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HomeEntertainmentMeet hijab-clad Kenza Layli: The world's first AI influencer who won Miss...

Meet hijab-clad Kenza Layli: The world’s first AI influencer who won Miss AI 2024

In a futuristic turn of events, there now seems to be a pageant for AI influencers. Earlier this year the World AI Creator Awards announced Miss AI 2024, the first international beauty pageant solely for AI influencers. As the winner of the pageant, Kenza Layli from Morocco won over 1,500 contenders.

AI generated influencer, Kenza Layli from Morocco won the world's first Miss AI 2024 title
AI generated influencer, Kenza Layli from Morocco won the world’s first Miss AI 2024 title

The hijab-wearing activist and influencer is wholly AI-generated, from her captions to her outfits to her facial features. With over 190,000 followers, she mainly focuses on content that revolves around the traditions and culture of Moroccan society. She was created by Myriam Bessa, CEO of Phoenix AI.

AI-generated influencers from all over the world competed in this international pageant. The prizes included a $5,000 cash prize for the creator along with a $3,000 mentorship program and PR support. Contenders were judged with respect to various categories including beauty, tech and social clout. The judging panel was composed of a pageant historian, a media entrepreneur, and two AI influencers.

Kenza bested two others, Lalina Valina from France and Olivia C. who is a Portuguese globetrotter.

AI influencers Lalina Valina from France and Olivia C. from Portugal
AI influencers Lalina Valina from France and Olivia C. from Portugal

In her acceptance speech, Kenza said, “AI isn’t just a tool; it’s a transformative force that can disrupt industries, challenge norms and create opportunities where none existed before. As we move forward, I am committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity within the field, ensuring that everyone has a seat at the table of technological progress.”

Setting unreal beauty standards

While beauty pageants are already quite controversial amongst this generation’s impatience for unreal beauty standards, the addition of AI-generated models with stereotypical body types and features adds another layer to the conversation. In an interview with CNN, Dr Kerry McInerney, a research associate at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge said, “I think we’re starting to increasingly lose touch with what an unedited face looks like.”

Most of these AI models are brought to life by individual creators or teams using advanced text-to-image algorithms. While the prevalence of the default thin, young white woman trope isn’t directly the fault of the creators, it reflects the biases inherent in the AI models they use.

To this Dr. McInerney says, “These tools are made to replicate and scale up existing patterns in the world. They’re not made necessarily to challenge them, even if they’re sold as tools that enhance creativity so when it comes to beauty norms. They’re capturing the existing beauty norms we have which are actively sexist, actively fatphobic, actively colorist, then they’re compling and reiterating them.”

While posing the question about these unrealistic beauty standards to the panel, Sofía Novales, a project manager involved in creating the AI model Aitana López who ‘sits’ on the pageant’s judging panel told CNN, “we are not here to solve this long-standing problem.”

These polarising insights remind us of the growing disconnect between edited and natural appearances, urging a critical look at the norms perpetuated by AI models. While the technologies that created these models offer creative opportunities, they also risk reinforcing problematic beauty ideals. As AI continues to evolve, so too should our efforts to ensure it promotes diversity and challenges outdated standards, rather than merely replicating them.

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