Shudu is the supermodel of the future. Just like virtual influencer Lil Miquela (now 1.3 million followers on Instagram) she is a digital construction. Digital influencers are becoming increasingly popular with young people, because they can not get enough of the better-than-real-people beauty of digital models. Shudu is also working on the road, helped by the fact that ‘she’ looks so very good. The difference between Shudu and Lil Miquela is quite strong, because where Miquela will seldom be confused for a real person, that chance at Shudu is a lot bigger.
That has everything to do with her origins. Visual artist Cameron-James Wilson has spent a lot of time in the looks of Shudu. The intention is that she looks like someone in her mid-20’s coming from South Africa. The name was provided by an early follower of the work that comes from the region. Wilson received quite a bit of criticism about the existence of Shudu, not least because he is a white man from Great Britain who portrays a black woman from South Africa as the first creation. The idea that Shudu could be ‘booked’ for showing clothes would take away work for colored models and he was not thanked for that.
However, it is far from being that far. Although Shudu has a respectable 136,000 followers on Instagram (not bad for an account with 26 posts in the last year), there is still no waiting list. This also has to do with the fact that at the moment there is still a lot of work involved in creating a virtual model, as you can see in the video below.
Wilson sees it rather as a tool to make the life of existing models easier in the future. Whether that is necessary is another discussion, but it provides a time when successful models can ‘scan’ themselves and then they can be digitally delivered in any pose and style that is desired, naturally within the limits of decency. The latter aspect will certainly be a threshold for existing models, so whether that will get off the ground quickly remains to be seen. Those files will fall into the wrong hands …
Does not really need it, as long as it is beautiful
The advance of the digital models shows that most people do not really care who shows the clothes that designers want to show, if they look good. As the 3D models become increasingly lifelike, the difference between a real and digital person will also become so small that you will almost have to sit in the business to be able to see it. Miquela also shows that even if it is clearly not real, people still enjoy it. In that respect, Shudu may even be a little too much of a good thing.