This is SO 2018 – the rise of the unreal (literally) CGI supermodel
Watch out Gigi and Kendall, there’s a new supermodel in town… and she isn’t real. Shudu is a 3D character created by photographer and self-taught 3D whizz, Cameron-James Wilson. Cameron’s inspiration for Shudu stems from The Princess of South Africa Barbie doll and other influential models like Duckie Thot and Alek Wek. Despite not being real, Shudu has amassed over 139k followers on Instagram (@shudu.gram) and as fascination surrounding her grows, so does her popularity. She’s “worked” with Beyonce’s makeup artist, Sir John and has been featured on Fenty Beauty and Vogue.
Shudu’s creator, Cameron has received some backlash in regards to Shudu, with people claiming that a white man fetishizing a black woman and creating an “ideal” representation of what a black model should be is unnecessary when real black models could be given work. Cameron disagrees; saying that his creation of Shudu is to bring representation to the 3D world which lacks diversity. Speaking to Highsnobiety, he said, “just the same as in many industries, the 3D world is sorely lacking ethnic diversity and black characters and assets are particularly rare,” he says. “There’s a push to shift this, and with the advancement of tech and 3D industries, we can expect a change. But it’s one thing that Shudu is contributing to in her own way. It wasn’t something intentional from the start, but now I’m very interested in helping to create the resources needed for game developers and 3D designers to make more diverse characters.”
When speaking on the topic of CGI influencers, you can’t forget about Lil Miquela. She’s made a name for herself over on social media (she has 1.4 million followers on Instagram as @lilmiquela) with her impeccable fashion sense, advocacy for LGBTQ and Black Lives Matter rights and her likeable personality. Puppeteered by LA-based artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics company, Brud, the freckled influencer (whose full name is Miquela Sousa) admitted she wasn’t human after she was hacked by pro-Trump (and nemesis) digital influencer, Bermuda who claims that they were both created two years ago by AI company, Cain Intelligence. Miquela has worked with brands like Giphy and Prada and continues to take the online world by storm. Not bad for a digital being, right?
There are a couple more well-known digital influencers: Blawko (@blawko22), who is Miquela’s “brother” and Bermuda (@bermudaisbae) who is the controversial pro-Trump influencer mentioned earlier.
If you think that these artificially-created influencers and models will take over from the IRL human influencers that you love – don’t worry. The time and precision needed for an entire collection of CGI models and influencers would take forever so these guys won’t be taking over the world any time soon!