A Spanish agency, fed up with the challenges of working with human models and influencers, has generated an innovative solution.
They created Aitana, a 25-year-old model from Barcelona with 125,000+ followers on Instagram.
Of course, the twist is that she’s not real. Aitana is 100% digital, created using Photoshop and AI.
Rubén Cruz, the founder of the influencer agency The Clueless, further explained to Euronews, “We did it so that we could make a better living and not be dependent on other people who have egos, who have manias, or who just want to make a lot of money by posing.”
The co-founder, Diana Núñez, described how Aitana solves the soaring costs of working with human influencers.
Honest, but controversial.
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This isn’t the first project of its kind. Earlier in the year, the startup Lalaland.ai set out to create the first self-service tool where brands could ‘build’ their own digital models using AI.
The founder intended it to increase diversity and representation in fashion but was subsequently lambasted for overlooking the fact these digital models take work from real ones.
Other AI models like Lu do Magalu from Brazil, and Lil Miquela from LA have also gained massive followings.
Another influencer, Caryn Marjorie, created an AI version of herself as a virtual girlfriend for 1,000 men, charging $1 per minute for interactions with the virtual CarynAI. It’s nothing if not inventive.
Despite being an AI creation, Aitana’s profile and activities are designed to give her a lifelike presence. “Even after the media revealed she was an AI creation, many followers still expressed their love for her,” Núñez told Fortune.
Financially, Aitana has been a great success for The Clueless, with Cruz revealing to Euronews that she earns an average of €3,000 per month, reaching up to €10,000 on occasion. Núñez informed Fortune that this income primarily comes from social media ads, and Aitana has even become an ambassador for a sports supplement brand.
This raises important questions about ethics and labor in the era of AI. As AI evolves in the modeling industry, the term ‘model’ will take on an ironic new definition.
How Aitana is created
Aitana’s creators haven’t revealed their exact creative process, but they did categorically say she was AI-generated.
The Spanish agency responsible for Aitana employs a team of AI specialists and design experts who meet weekly to script and design here.
This includes deciding on her activities, locations to visit, and the images she will share with her followers.
According to Euronews, the technology behind Aitana revolves around Photoshop, complemented by AI algorithms. The challenge lies in making Aitana relatable and believable, as well as keeping her form consistent.
To craft Aitana’s distinct personality, the agency focused on societal preferences and trending niches. Aitana is portrayed as a fitness enthusiast with an outgoing, caring nature and specific interests like oriental culture, reflected in her pink hair and gamer persona.
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A second AI model, Maia, is portrayed as slightly more reserved. Looking closely and you’ll see that AI is hiding in their names – Maia and Aitana.
From a business perspective, the agency has seen a surge in demand from brands seeking personalized, AI-generated models. These brands are attracted to a consistent, controlled brand image that costs very little compared to real people. And therein lies the fear at the heart of AI’s takeover of creative industries – AI is cheaper and easier to manage.
Critics have also raised concerns about the potential impact of such unrealistically perfect models on societal beauty standards – though that applies to human influences, too.
Ultimately, using AI models is a strategically practical choice, which is why they’ll become more popular in the forthcoming years. It will eventually become impossible to tell a real model from a digital one.