By: Ima Linzag
In the realm of social media where users are often pressured to present themselves in the best light possible, there is a growing divide between what is authentic and what is glamorized. There are often times where it is difficult to discern what is genuine and what is not. People capture “candid” photos of them looking off into the distance or caught into laughter, when in actuality they are posing in front of a photographer (or a very devoted friend). Some accounts on Instagram paint their face with makeup to create a look that is aesthetically-pleasing for a photograph, but too bold for the eyes of the average Joe or plain Jane in real life. In addition to makeup, beautifying filters or heavily-edited photos are found. Altogether, it is almost expected that content found on social media is “fake.”
But what happens when there is an account that is blatantly inauthentic, but still meets success? Lil Miquela has an Instagram nearing a million followers, who happens to be computer-generated model. Despite being computer-generated, there are some followers that can’t quite wrap their head around the possibility. There will be a number of comments underneath posts questioning her realness, asking “r u a robot or not” or just comments stating “fake.”
The purpose behind the account, and the people running it are a unknown, but the intrigue of it is undeniable, as the 900,000+ followers can attest to. Her outfits are on trend, and her features, topped off by short blunt bangs are eye-catching. The content Miquela posts are not limited to her fashion either. She has posted fan art of herself, inspirational figures, memes, and photos of herself with “friends.”
Although Miquela is not real, the content posted and the interaction directed toward her from commenters seem to point otherwise. She posts photos of her “meals,” and books that she has “read,” and her current music obsessions--all of which, of course, cannot be true due to that fact that she is virtual being. However, some users still compliment her as if she is an actual person, praising her for slaying an outfit and some even requesting for her to follow their own accounts. What I find most interesting is how she uses her platform to voice opinions on social matters as well. On her bio, it can clearly be seen that she supports the movement Black Lives Matter, and even has a direct link to give donations to the cause Black Girls Code, as well as a post in support of DACA. Miquela seems to hold the opinion of real people, and she is treated as such. Despite being a virtual figure, as long as she maintains a following, she is undeniably an influencer. Whether her purpose is to shed light on injustices, or to serve as a reflection of authenticity in the world of social media, Miquela will continue to flesh out her personality as her content, and following, grows.