Down Syndrome International (DSi) has partnered with creative agency Forsman & Bodenfors (F&B) and global digital modelling agency The Diigitals to create the world’s first virtual influencer with down syndrome - Kami (pictured below), and revolutionise the digital space. 

According to DSi's press statement, the influencer's name, Kami, is short for the name Kamilah. Kamilah means perfection, and that is how DSi wants the world to see her. It hopes that Kami will become a power representation that down syndrome is not a flaw or mistake, and that she does not need "fixing". The brand further explained that Kami’s mission starts with a pledge of inviting the world’s most forward-thinking communities and brands to help her change the digital space for the better, making it a more friendly and inclusive place for people living with Down Syndrome. 

For DSi, it was important that the creation of Kami was a collaboration driven by the down syndrome community and individuals living with down syndrome for an authentic representation of real women with down syndrome. As such, the brand consulted and collaborated with a panel of over 100 young women volunteers with down syndrome across the DSi global network on Kami's creation as a virtual model, acting as the faces, physiques, gestures, voices, and personalities that Kami will embody. 

In particular, one of the volunteers with down syndrome, Jaspreet Sekhon, said: “I don’t really see people with down syndrome on social media. I wish there was more like us.... If I saw more people with down syndrome, it would make us confident in ourselves. Show people what we can do and then show it on social media." 
"We have always been acutely aware that the digital space has had little or no place for people with down syndrome. Creating Kami as a welcoming and relatable representation in the digital space for young women with down syndrome is an incredible milestone for DSi. We have high hopes for Kami and the transformation she can bring to digital diversity," Andrew Boys, executive director of DSi explained. 

The conceptual idea of Kami originated from F&B Singapore, who wanted to fulfil DSi’s ambition of bringing inclusion into the daily life of people with down syndrome. According to F&B, Kami represented a revolutionary agent for change in an otherwise inaccessible space. "In a world filled with pixel perfect virtual models, creating Kami is a way to completely reframe down syndrome in the online space. We want to make it impossible to ignore Kami and everything she stands for. As we get to know her, Kami's true potential will depend on how the world embraces her in her virtual form," Rachel Kennedy and Firrdaus Yusoff, creatives of F&B Singapore said. 

For founder and CEO of The Diigitals, Cameron James-Wilson, using machine learning to generate the first phase of Kami was critical to the process of creating a truly authentic and diverse 3D character. “Generating the initial concept of Kami from an algorithm more than the touch of a human hand eliminated any notion of unconscious beauty bias into the character creation process. We really wanted Kami’s DNA to represent all the faces and aspects of these women with down syndrome, which the program allowed us to do," he explained. 

With a prototype in place, the final phase of creating Kami was the intricate process of creating her human features in 3D form, from microfibre brows to eyelashes and real-life skin textures. From this point on, the brand explained that Kami becomes a 3D avatar that can take on many different forms and be imported into different platforms. James-Wilson added that creating characters like Kami signified a challenge to the many layers of digital interface that currently lack inclusivity. We need to address some of the glaring problems in this space and build the online world we want for the future," he added. 

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