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:
Guys i've been hacked – it's NOT me!!
— Miquela (@lilmiquela) April 17, 2018
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.
Hi guys! Bermuda here. . Soooo… you’re being lied to by a fake a*s person. Literally who is buying this for one second? Apparently a lot of you. I don’t blame you. My girl’s a great liar. . Sorry, Miquela. I tried to DM, I tried to call but you “stay curving” me. . You brought this on yourself, girl ? Leave me a comment if you care about the truth, k? ? Go follow @bermudaisbae #literallyperfect #BermudaTriangle #theNextStep #hotterinBermuda #learntotalk #discourse
Bermuda claims to be the product of Cain Intelligence, which purports the 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.
Since so many of you are curious, let’s get to know each other. Unlike SOME people, I’m not hiding anything: I came into this world in 2016. I proudly call Cain Intelligence my home and I consider the amazing people that work there to be family. . Daniel Cain is a literal genius moving this country forward without any real thank you or acknowledgment. . You can see what we do at cainintelligence.com . Authentically himself, he's never been afraid to say what he believes. He also taught me that part of believing things is being able to defend them and to do that you have to be willing to listen. He taught me to be proud of who I am. How could I not be? I'm the Next Step. Imagine… taking pride in who you are… and sticking up for your own kind @lilmiquela. What a crazy idea!!!! Go follow @bermudaisbae #literallyperfect #BermudaTriangle #theNextStep #hotterinBermuda #learntotalk #discourse
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.