“Didn’t Even Give Her Filipino Features:” Netizens Criticize The Philippines’ First Virtual Model

“It’s really messed up to see this…”

The metaverse is continually becoming more integrated with regular life as companies explore how to use virtual reality to further their products.

Girl group aespa is often credited with spearheading the inclusion of the metaverse in K-Pop, as seen by aespa’s Karina (right) talking to her virtual avatar | SM Entertainment

For instance, the metaverse has quickly grown in the K-Pop industry as there are many active virtual idols, including a new group of virtual idols portrayed by well-known girl group idols, virtual concerts fans can attend, and virtual avatar survival shows.

Rookie K-Pop girl group MAVE: is entirely comprised of virtual idols | @MAVE_official_/Twitter

Different countries also use virtual models to promote tourism, like the Korea Tourism Organization model Yeo Lizzie. Although Yeo Lizzie has received immense criticism as netizens believed she looked too much like Red Velvet‘s Irene, and many fans even demanded that SM Entertainment protect their artist.

Virtual model Yeo Lizzie | @lizzie.dayz/Instagram
Red Velvet’s Irene

And now, The Philippines’ first virtual model is also receiving backlash and starting a conversation around beauty standards. Bernila made her first Instagram post in late December 2022, advertising an Avatar-inspired car design.

Bernila has since promoted different locations and activities in The Philippines.

With almost 8,000 followers, many comments on Bernila’s posts focus on her beauty.

And while reportedly Bernila’s design compiled “favorite facial features,” many netizens are finding fault with her appearance as they don’t believe she looks Filipina.

Except 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

— Netizen comment via NEXT SHARK

Even the non-human Filipino models look white lol

— Netizen comment via NEXT SHARk

And Bernila’s physique is also being critiqued as the virtual model is extremely skinny, showing off unrealistic proportions in her pictures.

Bernila | @bernila.gram/Instagram

She’s going to set impossible beauty standards for our younguns

— Netizen comment via NEXT SHARK

Many netizens have wondered why actual Filipino models couldn’t be used instead of virtual ones.

Especially since there are many successful Filipino models like Janine Tugonon (Miss Universe 2012 runner-up)…

Sharina Gutierrez (modeled for companies like Vogue, Teen Vogue, Estee Lauder, etc.)…

Charlene Almarvez (Ford Supermodel of the World runner-up)…

And Noah Carlos (on the front of i-D‘s “The Get Up Stand Up” issue with Megan Thee Stallion and Nigerian creative skaters Motherlan).

Let’s support, hire, and appreciate human models [more] than this thing.

— Netizen comment via NEXT SHARK

You can read more about virtual models here.

Virtual Influencer Goes Viral For Looking Like Red Velvet’s Irene

Source: NEXT SHARK and Preview

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