CNN: A Virtual (fashion-model) employee

Xxxzx Xyyxyz musides at
Wed Aug 25 18:18:18 MDT 1999

August 24, 1999
  Web posted at: 5:21 p.m. EDT (2121 GMT)

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Her employers call her the perfect

fashion model, the perfect employee: Webbie Tookay is never

late, never too tired to work and has no personal life to

interfere with her job.

Not surprisingly, Webbie Tookay is not real.

Elite Models, the worldwide agency that launched the careers

of supermodels Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Naomi

Campbell, now has Webbie Tookay, a computer-generated animated

mannequin that can show up anywhere, anytime.

The centerpiece of a new division of Elite called Illusion

2K -- Virtual Models and Actress Management, she is available to

pose for advertisements or fashion shows on the World Wide Web,

in print or in films.

"She is never too tired to work, and she is available all

the time. She can be in many places at the same time, so we don't

have a problem scheduling her," Luciana Abreu, a partner in

Illusion 2K, a Sao Paulo, Brazil, company that teamed up with

Elite, told Reuters.

"Also, she does not have a personal life that interferes

with her work, and she doesn't age, and she doesn't gain weight,"

Abreu said in an interview at Elite's offices in New York.

Could all of this perfection crumble if the Y2K

millennium bug strikes Webbie Tookay when the year 2000 turns?

Her designers say no, she is Y2K compliant.

The millennium bug arises because many older computers use

only the last two digits of a year to record dates. Unless

corrected, such systems could treat 2000 as 1900, generating

errors or system crashes on January 1.

She supports the environment, birth control

Created by Swedish designer Steven Stahlberg, the virtual

model has "perfect measurements," Abreu said. "It was decided

to give her the major tendencies of today's models. She is not

that skinny. And she has well-defined breasts, well-defined

hips," Abreu said.

She is a combination of a voluptuous blond European, a

Latina and an Asian. And Webbie Tookay not only looks good

but has her own opinions about things. She would never wear fur,

for example.

"We are very proud of her personality and her character,"

Abreu said. "She has environmental concerns, she is for birth

control; and besides, she looks very pretty."

The Illusion 2K company was formed in July, and its first

"Webbie Planet" Web site integrates video,

text and photos of Webbie Tookay with different looks, modeling services and

entertainment. Other "virtual top models" from the

Illusion 2K stable, including male models, are expected to join
Webbie Tookay in the coming year.

Where www doesn't stand for World Wide Web

This is one site where WWW does not stand for World Wide

Web. Instead, it is the acronym for What We Wear, a virtual

store with the virtual top model demonstrating her exclusive

products found only on the Internet.

The company said it wants to attract people ages 14 to 25

to a site featuring leading clothing manufacturers and

the consumers' own preferences, behavior, activities and


Three other sections of Webbie Planet, all hosted by Webbie

Tookay, are the digital magazine Webbie News; theater, movie and

other leisure activities on Webbie Fun; and Webbie Cine News,

designed to be shown in three-minute segments in movie


"We want to develop a relationship. Visitors to the Web

site will become Webbie's friends, and they will give her

information. We're going to create a community who are Webbie's

friends," Abreu said.


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