Virtual influencers – digital characters that have a ‘personality‘ and behave like humans – are here to stay. These digital creators come in all forms and sizes – ranging from dolls to animated characters, animalized forms, and realistic looking models. Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) technology has improved so much that it’s becoming harder to differentiate between robot characters and humans on social media.
This article brings you up to speed on some of the most impactful virtual models and influencers in 2022.
#1. Lu of Magalu – Brazil
Lu of Magalu is one of the most famous virtual influencers in the world (and also one of the oldest – having been created in 2003). She was created as a digital salesperson for Magazine Luiza’s e-Commerce website.
Social media debut: First appeared on YouTube in 2009
Personality: Lu has style, a powerful opinion, and empathy for important causes.
Commercial activities: Started hosting tutorials for the Brazilian tech retailer and is not the company’s spokesperson. Also showcases the company’s latest products and tech gadgets.
Fanbase: Helped the company build a fanbase of 32+ million across social media and has a massive following of over 7 million on TikTok alone, 6.1 million on Instagram, and over 14.6 million on Facebook.
#2. Casas Bahia (CB) – Brazil
Casas Bahia is a Brazilian virtual influencer that started out as a 2D virtual child before being redesigned into a teenager. CB was created (and is owned) by Casas Bahia, one of the country’s biggest retail brands that specializes in furniture and home appliances.
Social media debut: 2017
Personality: Passionate about games, pop culture, and sustainability. Creates content on product promos, movies, games, memes, and questionnaires for fans.
Commercial activities: Spokesperson for Casas Bahia (the company that created him).
Fanbase: Over 5.3 million followers on Facebook, more than 3.4 million on Instagram, and over 1.7 million on TikTok.
Events/Awards: attended the 2022 MVFW event held in India in March 2022.
#3. Li Miquela – United States
Li Miquela is one of the most famous virtual influencers today. She’s forever 19 year old and has two virtual influencer friends (Bermuda, and a boy known as Blawko). This fictional American character was created by Trevor McFedries and Sara Decou in 2016. One thing that stands out about Li Miquela is that she’s so realistic-looking she could be mistaken for a living, breathing person. This virtual creator was created by Los Angeles-based start-up Brud.
Social media debut: 2016
Personality: Loves to hang out with real life musicians in trendy restaurants in Los Angeles and New York.
Commercial activities: Earns around $8,000 per sponsored post. Has endorsed luxury brands such as Calvin Klien, Prada, and more.
Fanbase: Over 2.9 million followers on Instagram and more than 3.6 million on TikTok.
Awards: Named by TIME magazine among the 25 most influential people on the internet in 2018
#4. Imma – Japan
Imma is the first virtual influencer and model from Japan. She looks so realistic that it might be hard to tell whether she’s human or robot. Imma was created by ModelingCafe Inc. – a Tokyo-based company that specializes in computer generated modeling.
Social media debut: July 12, 2018.
Personality: Imma often questions her own existence via the hashtag #thinkimCGI. She’s beautiful, fashionable, and very popular in Japan. Imma is interested in film, art, and Japanese culture. She was selected in the ‘New 100 Talent to Watch’ by Japan Economics Entertainment.
Commercial activities: Imma has appeared in countless headlines and worked with big brands such as Amazon, Calvin Klein, Valentino, Puma, Porsche Japan, Dir, and Nike.
Fanbase: More than 407k followers on Instagram
#5. Thalasya – Indonesia
Thalasya is a virtual influencer from Jakarta in Indonesia. She’s widely regarded as the first Indonesian meta human and digital creator. Thalasya was developed by Manavem Studio and loves to travel around the world.
Social media debut: October 21, 2018.
Personality: Thalasya is into traveling and loves to explore the world.
Commercial activities: She’s endorsed numerous hotels, restaurants, and health pills. She also owns a clothing store called Zeline along with a friend of hers known as Yipiiiii.
Fanbase: More than 469k followers on Instagram
#6. Shudu – UK
Shudu Gram is easily identified as the world’s first digital supermodel. She is a black queen in her mid-to-late 20s who’s originally from South Africa. Shudu resembles a human supermodel and was designed by British fashion photographer Cameron-James Wilson. She became famous when Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty poster her photo (on Instagram) thinking that she was a real person.
Country: The UK (but originally from South Africa)
Social media debut: April 22, 2017
Personality: Goes as one of the most beautiful models on Instagram. Her profile is rife with photos of superior fashion and are shot at mystical locations.
Commercial activities: She has worked with Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Smart Car, Balmain, and more.
Fanbase: More than 238k followers on Instagram
#7. Qai Qai – United States
Qai Qai is the baby doll of Alexis Olympia Ohanian (daughter of Serena Williams and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian). Funny and sassy, Qai Qai instantly turned out to be a viral virtual personality.
Social media debut: August 22, 2018
Personality: Qai Qai is super funny and is into dancing, lip syncing, answering questions, and other simple forms of entertaining her audience.
Commercial activities: Serena Williams has written a children’s book ‘The Adventures of Qai Qai’ featuring this virtual character.
Fanbase: More than 4.2 million followers on TikTok and over 338k on Instagram.
#8. Bermuda – United States
Bermuda is a virtual creator (and Kim Kardashian lookalike) from Los Angeles, CA. She is known as the virtual influencer with scandals and a music career. Bermuda is known for stirring the digital world on social media. For one, she’s very politically active and was a Trump supporter.
Social media debut: December 15, 2016.
Personality: Bermuda has a very scandalous personality. She’s declared that she wants to help young people achieve their entrepreneurial dreams in tech and beauty. Bermuda also encourages more women to pursue careers in robotics.
Commercial activities: Bermuda has invested in Sequoia Capital, BoxGroup, M Ventures, Founders Fund, Spark Capital, and WME.
Fanbase: More than 260k followers on Instagram
#9. Kyra- India
Kyra is India’s first virtual influencer that was created by TopSocial India. She was initially created in December 2021 and has managed to gather a substantial audience. Most of her followers are individuals between the age of 18 and 26 years.
Social media debut: January 2022
Personality: Loves traveling and modeling. Most of her photoshoots feature famous monuments and beaches in India. Kyra also features in photos enjoying delicious meals or practicing yoga by the poolside.
Commercial activities: Brand promotions
Fanbase: More than 201K followers on Instagram
#10. Rae – Singapore
Rae is an Asian virtual influencer with a fast growing following on Instagram and TikTok. She’s an embodiment of the country’s changing fashion industry that’s looking to utilize technology for innovation. Rae is styled by Kim Robinson, one of the biggest hair stylists in Asia.
Social Media Debut: OCtober 17, 2020
Personality: Rae is into Yoga, online games, nail art, and more. She’s always on an adventure in the urban jungle and is known for sharing her unique and genuine perspective on Instagram.
Commercial Activities: Plenty of product and service endorsements.
Fanbase: More than 24k on Instagram and over 350k on TikTok.
#11. Rozy – South Korea
Rozy is South Korea’s first virtual influencer. Her name means ‘one and only’ in Korean and she’s famous for her toned body and attractive facial features along with strong passion for lifestyle. Rozy is forever 21 years old.
Country: South Korea
Social media debut: August 19, 2020
Personality: Fun fashionista and ‘expression expert’ who also loves to surf, skateboard, and run.
Commercial activities: Estimated to have made more than $854,000 in sponsorship deals in 2021 alone. Rozy has strutted the runway in virtual fashion shows, landed countless brand deals and sponsorships, and even released two singles.
Fanbase: More than 149k followers on Instagram
#12. Lucy – South Korea
Lucy is a South Korean virtual influencer created by Lotte Home Shopping. She has flawless skin, long hair, a perky nose, and a slender jaw. Like other never-aging virtual influencers, Lucy is forever 29 years old.
Country: South Korea
Social media debut: February 24, 2021
Personality: Lucy has a personality of her own and tells her followers to do what they desire based on their beliefs.
Commercial activities: Lucy is engaged in promoting her company’s products on social media.
Fanbase: More than 103k followers on Instagram
#13. Ion Göttlich – Global
Ion Gottlich is a global virtual influencer who’s been around since 2015. He’s a creation of Claudio Pavan and originally hails from South Africa. Ion is a sports and health global virtual influencer who’s into cycling.
Social media debut: February 28, 2015.
Personality: Confident, bordering on arrogant. His Instagram is rich with photos of biking activities.
Commercial activities: Ion has met some of the biggest names in the industry, including the likes of Jean Biermans, Sean Sako, and Andre Greipel. He also captured the attention of UCI WorldTeam BORA in 2019
Fanbase: More than 70k on Instagram, 32k on TikTok, and 54k on Facebook.
#14. E.M – Vietnam
E.M.O.I (International Virtual Instagram Creator from Vietnam) is a virtual influencer and model from Vietnam. The first cyber creator from the country, she was created by the Ogilvy T&A and Colory studio. In Vietnamese, ‘Em oi’ means ‘Hey, sweetie!’.
Social media debut: 2020
Personality: E.M is known for her aesthetic sense and elegant fashion.
Commercial activities: Brand promotions
Fanbase: More than 7.3k followers on Facebook and over 1.1k on Instagram
#15. B (Bee Influencer)
Going by the handle, bee_nfluencer on Instagram, this is an interesting digital creation in the sense that it’s actually in the form of a bee. Known as Bee Influencer or just B, this is the first cause-driven, animalistic character to emerge in the virtual influencer space. B’s ambition is to save the world. Bee Influencer does this by pleasing brands in order to generate money that’s used to save the dwindling population of bees in the world. In the real world, B is represented by Fondation de France.
Bee Influencer currently has more than 253k followers on Instagram. Her Instagram page is full of videos and photos compelling people to contribute to the cause (save the bees).
What are your thoughts on virtual influencers? Do you think that these ‘hot cartoons‘ (as some critics refer them as) will replace human creators? Let us know in the comments section.
Some of them do look real, this seems to be a hot trend now. AI is moving forward so rapidly! Just wow!