It’s a little worrying to know that we’ve reached an age where the lives we project online are so contrived and filtered that when a cyborg appears on Instagram, followers aren’t certain if she’s a real – but filtered – woman, or simply computer generated.
This is what’s happened with Instagram’s latest star, Lil Miquela.
After joining the photo-sharing app only three months ago, @lilmiquela has already amassed 58.7k followers – but many of them aren’t entirely certain if she’s a human or just an avatar.
Presented as a picture-perfect but ‘beautifully flawed’ mixed-race early twenty-something with a taste for ‘alternative’ fashion, Miquela can be seen trying on new clothes, playing with Snapchat filters, taking multiple selfies and even hanging out with friends.
While nobody is entirely clear what or who Miquela is, and the star herself has made no comment, Dazed have asserted that:
“Amongst the noisy speculation of what Miquela is, the loudest is understood as her being the digitalised product of a “real girl” designer who simply edits her own appearance into an alien-esque squareness.”
While others have suggested that the Instagram account is an elaborate marketing campaign to promote the new edition of The Sims, rumoured to be launching soon.
Whatever or whoever she is, Miquela draws our attention to how extreme our culture of online superficiality has come – both in terms of the obsessiveness of ‘growing a personal brand’, and in terms of the impossible beauty standards that have come with the digital age.
And the fact that she’s so popular? Well, that says it all.