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Lil Miquela has everything it takes to be the next big influencer. She is a model and singer with almost a million Instagram followers, who spends her time attending stylish LA events and campaigning for some of Gen Z’s favourite causes. However, there’s one small thing that distinguishes her from her peers: she’s not actually human.
Lil Miquela is a computer generated character, one of a new breed of virtual influencers, whose Instagram account first appeared in 2016. Since then she has achieved many of the dreams of any aspiring influencer. She is a muse for legendary make-up artist Pat McGrath, has won endorsement deals with high end brands like Prada, and recently appeared on the cover of the New York Times Magazine.
While other virtual influencers are clearly defined as art projects or social experiments, Lil Miquela never acknowledges that she is any less real than the typical Insta fashionista. The account's creator is unknown, though it's rumoured she may be based on a suspiciously similar-looking girl named Emily Bador. Lil Miquela can be seen as a comment on today’s culture of creating a digital persona, and brings up questions around the authenticity of how we present ourselves on social media. If influencers are already carefully curating their image online, is a virtual influencer simply the next logical step?
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