Meet Miquela Sousa. She’s a 19-year-old influencer on Instagram with over 500,000 followers. She models and is a musician that also works with big-name brands, such as Chanel, Supreme, and Vans just to name a few. The thing is….she’s not real. Miquela is computer generated.
With the recent rise of Instagram influencers, we are not unfamiliar with this concept. Brands can partner with people with large followings as another form of advertising. From this partnership, brand reach more people or a certain target audience, while the influencer gets free merchandise just to simply post a picture on to Instagram. Brands can partner with influencers in nearly every market. From adventure sports, to fashion and food, there is an influencer in each market.
Miquela brings a new aspect to what an influencer is and can be. While computer generated characters are not new, Miquela’s pictures and online presence feel as though it is coming from a real person. Currently, we do not know who is behind Miquela’s persona, but I do believe that Miquela will not be the only computer-generated celebrity for long.
What does this mean for influencer/follower relationships in the future? Will followers place an equal level of trust in virtual influencers as they do with real people? I honestly don’t know, but I definitely believe that we will see more virtually made characters in the near future.