Flak over first Filipina virtual model's ‘not-so-Filipino’ features

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network): Following the success of the American virtual influencer who has taken the world by storm, the Philippines also created its first-ever Filipina digital model named Bernila.

With the growing interest of brands in metaverse fashion, here’s our local ultra-realistic model, Bernila, a Filipina virtual fashion icon. She’s described as a virtual human with exceptional taste in fashion, who lives and slays in the real world. Basically, she’s the newest addition to the virtual fashion gang, along with Amara, Rosy, Shudu, and Imma.

Virtual humans like Bernila are created in collaboration with famous luxury fashion brands. Previously, the Filipina digital model under BTHRE Management also worked together with luxury car brands too.

Bernila’s ‘unique’ facial structure was developed based on 100 faces to make it more detailed and realistic. Her feature was created for the Filipinos’ ‘most liked’ physical image.

The virtual model debuted on Dec 23, 2022, with her personal account on Instagram, which has over 6,000 followers as of this writing. However, shortly after her debut, her account (bernila.gram) received a lot of negative remarks from Filipinos, criticising her ‘not so Filipino’ physical features.

Some Filipinos online slammed the model for having fair skin, big eyes, and a slim figure—what most Filipinos deem are not-so-typical’ or ‘common’ characteristics of our people. The digital avatar received backlash for setting ‘unrealistic beauty standards’ that may affect the confidence of real Filipinos.

“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, ” an online user commented.

“Is she supposed to represent the Philippines? She doesn’t look Filipina at all,” another said.

Meanwhile, others pinpointed Bernila’s slim figure. Someone even said to ‘feed her rice’.

“Would’ve been more amazing if her body was of average size, ” one suggested.

See some more negative comments on the Instagram posts of the virtual model:

On the other hand, the backlash stemmed from Bernila’s physique, as there were no details yet about the model’s personality.

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Philippines , Filipina , digital , model , Bernila


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