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One of the Hottest New Supermodels on Instagram Isn’t a Real Person

When we considered what jobs are most likely to be replaced by robots, we did not include supermodels. Technically, we’re still in the clear — this digital Instagram supermodel is taking Los Angeles by storm and she isn’t a robot, but she’s certainly not a real human, either! Shudu is the creation of photographer Cameron James-Wilson, and she’s been brought to life with computer-generated graphics. But, that hasn’t stopped her or James-Wilson from working with some major beauty and fashion brands, bringing her following to almost 75,000 over the past year.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bf37kZzFZ42/?taken-by=shudu.gram

OK, so maybe 75,000 isn’t quite supermodel territory when it comes to followings. She’s probably on her way to superstardom, though — after modeling a T-shirt from SOULSKY, she got some serious recognition by wearing lipstick from Rihanna’s Fenty brand, followed by earrings from Oscar de la Renta. She and her creator are now getting a lot more attention as a result, along with all the challenges that come along with the spotlight.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BfvLw8wFG97/?taken-by=shudu.gram

Reactions have been divided. Some have celebrated James-Wilson and Shudu for encouraging darker-skinned women to see themselves as beautiful, while others have criticized the project for taking away opportunities from real women trying to break into modeling. James-Wilson, a white man from the United Kingdom, has also been accused of cultural appropriation for capitalizing on the image of a darker-skinned woman.

James-Wilson dove into those questions in an interview with independent journalist Isiuwa Igodan. During the interview, he talks about how Shudu was inspired by a tribe in South Africa, with the name coming from an ongoing conversation he had with a girl from South Africa. He took that inspiration and his own concept of beauty and combined it with what he knew how to do best — digital art. The whole interview is a pretty interesting read!

But, it’s certainly not the first time virtual models have made it into the world of fashion! We can recall a few examples.

Next page: The most fantastic of virtual models

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