The first virtual influencer with Down syndrome, Kami @itskamisworld is the result of a collaboration between Down Syndrome International (DSI), creative agency Forsman & Bodenfors and modeling agency The Diigitals.
A project created and run by women with Down Syndrome to raise awareness about the women living with the condition, Kami's face was compiled from over 100 images and videos of real women with Down Syndrome. The Same collective of women act as Kami's voice, by writing all of her content and shaping her personality.
We spoke to her about all things metaverse and her goals with it. Kami got some help from her friends at DSI to create her responses.
Q: You exist in virtual reality, what are your thoughts on the metaverse?
Kami: The word ‘metaverse' sounds futuristic, but actually, it’s just a place where we can all be together – digitally. The metaverse exists in gaming and fashion already and I'm very excited for what else the metaverse can be! We have a chance to build a world that is even more inclusive than the real one.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve through being the world’s first virtual influencer with Down Syndrome?
Kami: When I was born, there were over 200 virtual influencers on Instagram, and none of them represented the disability community. I am the first virtual human with Down Syndrome, and the first one with any type of disability. But I hope I’m not the last! I want to help create a more inclusive digital world and help people learn about my condition. I want to show that Down Syndrome is not a flaw, it’s normal. We should be seen everywhere: in the real world, the metaverse, and beyond!
Q: What changes would you like to see in the digital space?
Kami: I want more representation for people with disabilities. I want to help make the digital world a place where we can all show up as our real selves, if we choose to. And I want these spaces to be ones where we all feel we are equal, we belong, and we are accepted! That would change our lives. I want to inspire other digital creators to include people with disabilities in their ideas from the very beginning. And the disability community should be involved in creating and designing too. I know an amazing 3D designer with Down syndrome named Sam Goodyear!
Q: How do you think the metaverse can help facilitate those changes?
Kami: It’s just the beginning for the metaverse outside of the gaming world. What if virtual avatars like me were inclusive of every ability, colour, and shape? What if audio, visuals, and text in the metaverse suited all of our different abilities? What if we shifted our beauty standards to celebrate everyone’s beauty in their own way? These spaces are still being invented by us. The future of the metaverse could be very inclusive, spectacular, magical places!!
Q: What's one thing that's unseen that you'd like to see?
Kami: More people like me! Disability is sometimes unseen in the virtual world. We are used to seeing “pixel-perfect” virtual influencers. Everything in the metaverse is digitally made, so it’s easy to change how we look with a click. But I don’t want any part of me to be hidden. I want people to see the real me. Because I’m FABULOUS!!