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|Also known as|
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, United States|
Miquela Sousa, better known as Lil Miquela, is a fictional character created by Trevor McFedries and Sara Decou as a digital art project. Miquela is an Instagram model and music artist claiming to be from Downey, California.
The project began in 2016 as an Instagram profile. By April 2018, the account had amassed more than a million followers by portraying the lifestyle of an Instagram it-girl over social media. The account also details a fictional narrative which presents Miquela as a sentient robot in conflict with other digital projects created by McFedries and Decou.
Miquela’s first Instagram post was made on April 22, 2016. The project garnered both intrigue and criticism for the character's digital appearance with fans and online commenters oscillating between positing that Miquela is an art project or a social experiment carried out by a real unidentified woman. Miquela was rumored to be a marketing gimmick for The Sims. British model Emily Bador was rumored to be Miquela, fans citing the character's abundance of freckles. Bador openly acknowledged the physical similarity.
Miquela has been pictured with a number of celebrities including Diplo, How to Dress Well, killerandasweetthang founder Eileen Kelly, Molly Soda, Nile Rogers, and Samantha Urbani. She has been interviewed and or profiled in a number of publications including Refinery29, Vogue, Buzzfeed, v-files, Nylon, the Guardian, Business of Fashion, The Cut, and BBC.com. As well as by Shane Dawson, YouTube celebrity, in a phone interview. She appeared on the cover of High Snobiety in April 2018. In February 2018, Miquela did an Instagram takeover for Prada as part of Milan Fashion Week.
In April 2018, a trans-media story began to play out on Miquela's Instagram involving @Blawko22, and @BermudaIsBae, two other virtual Instagram accounts who are presented as "sentient robots." The story suggests that two organizations are responsible for the creation of these sentient robots. In the narrative, fictional brand Brud created Miquela and "Blawko22" while competing fictional brand Cain Intelligence created "BermudaIsBae".
On April 17, all of Miquela's Instagram posts were removed. "BermudaIsBae" was purported to have hacked Miquela's account. The two online personas then began posting pictures together as Miquela worked to reclaim the original account. After reclaiming the account, Miquela posted a series of notes saying that she is a robot and claiming sentience.
Miquela has released several singles since her debut with "Not Mine," including "You Should be Alone," "Over You," and a collaboration with Baauer titled "Hate Me." Her musical style is characterized by the use of auto-tune and trap-influenced production. Her music has been released on YouTube and Spotify. Miquela's sound is purportedly based off of the soundtrack to Sam Raimi's 1981 cult classic, Evil Dead.
- "Brud (@brud.fyi) • Instagram photos and videos". www.instagram.com. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
- "Virtual It-Singer Miquela Says 'Controversy Doesn't Mean Anything': Interview". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
- Gorsler, Fabian. "Meet Lil Miquela: Fashion's First Virtual Instagram Influencer". Highsnobiety. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
- Rouse, Isaac (5 February 2018). "Miquela Sousa Is Fashion's First Computer Generated Influencer". HYPEBEAST. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
- McDonald, Samantha (6 February 2018). "This Instagram Influencer Is Not Even Human". FN. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
- "Instagram's Latest 'It' Model Is Confusing The Hell Out Of Everyone". The Huffington Post. 2016-09-02. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
- "Virtual Singer & Internet Star Miquela Shares Debut Single 'Not Mine'". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
- "*~ MIQUELA ~* (@lilmiquela) • Instagram photos and videos". www.instagram.com. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
- shane (2017-09-18), CONSPIRACY THEORIES & INTERVIEW WITH LIL MIQUELA, retrieved 2018-10-24
- "Meet Lil Miquela, the AI Influencer on the Cover of Our New Print Issue". High Snobiety. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
- "Prada Launches Instagram GIFs With Help From a Fictional It Girl". Vogue. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
- "Bermuda on Instagram: "More emotional than I thought it would be. Despite it all, there's only three of us out there and we need to stick together. We talked it…"". Instagram. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
- "Lil Miquela on Instagram: "So I pull up to the trail and there she is. No rattlesnakes. No hiking. Just a robot sitting on the curb in skinny jeans and wedges. She said it's the only way she could get my attention since I haven't answered her texts since we went to the mall a couple weeks back. She just wanted to hang out. So here we are 'hanging out.'"". Instagram. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
- "Lil Miquela on Instagram: "So, Brud programmed my memories, claiming I'm from a place called Downey. It's right in-between Los Angeles and Disneyland. Even though that sounds like a dream to me, I had to come check it out for myself..."". Instagram. Retrieved 2018-08-17.