"Miss AI": The World's First AI Beauty Pageant

The AI industry is now coming for beauty pageants
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Created by VoiceBox

Published on May 31, 2024
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The AI industry is making moves (again). This time, it’s entering the world of beauty pageants in a shift that may not be surprising.

The World AI Creator Awards launched this year (2024) to ‘recognise the achievements of AI creators around the world’. Its first instalment, the Miss AI Beauty Pageant, is taking place in partnership with Fanvue, a subscription-based OnlyFans competitor known for hosting AI-generated media. The top three winners are promised prizes worth thousands for their (female) AI creations, along with promotional packages and PR support. An outlet for creativity, sure, but some argue the competition is promoting already toxic beauty norms. Let’s explore. 

Toxic Perception Of Women And Unrealistic Beauty Standards

AI beauty pageants are fixated on ‘the fantasy’, creating women through the male lens with little consideration for female reality. Indeed, the World AI Creator Awards are judging contestants based on ‘beauty’ and ‘social clout’ with little thought for authenticity or the negative effect it may have on women and girls. Feeding on the old-school narrative that women exist to be objectified and desired amplifies a toxic perception that so many have fought to eradicate. When AI is such a giant leap forward in technological advancement, its usage can be scarily archaic. 

But it’s not just the male gaze. AI beauty pageants risk underscoring unrealistic beauty standards across the world at a time when some parts of social media are already plagued with facetune and ‘best angles’; although an argument could be made that the artificial nature of AI-generated models helps women and girls separate themselves – and real beauty – from quixotic looks. Afterall, how can you critically compare yourself to something you know isn’t real?

A Pipeline to ‘Ethical’ AI-Generated Sexual Images?

We know that young women have been disproportionately affected by harmful AI usage. Deep fakes, in particular, cause devastation, running rampant in schools and friendship groups, with many questioning when they’re ‘next’ to be targeted. 

The World AI Creator Awards isn’t directly linked to AI-generated porn, but we expect many of the models will go on to make money through adult content on Fanvue and other subscription-based services. Perhaps AI beauty pageants are an opportunity to promote the regulation of AI-generated sexual images. 

The Online Safety Act introduced a law (April 2024) requiring people who create deepfakes to face prosecution – even if they don’t share them. Some, however, have warned the amendments are not enough to prevent image-sharing abuse, with concerns over inadequate policing and lack of safety by design. But because the regulation of AI beauty pageants prohibits creators from stealing the identity of real-life people, could they lead the way in ‘morally conscious’ AI-generated porn? Are they one possible remedy for reducing deep fake harm?

Where Do We Draw The Line At ‘Creativity’?

Did anyone ask for an AI beauty pageant? Does it add value? Yes and no. Developing realistic-looking AI models is a unique and difficult skill to learn, and no one wants to dismiss the hard work of creators; it’s important to recognise talent financially and reputationally. But, arguably, there are other ways to create AI masterpieces without potentially instilling harmful stereotypes or damaging self-esteem. 

It’s also important to acknowledge that beauty pageants are culturally important to many communities across the globe. A huge amount of time and effort goes into them, and they are a testament to the extremes of human physique. It’s fair to question whether it’s okay for AI to take up space in a decades-old art form. What will come next — AI-generated bodybuilders?

Where Next?

AI beauty pageants might be niche, but we suspect Fanvue is only going to get bigger. With OnlyFans increasingly under the spotlight, it’s giving way to challenger platforms that are able to quietly grow their sex-focused services with little intervention. Stay tuned for our investigation into Fanvue and its impact on young people.  

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