Hollywood star Yara Shahidi dazzles on the SAG red carpet

Yara Shahidi arrives for the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Exposition Center on January 21, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. (AFP)
Updated 22 January 2018
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Hollywood star Yara Shahidi dazzles on the SAG red carpet

DUBAI: All eyes were on 17-year-old star Yara Shahidi as she stepped out at the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in a sophisticated black jumpsuit — and she even got a special nod of approval from the likes of Vogue magazine.
The Iranian-American TV actress turned heads in a sleek, custom-made Ralph Lauren outfit when she took to the red carpet at Sunday night’s event in Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium.
She garnered praise from Vogue, which said she “simmered with disco-worthy drama.” Shahidi completed her look with Jimmy Choo platforms and Tiffany & Co. jewelry chosen by stylist Jason Bolden.
Before the show, she tweeted out a message of appreciation to the Ralph Lauren design house, saying “thank you for making the jumpsuit of my dreams.”
The “Black-ish” star, who now has her own spin off series called “Grown-ish,” was nominated for the Outstanding Television Comedy Ensemble award along with her cast mates at the ceremony, but lost out to the cast of “Veep.”
Shahidi is likely not disheartened, however, as she is set to head off to Harvard University to study sociology and African-American studies this year. She even revealed that former First Lady Michelle Obama wrote her a recommendation letter during the college application process — an endorsement that made headlines around the world last March.
The star is well-known for her stance against the proposed US immigration ban that caused uproar last year and shared a message on her social media accounts at the time saying: “If my baba was stuck in an airport because of a Muslim ban 39 years ago, he would have never fallen in love with my mama. I would not exist and I wouldn’t have two amazing brothers.”
She has been vocal about her Iranian-African-American heritage and even called herself “a proud Black Iranian.”


Instagram fashionista Miquela Sousa casts no shadow

Updated 22 May 2018
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Instagram fashionista Miquela Sousa casts no shadow

  • Lil Miquela posts selfies on Instagram “wearing” labels like Diesel, Stussy and Prada and “hanging out” with various musicians and fashion industry figures at restaurants in New York City and LA.
  • She has given interviews — via email — before, though her PR people, a New York City advertising firm, declined to make her available to the media to explain exactly what is going on here.

LONDON: Miquela Sousa is a success story for the modern age. She is a 19-year-old fashion-world influencer from LA with over 1 million followers.

She posts selfies on Instagram “wearing” labels like Diesel, Stussy and Prada and “hanging out” with various musicians and fashion industry figures at restaurants in New York City and LA, and has released a handful of popular singles.

However, she doesn’t cast a shadow in any of her photos, because to have a shadow, you have to exist. And Miquela doesn’t exist.

Lil Miquela, as she is known, is a computer-generated image, the work of an LA-based artificial intelligence firm called Brud.

She’s been in “photoshoots” in magazines like Interview and Highsnobiety, but it’s not clear how those images are created.

She has given interviews — via email — before, though her PR people, a New York City advertising firm, declined to make her, or Brud, available to the media to explain exactly what is going on here.

Is it an attempt to manufacture an influencer, someone with a lot of social media followers who can spruik brands’ products? Is it a branding exercise for an AI firm?

To Ryan Shelley, a social media expert from the firm Pepper IT, the fact that interest has piqued recently around Miquela’s existence suggests the power of this particular piece of storytelling.

“Some people tune in and watch the Kardashians on TV,” he said. “People are tuning into Instagram and they are watching the self-realization of a robot.”

Instagram trades on the idea of authenticity — you follow someone because you want that behind-the-scenes insight into their life, but the arrival of Lil Miquela has resulted in a redrafting of the script.