Faking It Is The New Making It: AI Lil Miquela Shows How

By Veronica Wong Diffa

The use of CGI models is sure to increase throughout the coming years due to their distinct and life-like appearance - virtual ambassadors for Balmain, Prada and Fenty are only the start of this new technological concept.

Lil Miquela compilation image

From Instagram AI influencer to YouTube Music’s presenter at Coachella – is there anything she can’t do?

Miquela Sousa, a 19-year-old Brazilian-American model, musician and verified Instagram influencer has stepped into the limelight as YouTube Music’s presenter for Coachella, this year. Like any other teen, Sousa known as @lilmiquela, loves fashion and music but most of all, she wants to make a difference to the world. So, what’s so special about her? She is Coachella’s very first CGI presenter.

The growing interest of virtual models brought attention to Brud, an L.A based intelligence and robotics technology start-up - the creators of Miquela Sousa. Not only does she have 1.5 million followers on Instagram but, she also has her own music on Spotify and has worked in partnership with designer labels such as Prada for their Fall/Winter 2018 collection. Watch as she takes on Coachella and interviews some of the amazing artists that attended this weekend, giving us the inside scoop as she streams live on her Instagram feed and posts on her Youtube channel.

Miquela’s debut interview on Youtube Music Coachella, was with Reggaeton artist J Balvin, the first Colombian singer to play a set at the all-time American music festival and has also been nominated in the 2019 Billboard Awards for his song “X” with Nicky Jam. Listen as they talk about their appreciation of Spanish music that has gained popularity within music festivals and the evolution of music genres.

There’s no doubt that Miquela was the perfect match for Youtube Music’s Coachella channel, especially with the release of her most recent single “Right Back” hitting the music industry. From being a CGI virtual influencer on social media to reporting on Coachella for Youtube, there’s no telling where she’ll go next.

With the influx of AI models and virtual influencers joining the creative industry, it seems like we’ve seen it all, from the first virtual supermodel who started this trend, Shudu, to Instagram’s favourite virtual influencer, @lilmiquela. The ever-expanding knowledge of technology and the creation of human-like robotics show the beginning of our high-tech fashion future.

Terry Gates, a model turned photographer and 3D avatar creator, who has worked for Vogue, Glamour and Wonderland, claims that AI models can revolutionise the creative industry financially and artistically - “For example, with beauty brands, you don’t need to hire a whole team; make – up, hair, model, photographer, stylists and a studio. They just need one digital artist.” Editing the image then becomes quicker, “…you have a lot of flexibility in terms of changing the image afterwards… you can modify every aspect of it” rather than construct around a still 2D image from a photoshoot.

The use of CGI models is sure to increase throughout the coming years due to their distinct and life-like appearance and long-term financial benefits for the brand - virtual ambassadors for Balmain, Prada and Fenty are only the start of this new technological concept. Avatar designers hope that their 3D creations will benefit models rather than obliterate them as Gates says, “I hardly see it replacing all these jobs. Think of a modelling agency that are continuously bringing on new talent. They aren’t afraid that these new models will take work away from their existing roster. They are simply offering an alternative. Sometimes it’s cheaper, and it makes sense to work with new models.”

These new discoveries in technology and robotics are only the start. AI models are an interesting concept for the industry and it could advance to being used on the catwalk. We’ve already seen drones down the runway holding D&G handbags for AW18 so, why shouldn’t we see Lil Miquela strutting her stuff too? We can’t wait for what she’ll get up to next!

Miquela hanging out with Latina artist, @rosalia.vt at Coachella Week 1

Moodboard by Samera


Artificial intelligence


CGI models

Lil Miquela

Reggaeton interview

J Balvin interview

Coachella interview

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