“Imperfect” virtual influencers get into the spotlight
The Future. A virtual influencer named Angie is surging in popularity, not because she’s partnering with brands or “living” the high life, but because she looks like an average Chinese girl. Her growing fanbase may show that, whether real or virtual, fans are increasingly searching for authentic personalities they can relate to — it’s the same reason why people watch movies, listen to music, or read a book.
Just a normal girl named Angie
Angie is unlike other animated, virtual influencers. She’s modeled after a typical human.
- Angie was created by Jesse Zhang — the director of a Shenzhen-based CGI animation company.
- She doesn’t do the typical influencer things like wear designer clothes or promote music. She just exists.
- Angie is considered “conventionally pretty,” but also has zits, dry skin, and crooked teeth.
- She also has two open group chats on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, where fans willingly share their hardships and ask for advice.
Angie currently has 280,000 followers on Douyin.
Virtual influencers are quickly growing in popularity, from Instagram darling Miquela to Tencent’s AI Ling to the entire roster of characters from Superplastic. Angie’s quick rise to fame represents a new avenue for animated characters — one where their “struggles” reflect what the average fan may be going through.
Beauty standards in China are infamously high. Demand for plastic surgery is constantly increasing, and many people use beauty filters to touch up photos before posting on social platforms. If all virtual influencers are beautiful and flawless, the pressure may only grow for real women to reach the same standard. Angie’s “flaws” represent a refreshing change.