An advert featuring the human and virtual models is late-capitalist hell, ‘queerbait’ and digisexuality all at onceBella Hadid, a human supermodel, has been accused of “queerbaiting” after making out with Lil Miquela, a computer-generated influencer, in order to sell designer underwear. I know, I know, there’s a lot going on in that sentence. Please take a deep breath: we will unpack this late-capitalist hell together. Miquela Sousa, also known as Lil Miquela, is a fictional character created by a Los Angeles startup called Brud. Miquela has 1.5m followers on Instagram, where she shares pictures of her imaginary life and proclaims her support for LGBT rights and Black Lives Matter. In the past few years, the virtual model has become a veritable celebrity: starring in Ugg ads, interviewing artists at Coachella and collaborating with Prada. In her latest project, a video for Calvin Klein, she kisses a half-naked (and heterosexual) Hadid as a voiceover proclaims some marketing nonsense about dreams and doors.
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