August 20, 2018

CGI SUPERSTAR

Words: Srishti Hemmady
Images: Lil Miquela’s instagram

‘She is modeled to resemble a human so it makes sense that they let her be part of a narrative’

LOOK AT HER FACE. NO, I MEAN REALLY LOOK AT IT. WHO IS SHE? IS SHE EVEN REAL? HERE'S ALL WE KNOW ABOUT THIS INSTAGRAM MODEL WHO GOES BY THE NAME OF LIL MIQUELA

We are not talking about a new Kardashian secret sister surfacing out of nowhere with her sculpted body and her fast-track mind heading towards becoming a billionaire. This influencer is a little different. This one is to watch out for. To begin with, I observed this face for quite a while. So did her staggering 1.3 million followers on Instagram. Brunette hair with bangs that are trimmed to perfection. Brown eyes glistening like never seen before. Skin speckled with freckles and a set of plump lips to seal the deal. Is she an archetype of perfection? Is she even real? To answer your question, I am not sure. But here is what we know. Introducing Miquela Sousa, a 19-year-old social media influencer, musician, model, and social activist.

She resides in Downey, LA as of now and has collaborated with the who’s who in the music and the fashion industry. As I scroll through her feed, being a self-confessed Instagram addict, I am in complete awe. I realize that I have spent nearly ten minutes staring outright at each of her pictures. Labelling herself as ‘Lil Miquela’, you can’t help but question her existence. Is she for real? Her body flexes and moves just like ours, eerily resembling us mortal beings. The creases on her clothing draped around her airbrushed CGI body looks totally real but at the same time, there is something totally off about it. Recently, when her account was hacked, it made her spill the beans for real this time.

Her frenemy Bermuda made her do so. But Lil Miquela has always had Blawko by her side. A friend whom she conveniently friend-zoned on one of her Instagram posts. But hold up, who are all these people and who is Lil Miquela? Let’s get it out there. She is a robot. Definitely not a human being. She is virtually enhanced and heavily edited that gives her the sought after hyperrealistic look. Her friend Blawko is another cyborg just like her. Bermuda? Her too. Lil Miquela is a creation of Trevor McFedries and Sara Decou of ‘Brud’, an AI company that specializes in creating high-technology robots and CGI models. The question remains: How is Lil Miquela feeling things? The logic is actually quite simple. She is modelled to resemble a human so it makes sense that they let her be part of a narrative: ‘A millennial who goes through a thousand feelings. The same millennial who then pours her heart out on social media’.

One of her Instagram posts reads out a caption that really caught my eye. It says “Let me guess...Robots can’t eat ice cream. I don’t need that negativity in my life right now”. Her captions are pure genius. They are ‘engineered’ to relate to you. We still do not know the mastermind behind these captions but they sure are doing one heck of a job. The speculations are rife when it comes to Lil Miquela’s choice of killer poses, locations and the people with whom she chooses to hang out and associate herself with. I am kind of on board with their idea of having someone who acts as a possible filler to facilitate a semi-realistic depiction of Sousa’s silhouette. Let’s assume this scenario - there’s someone who is scouring for interesting places is getting invited to the best of parties and fashion shows and has been donning Prada, Balenciaga, Supreme, DIESEL and many other high-street fashion brands. Then, the photos are heavily edited, with modified limbs, hands and the digitally altered face of Lil Miquela replaces the dummy quite conveniently.

I have come to the conclusion that although Lil Miquela is shrouded in controversy, she is actually one of the kindest influencers out there. She makes sure she responds to as many comments as possible from fans who call themselves ‘Miquelities’. Miquela has wholly supported important social causes like Planned Parenthood, DACA, Justice for Youth, and Black Lives Matter. Her philanthropy eases the conversation of seeing her as a threat to humans because of her ageless virtual avatar and alongside her is another growing clan of hyper-realistic digital forms. Lil Miquela is not your average online avatar. She also has a singing career which consists of tracks that have ghostly tunes with Miquela’s auto-tuned voice flowing right through it. I now sign off in order to listen to Miquela’s new eerie track, ‘You should be alone’ on Youtube.

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