Photoshop, Facetune, Meitu; pick your poison.
In the online world of flawless skin and impossibly trim hourglass figures, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell what’s real and what’s not but sometimes, wouldn’t it be nice to retreat behind a fabricated persona – an avatar? Computer graphics artist and virtual influencer Ruby Gloom shows us a new side to the meaning of digital fashion.
I’m tired of following (the trend) with taking "lovely" pictures for Instagram
In conversation with Ruby Gloom, digital influencer
How would you introduce yourself as Ruby the human?
Ruby the human is a fragile and vulnerable person. She is emotional, dependant on others, yet independent. She is looking for a simple life in a sick sad world.
How would you introduce yourself as Ruby the CGI avatar?
Ruby the avatar is a version of Ruby that the human Ruby lacks the courage to be. She has cyborg body parts and represents the human Ruby on social media because Ruby is tired of portraying her real self.
What sparked your interest in 3D animation?
Two to three years ago, I went to Seattle with my boyfriend and in my boredom, I picked up my computer and wanted to learn something totally new to me. At the time I was exploring the idea of starting a fashion brand and I wanted to create more variations of graphics for it. I found the process or learning and practicing to be therapeutic for me and I was able to express my emotions and achieve a high level of concentration unlike ever before.
Why did you create an animated version of yourself?
There are a lot of CGI virtual idols/ influencers now made by companies to create a new market in branding for commercial companies. And I feel like their stories and identities are intentionally created to fit in the markets while there are no real stories backing them up. And at the same time, I’m tired of following (the trend) with taking "lovely" pictures for Instagram. So then I want Ruby the avatar to take over for me and she represents the human me. All the pictures we see online are mostly edited- what could be more fake? Maybe a totally virtual avatar based on what a real person has been known for?
What is your favourite part of being able to express yourself through an animated character?
I like that she can be changed whenever I feel like she has to. Sometimes she carries cyborg body parts when I want to express my weakness and I want to feel empowered. And she is not perfect either with my actual skin problems- avatars are not made only for being perfectly beautiful, but have flaws.
Do you think that we portray our true selves with social media? Or does it force us to live a double life?
I never think that we can portray our true selves on the internet. We show what we want to show to people because we want to look perfect or we want attention. Some people live their lives to fit into their social media life. And they get lost either way: with or without the existence of social media.
What’s your view on the current state of the world?
The world is dying due to horrifying climate change... political issues.... internet and trade wars. We are creating super AI to take over us and creating the end of the world. There is nothing we can do.
How do you imagine the future of human social behaviour to be? Is it anything like the TV show Black Mirror?
Black Mirror is a very realistic presentation of how human behaviour in the future is going to be. We will not need to interact with anyone when computers can entertain and feed us. Humans will become more distant but at the same time the internet will break boundaries like time and place, which will also bring together people who used to be not able to meet before.
If you could change one thing about the world that you would change, what would it be?
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mostly from emotions and people around me.
Do you have any hidden talents that you want to share with the world?
I am actually very good at taking care of kids, elderly people and animals. And I am quite good at cooking.
Who is your legend?
Photography / Karl Lam
Styling / Kieran Ho
CGI Artist / Ruby Gloom
Florist / Sprig Florals