluka humor (he jokes mostly about his sex) finally tired Bermudo and Blayo got sick of her snobbish attitude.

These two are far from millions of Micaela, even if you put their followers together. Even so, Bloco lit up in Italian Vogue, the cover of Esquire Singapore, became a Burberry model and face of Absolut vodka. And more talkative Bermuda beginning to elaborate in an interview about his routine: “I Wake up usually around 6 am, make smoothies, do Pilates. I want to inspire young entrepreneurs to fulfill their dreams. I would also like to encourage more women to pursue careers in robotics, historically marred by sexism”. But her main goal is “to become the most famous robot in the world.”

As the virtuals change people

Some believe that virtual models are the future. First, they are cheaper for brands than a full cycle of working with real models. Once invested in the development of the company will be able to use the character in any time and any way they want. Secondly, from the virtuals, do not expect risks. At the time, just like real models and bloggers have high human factor (from aging and disease to the simple tastiness), virtual easy adjusted to requirements of technical specifications. And the fact that the digital people are not real and can’t catch the fancy of the audience as a living person, only a matter of time.

The second group includes people who see the virtual threat. Most of all disputes caused Sudu. First, discuss that it is implemented in the 3D fantasy of white men. Journalist New Yorker Lauren Jackson writes about racial expropriation: a virtual black woman sweetens the look of white people and gives an opportunity to interact with the real representatives of the race.

The following claim to digital influencers – they show the parameters of unattainable beauty. Only bodypositive began to reach your goals, appear as computer-generated models with smooth skin, long legs, symmetric face and sharp cheekbones. Yes, Cameron Wilson and his Agency the Digitals has created a plus-size model Bren, but if you look at its popularity, you will find that this incomparable low level relative to Sudo or Michaela – just a couple of thousand.

It turns out, very soon, the border between the White retouched Hadid and the new dev will disappear – it is only a matter of technological progress. Before the heroine of games with a fifth the size of the bust have not become role models for Teens, but the arrival of Instagram has made it possible and it is. But the desire to be like an unrealistic character could result in a new wave of transformations in the offices of plastic surgeons. And most likely, so be it.

As previously wrote ForumDaily:

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