Virtual Avatars Take Over Instagram Posing As Regular Influencers

This is Miquela Sousa. She's 19 years old, lives in Los Angeles and is an aspiring musician whose debut single – "Not Mine" – was number eight on Spotify Viral list back in August 2017. 

On Instagram, she shares her favorite outfits that include brands like Supreme, Chanel, Prada, Vetements and other. She's an outspoken Black Lives Matter and trans rights activist and also hangs out with influential artists like Portugal. The Man's former guitarist, Noah Gersh.

She is, however, not real.

A post shared by *~ MIQUELA ~* (@lilmiquela) on

Miquela is a computer-generated virtual avatar who has no physical form. Despite the fact that she is just a meticulously composed line of code, the nature of her social presence makes Miquela look like yet another Instagram influencer not that much different from her flesh and blood counterparts.

It's unclear who created and operates Miquela, but their success becomes clear just by looking at her following – the virtual bot has amassed more than 530,000 followers and has already been approached by brands and magazines about partnerships. Miquela recently gave an interview to Business of Fashion, in which she stated:

"I'd like to be described as an artist or a singer or something that denotes my craft rather than focus on the superficial qualities of who I am."

Miquela isn't by far the first virtual avatar to gain fame – most of us are familiar with Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett's virtual characters for the Gorillaz band, and the fashion world has tried and tested similar concepts before.

Nevertheless, it is justifiably interesting to observe the budding trend of these realistic humanoids taking over our social media platforms and continuing to blur the line between physical and digital worlds.

A post shared by *~ MIQUELA ~* (@lilmiquela) on

A post shared by *~ MIQUELA ~* (@lilmiquela) on

A post shared by *~ MIQUELA ~* (@lilmiquela) on

A post shared by *~ MIQUELA ~* (@lilmiquela) on

A post shared by *~ MIQUELA ~* (@lilmiquela) on