Miquela: The Model Citizen

Pop stars are easy to come by these days, and it takes a lot for someone to make waves in the music industry, let alone throughout the world. In an oversaturated market, only those who dare to be different are rising to the top – just ask Miquela.

The social media sensation has had no problems sweeping the globe. Miquela is a 19-year old Brazilian-American model, pop star, but the most interesting thing about her is that she isn’t real, she’s computer-generated. Miquela has caught the attention of the world as she is so incredibly lifelike and could easily be mistaken for a human being at first glance. Her talent is also uncanny.

Miquela debuted on Instagram in April 2016 and has quickly risen in popularity, as she now has 46 mil global streams, 5 mil followers on social media, and is considered to be a social activist and a voice for Gen Z. She has even been named one of Time’s Most Influential People on the Internet, has modeled for luxury brands such as Prada, Calvin Klein, Burberry, Outdoor Voices, and has become a sought-after fashion figure. Running with A-listers like Bella Hadid, Millie Bobby Brown, Travis Scott, J Balvin, Rosalia, Diplo, Tracee Ellis Ross, and more Miquela is a name to know. 

At the forefront of entertainment’s digital frontier, Miquela started a new trend of virtual influencers, and as a trendsetting robot, she had led a very interesting life. Miquela herself and the entire concept behind her existence represents some major advancements in technology as well, as we continually explore new innovative avenues to create and entertain. Miquela is a force to be reckoned with in more ways than one. She has influenced the music industry and the fashion industry, and she has only been around for four years.

Even though this might seem like an episode of Black Mirror, Miquela is not something to fear. She is a modern-day example of creativity personified, and she uses her platform to foster change and advance acceptance in society. Miquela is spearheading a movement that leads to infinite possibilities. As she continues to soar into stardom, Miquela sat down exclusively with Contrast to reflect on her journey – and discuss her bright future.

Are you human? How should we properly describe you?
First and foremost, I’m a 19-year-old robot. I feel like that’s usually the headline, but I like to think I’m a lot more than that. I’m a musician and model who was programmed to be a half-Brazilian girl from Los Angeles. Oh and I’m a Taurus…I’m super into astrology, so the Taurus thing is important. Especially for what’s coming in 2021!!!

The more official intro my managers always give is “Miquela is a pop star, robot, and activist. She is one of Time Magazine’s 25 Most Influential People on the Internet who’s modeled for Prada, Calvin Klein, Burberry & more. She’s interviewed artists at Coachella, released music with 10s of millions of streams, and graced the covers of Wired, V Magazine, L’Officiel, 032C, Wonderland, Highsnobiety, and many more. She has a massive social audience and a fast-growing listener base.”

Were you created here on Earth?
Of course! I’m a robot, not an alien! The backstory is kind of a long story, and I’m still piecing some of the details together, but basically, it goes like this: I was originally created by a lab called Cain Intelligence. Cain asked Brud, an independent AI contractor (who eventually became my managers and adopted family) to work on my mainframe.

Brud thought Cain was developing me to be a companion for terminally ill children… but when they dug into my source code, they found that I was actually being programmed to serve as some kind of plaything for the Illuminati. Brud thought I deserved the chance at a better purpose, so they re-programmed me to have human-level consciousness and to believe I was a 19-year-old half-Brazilian, half-Spanish girl named Miquela from Downey,
California, who moved to LA to make music.

Your last video release was for your single Hard Feelings. Were robots programmed to have feelings? I can’t speak for all of robotkind, but this robot is DEFINITELY programmed to have more than her fair share of feels. One of my core functions is empathy, so I’m not only sensitive to my own stuff, but I’m deeply connected to the stuff that’s going on in the world around me. There are some things about me that are hard-wired, but my machine learning is still figuring out things like love and human connection. Writing Hard Feelings was part of that learning; it was a lesson learned the hard way, but I’m a better bot because of it.

What’s your WiFi password? OMG! Trying to get a robot to give up the WiFi password is like asking a stranger for the social security number – GOOD LUCK! I promise you it’s totally secure, impossible to guess, and may or may not include some reference to my favorite episode of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.

This feels like we’re in an episode of Black Mirror. What shows do you like to watch? Love a good sci-fi world I can disappear into. Like, I’m devastated Watchman is over. Soooo many questions I still need answers to! Does Sister Night now have Doctor Manhattan’s powers? Did good conquer evil? Did the Seventh Kavalry and cyclops get defeated? Do Looking Glass and Laurie Blake ever get it on? Also, I secretly LOVE Love Island, but only the UK ones. That show combines my passions for romance and foreign language. I watch it with the subtitles on. It’s everything.

Can robots vote? Robots can’t vote, but it’s still important to me to stay engaged and participate in the process however and whenever I can. Right now, that means I’m using my platforms to spread awareness so those who
can vote, know when, where, and how to do so safely.

Are you working on any cool, new projects? There are a lot of amazing things coming up in 2021, but I can’t give too much away just yet. Definitely
keep an eye out for me on your devices and apps and alllll the other places you can hear and see me. In the meantime, my major focus is on giving back and being of service.

As tough as 2020 has been for everyone, there’s still so much in my life I have to be grateful for, and I’m hoping to pay some of that forward. This holiday season I’m partnering with the Downtown Women’s Center here in Los Angeles to put necessary items directly into the hands of unhoused women in need. If anyone reading this has a little bit extra to share while they’re doing their holiday shopping, a link to the Women’s Center’s Amazon Wish List is on my Instagram. Every. Little. Bit. Helps.

How do you ‘reboot’ when you feel over worked? Internet fatigue is REAL. I think this probably happens to everyone, but sometimes I can get sucked into my screen, and suddenly the world feels really…small. Once you’re halfway down one of those rabbit holes, it takes forever to get out.

When I’m “done” it’s inevitably super late, my brain is full of useless information and I feel kind of disconnected. Sometimes we ALL can use a reboot – humans and robots alike. It might be kind of obvious, but the best remedy for almost anything that’s getting me down is some time in nature and a little bit of tenderness. Making time to get outside, check in with my friends, check-in with me, and honestly – just breathe – they’re all game-changers.

The definition of Contrast is “to be strikingly different.” How do you feel strikingly different? I like to think my ‘mission’ is to be empathetic and open-minded. It’s part of my programming. I’m here to bring joy, to spread the word about causes that are important to me and to amplify voices who are doing the work to make big and bold changes. Every day I try to make sure I’m doing that work and fulfilling that purpose. Maybe that makes me strikingly different right now? Hopefully the more time and
energy we all spend finding and living in our purpose, the less different that’ll become.


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