Dinner Table Conversation: Is A Digital Supermodel The Same As A Real Supermodel?

August 17, 2018

She has over 125,000 followers on Instagram, and admirers such as Michael B. Jordan of Black Panther fame and supermodels Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks love her. She models for different clothing brands, and her Instagram followers are heavily influenced by how she looks and what she wears. But what makes her so different from other models? Well, she’s not a real, live, breathing human being. Confused? Shudu Gram is a digitally-generated 3D model that British photographer Cameron-James Wilson created. She has beautiful dark-brown skin and perfectly symmetrical features. Although she’s not the first 3D digitally-generated person, the concept of a digitally-generated model is still a newer phenomenon. Mr. Wilson said he created Shudu Gram as a way of expressing his creative side. Her looks were influenced by Iman (a famous model from Somali) and a Princess of South Africa Barbie doll. So why all the controversy around this unreal person? Well, some followers didn’t know she was just a drawing and felt that Mr. Wilson had been deceitful to his followers. Furthermore, Mr. Wilson is a Caucasian man and Shudu Gram is a dark-skinned woman. Some find this offensive, reflecting the notion that people from different nationalities are sometimes admired from afar and made to be art but are not seen as real human beings. And yet others feel that Mr. Wilson created Shudu Gram only to jump on the growing movement of black empowerment.

What do you think? Is Shudu Gram art? Does she symbolize something positive or negative?