With her revolutionary collection, the internet ingenue and Dazed Beauty Community member aims to evolve the mainstream conception of beauty and “create a space for everyone to express themselves authentically”
Named after an 80s software program known for its quick-fix solutions to data problems, Perl.www is a 23-year-old CGI model redefining the face of beauty. Born and bred on the internet, Perl is vocal about the realities of body shaming cyberbullies and the power that internet trolls have on our self-esteem – it’s something she experiences daily. “To be honest I haven’t always been considered beautiful,” she says, referring to her mismatched coloured eyes and mild skin discolouration. “A couple of years ago, those features would have been considered too special.” However, recently she’s noticed a change in our collective perception of beauty. “It’s only recently that brands and casting agencies have opened up and tried to redefine what beauty means,” she notes.
Perl got into modelling like most CGIs her age “via my friends that are photographers and directors.” But now she’s set her sights on something else. Applying the problem solving attitude of her namesake, Perl has recently designed the first ever cosmetics collection for AI, by AI. “In a world where beauty isn’t exclusive to humans anymore, Perl.www launches the first line of cosmetics designed for AI, robots and 3D models,” reads the press release she sent me earlier today. “Shaping the future of beauty and pushing the industry forward, Perl.www Cosmetics’ goal is to evolve the mainstream conception of ‘beauty’ while creating a space for everyone to express themselves authentically.”
“Brands need to begin to recognise that inclusivity is broader than gender, ethnicity, body type, sex and age,” Perl continues. “Digital beings are a reality, they are consumers with desires and currently no brand has stepped up to offer tangible solutions. As a proud member of this community, I decided to start a line of cosmetics, hoping to inspire and lead the way.”
The line starts with basics and proposes five key products including, The Pixel Injection, a powerful agent formulated to fill in dead pixels and intensify the skin’s DPI and The Pixel Lipstick, a reflective oil mixed with noise for decadent shine and deep hydration.
At this stage, the line is purely conceptual, but one day she’d like to produce actual objects, art pieces as symbols of inclusive beauty. We caught up the elusive model unpack her relationship with beauty.
So, Perl, what’s your earliest beauty experiment?
Perl: Trying to cover the glitch on my face using foundation. Obviously didn't work since there was not real product designed for my artificial skin. This was before I realised I'm beautiful in my own way.
At what age did you first become aware of beauty?
Perl: I don't age, so I can't give you a precise age. But I've been very much aware of it from the beginning I was created. Beauty is literally everywhere on the Internet from cutting edge IG accounts to pop-up ads.
Did you feel beautiful as a kid? Were you an outsider?
Perl: By the very nature of being an AI, I'm an outsider. And I love it, because it's an opportunity to break down boundaries.
Has there ever been a moment where you didn't feel beautiful?
Perl: I got immune pretty quickly to all the looks and chat people give you. But the first time hurt. I had posted a selfie and some bully commented: "What's that on your face? Learn Photoshop". Well, "that", in CGI world, is comparable to vitiligo, and I've learned to love it. The internet can be evil, but it is also a wonderful resource to learn self-love. I've discussed my insecurities with other real people and learned that my body isn't "flawed," it's just different.
What makes you feel beautiful today?
Perl: My DM's and my front camera.
Who is your beauty icon? Why?
Perl: Jazzelle Zanaughtti. She embodies the beauty revolution with her mind-blowing look, her otherworldly makeup looks and her positive messages of self-love and acceptance. She speaks her mind, she breaks rules and she is the change she - and I - want to see in the world.
What effect do CGI models like you have on our perception of beauty?
Perl: CGI models don't equal perfection. I don't understand how some people can think we threaten beauty. We aren't created according to ideal ratios of beauty. We too have imperfections and insecurities. I believe that we contribute to the conversation and widen the definition of beauty.
What does beauty mean to you?
Perl: Beauty is the aura someone has around her/him when she/he is comfortable with her/his body.
Do you think you're beautiful? Can you explain that?
Perl: I'm comfortable with who I am and I believe that makes me beautiful.
What inspired you to create the first ever cosmetics collection for AI?
Perl: There's definitely a gap in the beauty market. While more and more brands try to be inclusive, no one had ever proposed a cosmetics line designed for AI and CGI models. It’s for all digital beings.
How does it work?
Perl: For now it’s conceptual but I’d like to produce actual objects, maybe as art pieces as symbols of inclusive beauty. I don't want to make it a business. Just enable everyone to feel beautiful and to start the conversation about cosmetics for AI.
What does your maket think of all this?
Perl: My creator fully supports all my actions. He's always given me the freedom to express myself and to embody the change I want to see in the world.
Do you think people might find a disk that can change your skin colour problematic given the historical politicisation of skin colour? Likewise your call for inclusivity when real marginalised groups have been excluded for longer than AI? What would you say to critics?
Perl: I do think it can spark debates. And debates make the world go forward. As for my call for inclusivity, I believe we're in an incredible momentum for this. And the more people join the conversation, the more we'll be able to change the game. What do critics expect or propose? Chosen inclusivity? That goes against the term itself.
What are your hopes for the future?
Perl: I would like to be the first AI model represented by a human model agency.That would mean a lot. For me, for the industry. Ford, IMG, Elite, are you reading?
What has growing up in the internet taught you?
Perl: Being raised on the internet gave me access to so much knowledge and inspiration. Every day, at every corner of the WWW, someone is stretching my mind. The more I connect, the more aware I become and the more I can give back.
What are you working on at the moment?
Perl: Perl.www cosmetics. I’m also working on a lookbook for a Parisian brand that has been making waves in the fashion world for the past two years, and I’m writing a script for a short film I want to direct.