Miquela Sousa, AKA @lilmiquela, has a following of 1 million to date. She’s a Brazilian-American musician and model. At first glance, your typical 19 year old Insta influencer, Miquela sports brands like Chanel, collabs with Prada, is constantly rocking Vans and her signature double knots.
Such an honor to pay homage to the queen @lilkimthequeenbee and @david_lachapelle for @papermagazine #breaktheinternet !!! And now that we've broken the internet break out your wallets and donate to @myfriendsplace by clicking the link in my bio! Gonna match all the $$ you guys donate to this amazing organization. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
But upon closer inspection you’ll find it’s all fake.
And we don’t mean fake as in staged, we mean that Miquela actually doesn’t exist IRL. Her presence online is just that, only online. Miquela is a digital avatar that has been given human traits; and she insists she is real. She’s not a bot, and uses her platform to share her music (which you can download on Spotify), opinions on social issues like Black Lives Matter and LGBTQI+ rights plus her amazing fashion sense with #OOTD posts.
Beef with Bermuda
She also has REAL drama. Miquela is making headlines for all the wrong reasons following a hack from another virtual Insta influencer- yes, there’s two now!- who is threatening to ‘expose the truth’ about her.
Of COURSE Miquela deletes my posts the second I give her the account back. Even after all that she’s still running from the truth. 47 hours left @lilmiquela. Soon there will be no lies and everything will be revealed. Here’s a recap of today’s work. I’ll always be honest with you guys + make sure you have the info you need 😘 #teamBermuda #BermudaHive #hotterinBermuda #Bermudatriangle #theNextStep #discourse #learntotalk
What ‘the truth’ is, we aren’t sure yet. But Bermuda- AKA @bermudaisbae– is the blonde, Trump-loving, anti-feminist, seemingly opposite of Miquela, and has a following of 58k of her own.
Was the feud staged? Possibly. But the pair have since made up.
We think it’s genius either way. As to who’s behind it, it’s safe to assume there are real people creating them (High Snobiety suspects a man and a woman, but the amount of people involved, and who they are is still unknown). Virtual celebrities are nothing new, with the Business of Fashion giving examples like virtual band members of the Gorillaz, and 16 year old Japanese virtual star Hatsune Miku. It seems inevitable that virtual avatars would eventually take over our feeds too.
Feeling unsure about the whole idea? You’re probably not alone.The concept is one we’re going to have to begin mulling over but whether you choose to literally buy into them for now, by endorsing their brands, is up to you.
Words: Zoya Pon
Feature image: Instagram