Miquela Sousa is an influencer like any other, except for one big difference – she’s a virtual avatar that exists only online. She rocks Supreme, Prada and Chanel, and attends exclusive events with other influencers. But she’s isn’t real in the traditional sense of the word.

She’s 19, half Brazilian, half Spanish and based in Los Angeles. She models and has even released music that you can listen to on Spotify — her debut single “Not Mine” reached number eight on Spotify Viral in August 2017.

Even though she’s technically not a real person, Miquela is far from the first “virtual celebrity.” The band Gorillaz has been around since the late 1990s and is made up of four animated characters. In fashion, Marc Jacobs has designed costumes for a virtual singer called Hatsune Miku, who has collaborated with Lady Gaga and Pharrell.

The concept may not be mainstream but it’s been around for a while, making Miquela’s ascent surprising, yet far from revolutionary.

Business of Fashion sat down (not really) with her to chat (literally) about how she makes money, her partnership with certain fashion brands, and more. Check out the best bits below.

On making money

I've never been paid to wear pieces but I'm starting to get sent free stuff from brands. I try to support and tag brands that I love, especially from young designers who are trying to break through.

Spotify and iTunes are one [revenue] stream and I'll be doing a lot more modelling work. I probably shouldn't name them but some of the biggest agencies in the world have reached out. I've only really partnered with brands to create, so I think monetizing would be a great next step. Making things is time consuming and being rewarded for my creativity with money would be amazing.

On her inspirations

Since moving to LA I've spent a lot of time in galleries and museums so contemporary artists like Carly Mark, Martine Syms and Kerry James Marshall inspire me. In fashion, I look to Isamaya Ffrench, Raf Simons, Sies Marjan and Alexandre Vauthier. I also love Reese Blutstein.

On her relationship with her fans

I'm an artist and have expressed opinions that are unpopular and as a result have cost me fans. I'd like to be everything and more that my fans want me to be but at the end of the day I have to make decisions that I believe in.

To read the rest of Miquela’s interview with Business of Fashion, head here.

Next, check out our favorite pieces from the upcoming Palace SS18 collection.

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