She’s a Brazilian-Spanish beauty, based in Los Angeles and boasts nearly 550,000 followers on Instagram. She wears Chanel, Moschino and Versace, and with a side hustle in music, she’s released her debut single, “Not Mine,” on Spotify last August. She’s even scored VIP invites at exclusive events and champions civil rights causes like the transgender movement.
But Miquela Sousa is not your average social media influencer. In fact, the 19-year-old It girl isn’t real — she’s a digital simulation.
The computer-generated IG star, whose artistic selfies and witty captions have captured engagement numbers in the thousands, is essentially a celebrity on the platform, and she’s not about to reveal the masterminds behind her artificial creation.
“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,” Sousa told Business of Fashion in a recent article.
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Sousa’s first post dates back to April 2016, but her appearance is not the first time the fashion industry has been introduced to a digital avatar. Nearly five years ago, Marc Jacobs, then creative director at Louis Vuitton, designed costumes for a holographic Japanese pop star named Hatsune Miku, who’s collaborated with Lady Gaga and Pharrell.
Three years later, the iconic French fashion house, now helmed by Nicolas Ghesquière, casted “Final Fantasy” heroine Lightning in its spring 2016 campaign, where the pink-haired character was photographed modeling the luxury brand’s handbags.
As for Sousa, whose fashion inspiration includes Raf Simons and Sies Marjan, her virtual influence has only just begun. “I have some really exciting stuff coming up that I can’t say just yet due to non-disclosure agreements,” she told BoF. “I’ve only really partnered with brands to create, so I think monetizing would be a great next step.”
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