Enter: @lilmiquela. She’s young, she’s beautiful, she has millions of followers on social media. And she’s a robot. A fact which, as of April 2018, was revealed to the world, and apparently to Miquela herself. This truth played out on the internet in a trans-media narrative involving a rival It girl and fellow AI @BermudaIsBae, who took it upon herself to “hack” into Miquela’s Instagram and expose her as not a fake identity but as a robot originally created for more base purposes.
With fans flooding the comments with messages of support, Miquela went from simply a flawlessly computer generated girl online to a person who had suffered betrayal and personal tragedy. In other words, a figure that everyone could relate to. In the course of her rise to fame, Miquela has been interviewed by Vogue and Refinery29 and has been featured in campaigns with brands such as Tesla, Vans and Balmain.
She’s released a single on Spotify, is vocal in her support for transgender rights and the Black Lives Matter movement, and most recently she got a tattoo from famed Hollywood artist Dr Woo. And yet as much as she is the ultimate liberal girl-of-colour, she is also plagued by identity crisis. Littering her social media feed are thinly veiled cries for help, leading us to the question: is this what humanity is? As Daisy Jones puts it, “Lil Miquela is essentially an embodiment of what we all engage in — highly stylized content masquerading as a documentation of reality”. And it’s a wild ride.