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The new face of skincare brand SK-II is an AI avatar

TextAlex Peters

Introducing YUMI: if Alexa and Lil Miquela had a lovechild

Prestige Japanese skincare brand SK-II has announced the new face of its brand but there’s a twist – she’s not real.

Introducing YUMI, SK-II’s new ambassador and the latest member of the ever-growing ranks of digital influencers and avatar models. A gang that includes Shudu, who last year was enlisted alongside a cast of other CGI models for a Balmain campaign, and, of course, Lil Miquela who has fronted campaigns for UGG and Calvin Klein where she controversially made-out with Bella Hadid.

What makes YUMI different, the brand says, is that she is autonomously animated and through AI technology will go on to develop her own personality and movement over time. Created by AI company Soul Machines, YUMI will be able to interact as a human would, providing beauty advice, answering questions and helping customers better understand their skin in a more personable way than the brand’s current chatbots are able to. Using Google Dialogflow as the underlying NLP engine, YUMI will speak in Japanese, English and eventually Mandarin.

“YUMI is more than a digital influencer. She is a digital human capable of interacting and engaging in ways technology hasn’t been able to do until now,” says Sandeep Seth, chief executive officer, Global SK-II. “She provides the warmth and connection of human touch in the form of a digital experience to make the overall skincare experience at home and in store more enjoyable and compelling.”

While there is no set date yet on when YUMI will be rolled-out, once she is costumers will be able to interact with her across smartphones, home devices and in-stores, so watch this space.

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