Instagram star Miquela Sousa is testing the boundaries of social media authenticity

When you read the Instagram comments, scrolling past the "love this outfit" or "so beautiful", it so often comes back to the shadow.

"Where is ur shadow." "Sun is shining the wrong way on your face." "Where is her shadow at though???"

The truth is that in the highly posed Instagram photos of Miquela Sousa, the 19-year-old fashion-world influencer from LA with 1 million followers, she doesn't have a shadow, because to have a shadow, you have to exist.

And Miquela doesn't exist.

Lil Miquela, as she is known, is an unreal protagonist in a science-fiction-like narrative unfolding online.

Her story is both shaking up what it means to be authentic on social media — even what it means to be real — and giving an insight into where branding and marketing might be headed.

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