‘Spanish influencer’ created entirely by AI generates its modelling agency £9,000 a month with 200,000 followers

4 December 2023, 18:02 | Updated: 4 December 2023, 19:03

Aitana was created by an AI modelling agency.
Aitana was created by an AI modelling agency. Picture: Instagram

By Jenny Medlicott

A 'Spanish fitness influencer' has rapidly taken the modelling world by storm - the only catch? She’s not real.

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Aitana López is a picture-perfect 25-year-old from Barcelona who has racked up over 200,000 Instagram followers and often makes over $1,000 per sponsored Instagram post.

Some of the world’s most infamous fashion brands feature on Aitana’s social media feed - from Victoria’s Secret to Brandy Melville and Guess.

The ‘model’ reportedly makes up to £9,000 a month from all the modelling work she does - except she does no work at all, because she’s artificial intelligence.

Aitana was created by The Clueless, a self-described ‘modelling agency’ whose catalogue consists entirely of AI models.

The Clueless founder Rubén Cruz said the 25-year-old persona was made to overcome the obstacles that human lives can pose to the company.

“We started analysing how we were working and realised that many projects were being put on hold or cancelled due to problems beyond our control,” he said.

“Often it was the fault of the influencer or model and not due to design issues,” he told Euronews.

Aitana is a virtual influencer with almost 200,000 followers on Instagram.
Aitana is a virtual influencer with almost 200,000 followers on Instagram. Picture: Instagram

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So, they created Aitana, an employee who will never call in sick, doesn’t need to sleep, will never put in a holiday request and has no use for a salary.

All companies who work with the ‘influencer’ know she is not real, which, reportedly is part of her appeal - creating the perfect image is easier with software than with a human behind a camera, Cruz suggested.

“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,” he added.

Aitana also features on the creator platform Fanvue, where fans can pay for private content and even chat with the imaginary influencer.

“AI creators made up 15 per cent of our revenue last month which is really impressive,” said Will Monange, the co-founder of Fanvue.

“That’s up more than 100 per cent on the month before, and that’s a progressive increase. Interest is growing.”

Aitana’s creation coincides with the growing concerns of countless industries about how AI may impact or replace jobs in the future.

Experts have predicted millions of fast food workers could be out of a job by 2028, while Hollywood actors recently fought for provisions to ensure AI would not replace their screen presence in years to come.

Lil Miquela was one of the first major AI influencers.
Lil Miquela was one of the first major AI influencers. Picture: Instagram

Aitana’s commercial and social media success follows brands, such as Levi’s and Calvin Klein, that have previously announced plans to “supplement” their future campaigns with AI.

Levi’s was hit with a wave of backlash after the announcement, as the brand said the move was to represent more diverse models, but this left many questioning why real models had not been considered.

And Aitana is not the first model of her kind, as Lil Miquela, one of the first virtual influencers, has a follower count of 2.7 million, with a bio reading “19-year-old Robot living in LA”.

With Lil Miquela, brands can promote their products to an audience of millions at a fraction of the cost a human influencer may ask for.

AI models remain controversial, but in Mr Monange’s opinion the birth of AI influencers is nothing to worry about.

“What this is doing is unlocking the possibility of people who can unlock an audience but don’t necessarily want to be the face of that creation,” he told The Telegraph.

“They can use this tool to build an audience and connect with fans. It’s opening the door to creative people. I don’t see it replacing anybody."