Sorry to the Hadid’s and Jenner’s of the world but the modeling world is quickly changing and it’s of the digital kind. Shudu Gram has been named the world’s first “Digital Supermodel.”
Now, when you think of a Digital Supermodel, I’m sure, instantly, your mind wanders off to the movie “Smart House”… or maybe that’s just my head? Shudu is the creation of British fashion photographer, Cameron James-Wilson. He had inspirations of modeling Shudu after Lupita, Duckie Thot, and Nykhor, thus earning her the nickname “South African Princess.”
A Digital Influencer
Shudu is represented by the world’s first digital agency called “Diigitals” and has gained over 195,000 followers on Instagram over such a short period of time, I mean…it must be nice being a “walking” Instagram filter.
As more bloggers try to find fame in a congested “influencer” world, there seems to be red flags raised to the idea that digital creations such as Shudu are fashion’s next big thing.
Major figures in the fashion/beauty industry have collaborated with the pixel princess. For instance, Fenty Beauty posted an Instagram photo of Shudu wearing one of its plush matte lipsticks and Shudu was also featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine.
Robots vs Representation
All of the craze over this digital supermodel has also sparked a lot of controversy. Initially, Cameron James-Wilson posted on Shudu’s Instagram without admitting her digital upbringing. However, when people started to question how perfect she was he was forced to reveal the truth, Shudu was, in fact, fake. So, bummer, she’s fake news. James-Wilson then changed her instagram bio to “World’s First Digital Model” just to clarify that she was not real.
He went on to explain that Shudu was his creation, his art piece. James-Wilson stated, “She is not a real model unfortunately, but she represents a lot of the real models of today. There’s a big kind of movement with dark skin models, so she represents them and is inspired by them.”
These words did not put James-Wilson in favor with people who believe Shudu constitutes much more than one man’s art project. People found it troublesome that a digital Black woman was “hired” instead of an actual human Black model. Black models remain a minority in the fashion world and continue to be extremely underrepresented in the fashion/beauty industries.