Meet Lil Miquela, the Virtual Influencer

influencer 101

| LAST UPDATE 06/27/2021

By Danielle Mejia
lil miquela virtual influencer
Instagram via @lilmiquela

If you're not already following her, there's a good chance that you've already scrolled past a post of @lilmiquela on your discovery page and didn't even notice that she's a robot. The virtual influencer has gained a massive following since breaking into the scene, but not all the buzz has been positive.

lil miquela not real
Instagram via @lilmiquela

The page started way back in 2016, when @lilmiquela appeared, almost out of thin air. News quickly spread of her life-like appearance and jaw-dropping details. From freckles on the nose to stray baby hairs, Miquela seemed to have all the makings of a regular millennial/gen z influencer. And her career certainly skyrocketed as if she were real. Theories quickly spread about her origins: From a Sims marketing strategy to a Black Mirror-esque experiment. And while many were openly against this robot-like model growing in popularity, it seemed like nothing could stop her.

By 2019, TechCrunch reported that Brud, the masterminds of @lilmiquela were worth a minimum of $125 million. And many other companies were following suit. And it's true, countless robot baddies have popped up on Instagram in the following years, and have even met with Miquela for collaborations. But her business ventures and connections haven't just stayed in the robot world, Miquela has also made a name for herself with human influencers as well.

From controversial Calvin Klein shoots with Bella Hadid to song collaborations with Teyana Taylor, Miquela has risen to influencer stardom. Yes, that's right: we officially have robot singers. And beyond being photographed with the likes of Saweetie and Marsai Martin, she's also branched out to other mediums. Her Youtube channel has amassed over 250,000 followers and she has been invited to prestigious Paris Fashion Week shows. And in an industry-first, the robot graced Nylon's cover back in September 2020. It seems like whether positive or not, all the hype has added fuel to Miquela's fire.

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lil miquela robot instagram
Instagram via @lilmiquela

So it doesn't look like Miquela's going anywhere anytime soon. And many believe that there's room for her in the influencer industry. After all, with some of our favorite models dropping airbrushed and filtered pics, is a 100% digital influencer that far of a reach?