After the success of American virtual influencer, Lil Miquela, who has taken the world by storm, comes Philippines’ own virtual representation–the first-ever Filipina digital model named Bernila. The development of Bernila comes at a time of growing interest of brands in metaverse fashion.
Bernila, a Filipina virtual fashion icon, is described as a virtual human with exceptional taste in fashion who lives and slays in the real world. Basically, she’s the newest addition to the virtual fashion gang, along with Amara, Rosy, Shudu, and Imma.
Virtual humans like Bernila are created in collaboration with luxury fashion brands such as Gucci, Prada, and Versace. Previously, the Filipina digital model under BTHRE Management also worked together with Mercedes Benz and Lamborghini.
Bernila’s ‘unique’ facial structure was developed based on 100 faces to make it more detailed and realistic. Her feature was created for the Filipinos’ ‘most liked’ physical image.
The virtual model debuted on December 23, 2022, with her personal account on Instagram, which has over 6,000 followers as of this writing. However, shortly after her debut, her account (bernila.gram) received a lot of negative remarks from Filipinos, criticizing her ‘not so Filipino’ physical features.
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Some Filipinos online slammed the AI model for having fair skin, big eyes, and a slim figure—what most Filipinos deem as not-so-typical’ or ‘common’ characteristics seen in Filipino women. The digital avatar received backlash for setting ‘unrealistic beauty standards’ that may affect the confidence of real Filipinos.
“She doesn’t look like a Filipina and may have unrealistic beauty standards. Rename it to a cute A.I. model instead since she doesn’t represent a trace of being Pinay, ” an online user commented.
“Is she supposed to represent the Philippines? She doesn’t look Filipina at all,” another said.
Meanwhile, others pinpointed Bernila’s slim figure. Someone even said to ‘feed her rice’.
“Would’ve been more amazing if her body was of average size, ” one suggested.
See some more negative comments on the Instagram posts of the virtual model:
On the other hand, the backlash largely stems from Bernila’s physical features. As of this writing, no details have been shared yet about the model’s personality.
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