Much curiosity, and even conspiracy, arose when Lil Miquela—a virtual influencer created from computer-generated imagery (CGI)—first popped up on Instagram back in 2016. She now boasts a 2.3 million-strong following on Instagram, paving the way for more of her kind.
Enter Reyme Husaini, a Fashion Media and Industries student at LASALLE College of the Arts, who has created Singapore’s first and very own virtual influencer—Ava (@avagram.ai)—for his final year project.
Ava is forever 22 and loves to be dressed up for the ‘gram. She’s known for her gender-fluid style and holds firm to her motto that style should be a reflection of one’s self.
Ava was born to be an outspoken platform for minorities to raise awareness and spark conversations on social and sometimes political issues, no matter how controversial. She is confident, self-aware, independent and opinionated, and doesn’t conform to outdated female stereotypes or societal pressures.
We virtually sat down with Reyme to learn more about who Ava is, what inspired her conception, and where she’s headed towards the next few years.
1. How would you describe Ava to someone who is meeting her for the first time?
Personality wise, Ava is the ultimate mix of cool girl meets girl next door. I designed her specifically to be relatable to the culturally diverse, young, vibrant and ever changing youth culture of today.
She is a spark point to hopefully encourage discussions of important cultural and social issues and to provide information to her audience in a way that is easy to understand on an individual level.
Her overall tone is confident and outspoken, she is a campaigner who encourages and empowers people to fearlessly speak up and unapologetically be true to themselves.
2. What inspired the conceptualisation and creation of Ava?
With the steady rise of virtual influencers in digital media today, it has become apparent that there is also a growing need and demand for a more diverse range of personalities and ethnicities in regards to representation.
The inspiration behind Ava’s creation for me was to fill this gap and to provide her audience with someone relatable. Over the years, fashion and media have evolved to include and emphasise the importance of being involved and aware of the changing political, social and environmental issues and situations we all face together.
Ava is a voice for her generation to speak out and be heard, and to encourage and educate her peers to join the discussion.
3. What boundaries can virtual influencers break and use for good, that human influencers cannot?
With human influencers and celebrities, they are their own brand first and foremost. If I was a client, and I hired an influencer or celebrity to promote my brand, they would do as a brand ambassador.
The client’s brand would be directly associated with the influencer or celebrity’s actions and opinions, which could be a good or bad thing. The underlying point is that there will always be more risks and unpredictable or uncontrollable aspects due to human nature.
With a virtual influencer, you don’t risk associating your brand with any negative press. When you hire a virtual influencer, you have a neutral clear viewpoint to start with, with the certainty that what you see is what you get.
The client would have more control over the clarity of the message they’re trying to get across, along with the confidence that the virtual influencer endorses and promotes their viewpoint wholeheartedly in the collaboration.
Lastly, the idea of a virtual influencer right now is still very fresh and new. If your brand is trying to reach Gen-Z or a younger audience, a virtual influencer might be something that appeals to your intended demographic.
On the flip side, there’s still something uniquely powerful and engaging about real influencers connecting with their audience through social platforms. With virtual influencers, even though they have personalities and a viewpoint, ultimately they are a product of someone else.
At the end of the day, influencer marketing is about engaging in authentic, meaningful connections no matter what the platform is.
4. What would success for Ava look like in the near future?
Being able to see her as a household name in Singapore. Ava has positioned herself in the minds of her followers as the first virtual fashion influencer in Singapore.
Similar to her global competitors like Lil Miquela, Shudu, and Noonoouri, she aims to not only be a fashion instagrammer but also someone of social and political influence.
Her expressive voice and ability to naturally spark conversation appeals to her audience for varied reasons, which is one of the traits that make Ava unique.
Singapore’s First Virtual Influencer: Ava | Instagram | Website
Get the latest updates by following us on Twitter @hypeandstuff & Facebook Have an interesting story to share? Email us at [email protected]