One of the latest influencers taking the fashion world by storm is Miquela Sousa—better known as Lil Miquela. She claims she’s 19, half-Brazilian, and half-Spanish, and lives in Los Angeles. Her Instagram photos feature her clad in numerous stylish outfits, or close-up portrait shots that show her on-trend hairstyles and freckled face.
On Spotify, her songs have charted on the platform’s Viral Top 50 list. Currently, she has almost a million Instagram followers, and landed a campaign with Prada last season for an Instagram takeover and the debut of Prada-themed GIFs.
Here’s the thing: Miquela is not a human being. She’s a virtual construct that exists primarily on Instagram, and has been touted as the world’s first “virtual influencer,” with an active following that is engaged in her content as much as they are in heated debates as to whether or not she is “real.” It’s placed Miquela in an uncanny valley between internet culture and real life.
Earlier today, her main platform has been hacked. Miquela confirmed the hack on her Twitter account:
Her publicists confirmed the hack but offered no further statements, although they believe the hack may be linked to alt-right trolls. Currently, Miquela’s Instagram page features two images of another purported virtual influencer, Bermuda, who has her own Instagram @bermudaisbae.
Whereas Miquela often used her platform to not just promote her music and post fit pics of her digitally-altered self in real-life environments (sometimes with “real” influencers and celebrities), she also let her political affiliations show, often supporting movements like Black Lives Matter.
Bermuda, on the other hand, has a page that contains similarly digitized self-portraits juxtaposed with right-leaning memes, showing support for figures like Donald Trump and Tomi Lahren, while denouncing groups like Antifa.
Bermuda claims to be the product of Cain Intelligence, which purports to be “the industry leader in Conscious Language Intelligence (CLI) a type of Artificial Intelligence that allows for humans to engage with our specialized robots in free-format, natural language.”
In the hacked posts, Bermuda calls out Miquela for being a fake person, as well as Miquela’s fans who believed she was real. Bermuda reinforces her claim of being a two-year old AI, and taunts Miquela for allegedly not sticking up for her digital counterparts.
It’s truly an interesting exchange in the influencer singularity, and a super-cerebral head-scratcher for the majority of people who are just learning who Miquela is. But perhaps a hack like this will only continue to prove the validity of her existence.
As her fans decry Miquela’s digital demise in the comments of Bermuda’s posts, it’s clear that while Miquela may not be “real” in the traditional sense, the connection her fanbase has to her goes a bit deeper than a superficial Instagram like.
Stay tuned for further developments in the Lil Miquela’s Instagram hack.