Top 5 Virtual Influencers Also Known As CGI Influencers On Instagram

The rise of computer generated image (CGI) influencers in the fashion and beauty industries.

Influencers are a dime a dozen, but there’s a growing group of Instagram influencers who aren’t real at all – they’re computer-generated.

According to Vogue, it is not the first time Virtual Reality and fashion have collided. It has been over a decade since Alexander McQueen reintroduced a scandalised Kate Moss back into the fashion industry via a hologram on the catwalk. Riccardo Tisci gave Japanese pixel-made virtual “singer” Hatsune Miku a Givenchy couture makeover in 2016. And Nicolas Ghesquière enlisted Final Fantasy XIII character Lightning for Louis Vuitton’s spring/summer 2016 campaign.

Big brands like Prada, Dior and Fenty Beauty quickly followed this influencer marketing trend, we wouldn’t want to miss out the key players in the CGI influencers game.

Lil Miquela

“Real” name is Miquela Sousa, a 19-years-old Brazilian-American, a model and a musician, based in Los Angeles. Lil Miquela has established her presence since she first posted in April 2016.

This computer-generated influencer is the digital brainchild of an LA-based agency called Brud, which has recently received around $6 million in its latest funding round, led by Silicon Valley investors including Sequoia Capital. She has since collaborated with Prada, Chanel, Supreme, Balenciaga and many other designer brands.

 

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Each time I’m asked in an interview who I look up to, I always answer with @traceeellisross . So after the 27th time giving that answer, I finally got to meet the ICON herself! 😭😭😭 She’s even more beautiful and radiant than I ever imagined. I stopped by during her AMA rehearsals this morning (she’s HOSTING!!), and we chatted for a few. She has so much wisdom, but really caught my attention when she said “More compassion, less judgment.” Ummmm….🤯 I’ve spent the past few weeks (…maybe months), throwing shade at Blawko and Bermuda, all for what? Passive-aggressiveness is NOT 👏🏽 CUTE 👏🏽. If you think that tomorrow I will completely turn my act around, show more compassion and be accepting of Blawko and Bermuda because Tracee said so, then you are 1000% right. Check out (my Fairy Godmother) Tracee host the American Music Awards TOMORROW at 8PM EST (NOT SPONSORED, JUST OBSESSED).

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

In April, Miquela’s Instagram was hacked by another virtual influencer called Bermuda (more on her later), forcing Miquela to make a “revelation” that she wasn’t human. Well, that didn’t slow down her career. She is often pictured with celebrities, designers, artists, other virtual friends, and has appeared in multiple publications like Highsnobiety and Nylon since.

Currently, she has an average engagement rate of 3.82% for image post and average video view of 46.89%, with an audience growth of 0.24% per month.

Noonoouri

 Noonoouri seems to come directly from a manga cartoon. Thanks to her collaborations with KKW, YSL and Vogue, she has gathered a total of 1.99k followers so far. She describes herself as an 18-year-old girl, 1.5 m tall, living in the magical Paris. She also talks about fashion, beauty, lifestyle, art, culture and travel.

Within a very short period of time, Noonoouri becomes the hottest influencer many prestigious brands want to work with. Collaborations from Dior to Versace, Valentino, Riccardo Tisci, Nike and Supreme.

Recently, she was invited to be the exclusive ambassador for the grand opening for China’s No.1 luxury destination, Tmall Luxury Pavilion.

Noonoouri’s followers continue to expand aggressively with an audience growth of 13.09% per month as she constantly working with various big brands. In return, she offers above-average image engagement rate of 5.33% and 34.09% video views for the brand awareness campaigns.

Shudu Gram

 Shudu Gram is the world’s first digital super model, and probably the most realistic CGI model as well. One glance at her pics is enough to make you question whether she really is real—she has pores! errant eyebrow hairs! tiny little wrinkles!

In February, Fenty Beauty reposted this South African model, in her mid- to late-20s, wearing a bright orange matte lipsticks.

 

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🍊🍊🍊 . . 📸@cjw.photo . #fenty #fentybeauty #mattemoiselle #sawc #3dart

A post shared by Shudu (@shudu.gram) on

This stunning picture got a repost from Rihanna’s wildly successful makeup brand, because why not? 

Shudu is the creation of visual artist Cameron-James Wilson. However, the project has courted a fair amount of controversy – largely because Wilson is white. In collaboration with Balmain, two new CG members were introduced to front runways and campaigns. The Balmain Virtual Army includes Shudu, Margot and Zhi.

With 152k followers and a steady audience growth of 0.63% per month, each of her post is able to garner 8.82% image engagement and 21.53% video views on average. Could the “It” girls of tomorrow be Shudu?

Ronald Blawko

Ronald Blawko – has also been created by Brud. Much like Miquela, he looks exactly like any other influencer – complete with designer clothes and face tattoos.

He often hangs out with Miquela and both can be seen advertising for Supreme as well. The relationship between Blawko and Miquela remains unclear although Miquela mentioned friend-zoning him in one of her posts. What I do know is that Bermuda hates him now.

Blawko doesn’t offer as impressive performance as his bestie, an average 5.73% for image engagement and 0.84% audience growth per month. Like most influencers, his video posts receive much higher views, 37.01%. Perhaps followers are more interested in seeing this CGI in action?

Bermuda

I have been talking about Bermuda earlier in this article, so who is she? She isn’t quite as popular as Miquela although they hang out together very frequently, pretty much like a pair of besties.

What you don’t know is back in April, she got into a drama with Miquela – apparently over the fact that Bermuda owns that she’s a “robot”, whilst Miquela continued to “pretend” she was a real person. Around the same time, Miquela’s profile was hacked and her pictures were replaced with selfies of Bermuda. The two have made up after the unsurprising (at least to most followers) “revelation”.

 

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Sugar and Spice ✨✨✨ #talkitout

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 She is also the ex-girlfriend of Ronald Blawko. The couple broke up in Oct which explains why Bermuda is no longer cool with Blawko. Strangely, she is totally cool with Miquela hanging out with her ex-lover. The Trump supporter is rising faster than both of her friends, with 5.11% audience growth per month. It also seems like she is good at capturing the attention of her followers, an average engagement rate of 12.05% per post.

Trend or Threat?

While the demand from brands is certainly there, real human influencers who spent months or years building their reputations see these CGI influencers as a major threat or competition in getting sponsorships. With many questioning the reliability of opinions from an influencer who doesn’t even exist.

Last year, The Federal Trade Commission updated its endorsement guides to require influencers to disclose their marketing relationships and identify paid posts with a hashtag like #ad or #sponsored—but it’s not clear how those rules would apply to influencers who don’t exist. While the posts are entertaining, many are wondering what it means for the future of influencer marketing. Will these avatars permeate the Instagram scene, or are they just a fad? There isn’t enough data at this time to know either way.

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