From Lil Miquela to Shudu Gram: meet the virtual models

From Lil Miquela to Shudu Gram: meet the virtual models

From Lil Miquela to Shudu Gram: meet the virtual modelsFrom Lil Miquela to Shudu Gram: meet the virtual models

Lil Miquela

Her USP? She’s a digital influencer
Date of birth: The end of April 2016
Nationality: Spanish, Brazilian and American

With her innocent face, pretty freckles, hazel eyes and a mini-fringe with two buns, Miquela Sousa, better known by the name Lil Miquela, is a 19-year-old model living in Los Angeles. Only she isn’t, she’s is an avatar created entirely via a computer program. With 945k Instagram followers, this digital influencer shares her opinions on transgender rights, feminism and the Black Lives Matter movement. On her social media, Lil Miquela hangs out with real people like Noah Gersh, a musician and ex member of the band Portugal, and Alexandra Skye, a model also living in the City of Angels. She has also appeared with another avatar, Blawko22, who has tattoos and appeared on Instagram in November 2017. Lil Miquela has a varied personality and loves music. With a unique style combining electro, pop and trap, she’s already released four songs: Over You, Not Mine, You Should Be Alone, On My Own, which she posted on her Instagram account. Her single Not Mine even rose to eighth place on the Spotify charts in August 2017. She’s also keen on fashion and loves the street style of Supreme, Vetements and Prada. During the most recent fashion week, Lil Miquela took over Prada’s Instagram account during the Fall/Winter 2018/2019 catwalk and in February, Lil Miquela became the muse of makeup artist Pat McGrath, following in the footsteps of Naomi Campbell, Slick Woods and Hailey Baldwin.

From Lil Miquela to Shudu Gram: meet the virtual modelsFrom Lil Miquela to Shudu Gram: meet the virtual models

Shudu Gram

Her USP? She’s the world’s first digital supermodel
Date of birth: End of April 2017
Nationality: African

With her slender silhouette, faultless skin and breathtaking beauty, Shudu Gram has all the makings of a supermodel. Created by the fashion photographer Cameron-James Wilson in April 2017, she is completely digitally generated. Her creator was inspired by the South African princess Barbie doll, which he chose because of what he sees as a lack of diversity in the modelling world. With her hyper realistic features, it took many months for internet users to realize that she isn’t real and the virtual supermodel has an Instagram account that already has racked up 100k followers, and she hopes to collaborate with budding designers who come from emerging economies and under-represented countries. She also hopes to make some of her favorite labels better-known. Like Lil Miquela, Shudu Gram also has virtual friends, including the private account @nfon.obong. Shudu Gram’s passion is fashion, and it took nine months after launching her Instagram account before her striking beauty began to make people talk. Her sudden fame may be down to Rihanna, who posted a photo of Shudu on her Instagram wearing her new Fenty Beauty lipstick. Could she be the new make-up muse?

From Lil Miquela to Shudu Gram: meet the virtual modelsFrom Lil Miquela to Shudu Gram: meet the virtual models


Her USP? She was used in a Louis Vuitton campaign for Spring/Summer 2016
Date of birth: 2006
Nationality: Japanese

The backstory: Lightning is an iconic character in the Japanese video game Final Fantasy. She’s an ex-army member and the eldest daughter of Serah Farron, a key character from Final Fantasy XIII and the heroine from Final Fantasy XIII-2, where she tries to rescue her captive sister. She fights with a pistolame, a weapon that turns from a sword to a rifle in a matter of seconds.

In 2015, Lightning turned to fashion. Nicolas Ghesquière, artistic director at Louis Vuitton, is an avid gamer but also a lover of manga culture. For his Spring/Summer 2016 collection, the designer decided to take inspiration from video games, and particularly from Lightning’s pink bubblegum hair and angelic face. For Nicolas Ghesquière, “Lightning is the perfect avatar for a global, heroic woman and for a world where social networks and communications are now seamlessly woven into our life. She is also the symbol of new pictorial processes. How can you create an image that goes beyond the classic principles of photography and design? Lightning heralds a new era of expression.” The avatar has also appeared in three videos wearing Louis Vuitton clothing and accessories. Fun fact: the designer introduced his collection during a fashion show where he used a model that looked just like Lightning. This isn’t the first time that the French malletier has collaborated with a virtual character; in 2013, Marc Jacobs designed the stage outfits for Hatsune Miku, a Japanese virtual singer.


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