On the short list of people having a not-terrible 2020 is Miquela Sousa, the computer-generated avatar better known as Lil Miquela. This is mostly because she is not real, at least not in the living, breathing, human sense of the word. So she doesn’t have to worry about getting COVID-19 or paying her rent. In fact, according to an analysis published on Bloomberg last week by OnBuy, a U.K.–based online marketplace, she is estimated to make €8,960,000 per year, or over $10 million — for the company that created her, that is, which is called Brud.
Brud, which did not respond for comment, doesn’t like to call Lil Miquela an “influencer.” Rather, she’s a “digital character” with good taste in clothing and a budding music career. But a portion of her income does come from paid partnerships with brands. With 2.8 million followers on Instagram, OnBuy estimates that she charges about around $8,000 per sponsored post, making her the highest-paid “robot influencer” by a large margin. (By comparison, @noonoouri, the second-highest-paid robot influencer on OnBuy’s list, makes about $1,600 per post.) In the past, Lil Miquela has done campaigns for Calvin Klein. More recently, she worked with Samsung on promoting the new Galaxy Z flip-phone. She’s also been tagging Amazon Fashion lately, though she has made no indication of sponsorship.
Of course, at the end of the day, Lil Miquela’s income is going to real human beings. (Links in her Instagram bio have also directed to charitable causes.) Still, these numbers are a lot to process. [Hits ‘Eject’.]