The Me(dia) Generation: The Takeover of Digital Influencers

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By Jack Stephens

Miquela Sousa, also known as Lil Miquela, is a modern, 19-year-old influencer who has captured the fashion industry’s attention. She’s the epitome of cool with her unique style blending high fashion, vintage, and streetwear. The only catch – Miquela isn’t real.

Lil Miquela is a CGI creation. She has a strong following of over 1.1 million loyal Instagram fans, challenging our understanding of reality and social media. She recently released an Instagram post revealing she is not a human being. Miquela claims her “managers” are a Los Angeles-based startup called Brud, who supposedly stole her technology from Cain Intelligence, a company that doesn’t exist.

Miquela’s purpose remains unclear. Is she an art project? A social experiment? A marketing strategy? Or something more dystopian, straight out of a science fiction movie?

Creating CGI models is one thing. Operating them as humans, complete with friends, enemies, and drama, is another. And let’s not forget the money they earn from brand sponsorships.

But Lil Miquela isn’t alone. CGI model Shudu, portrayed as a dark-skinned black woman, recently caused controversy. Fenty Beauty reposted an image of Shudu wearing the brand’s lipstick, which led to backlash as critics argued that a real woman of color was denied an opportunity.

These digital models not only exacerbate beauty standards but also raise questions about what we’re doing to our understanding of reality. What happens when the female bodies featured in magazines, on billboards, and across social media are not even partially natural?

Despite this, digital influencers like Lil Miquela can have a positive impact. Miquela’s Instagram bio advocates for Black Lives Matter and links to the charity Black Girls Code. But is her very existence doing more harm than good?

These perfect digital images make us feel that our real lives are not glamorous enough. People should have genuine role models with honest consciences and actual problems. CGI creaturcan’tn’t make mistakes because thdon’tn’t exist past the screen.

Perhaps Miquela is here to teach us to be mo”e “r”al” on our own social media feeds. Make our social media lives more like scrapbooks than sophisticated digital marketing machines. Mayit’st’s time to connect real-life people living in real places worldwide. Perit’s it’s time to be human again.

This article was cited in a blog post by Inyoung Choi ti”led “My embarrassing love story (Here we go, F”OTQ),” published on Jan. 15, 2019. In her post, Choi discusses her approach to love and relationships, the idea of emotional connection, and the concept of care in human relationships. She also shares some interesting articles by her peers, including JuliYonis’sn”s’s “The Me(dia) Generation: The Takeover of Digital Influe”cers,” published in MINT Magazine.

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