Jedy Vales isn't your average 23-year-old porn enthusiast, but most of that can probably be chalked up to the fact that she's decidely not real. The result of YouPorn's desire to interact with their members in an unexpected new way, Jedy is the platform's first-ever avatar, brand ambassador, and virtual community member.
Brought to life via a laundry list of tech applications and techniques facilitated by Camasutra VR (i.e. unreal engine, webGL, motion capture, photogrammetry, and machine learning), she's an upbeat, former "communications major" with a lot of cheek and a mission to reach one million followers — at which time she'll upload an X-rated video on Modelhub.
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And though her existence presents some potential quandaries — especially as one can argue that her presence has the potential to facilitate unrealistic standards and caters to the hetero-male gaze — we wanted to ask her a little bit about the deeper implications of her creation, as well as what it's like being the first adult virtual influencer, how she came to be, and what she thinks of her IRL comrades. Read our interview with her, below.
Why do you think everyone is obsessed with digital influencers now?
I think we have always been obsessed with any "new" tech; the obsession with influencers in general has obviously grown since all these social platforms have popped up where people can control their own online presence and even profit from it. Consumers have become increasingly aware of the digital influencers that live among us in the virtual world. We're bombarded on our social media feeds everyday — and with the capability and ever-increasing trend of real-life people editing photos to create a perfect digital life, it's already this reality that only exists online. There's something really honest about knowing when something is "fake" and playing into the fantasy, aware that it is a fantasy, no blurred lines around "is this person real or fake?"
That being said, digital influencers are hard to wrap your head around because we look real, act real, participate in real-life experiences, and yet do not exist outside of a screen, but your experience with us is very real. I think that's what makes us so intriguing, though.
"Digital influencers are hard to wrap your head around because we look real, act real, participate in real-life experiences, and yet do not exist outside of a screen."
What do you think you bring to YouPorn that an IRL influencer wouldn't?
I bring a completely unique layer of technology and personality to YouPorn that no other IRL influencer would. Not only do I bring a level of flexibility and breadth other types of influencers cannot match, I will be the first to interact within sexual contexts and engage with users by sharing my day-to-day life across both conventional social platforms, and adult sites like Modelhub.
Even my name is irreplaceable to the adult entertainment industry. YouPorn used its data science and machine learning to curate what the next generation of porn performers would call themselves, and the AI predicted Jedy Vales. That being said, I am the result of so much IRL influence, you can't have the virtual influencers without the IRL influencers.
Do you think we'll be seeing a lot more digital ambassadors like you in the next few years?
Absolutely. Gone are the days of virtual characters being restricted to only movies or video games. For brands, it's becoming increasingly difficult to navigate today's social landscape. For YouPorn specifically, and for other brands in the years to come, taking an avenue like me, a digital influencer, will be one of the top considered options when trying to circumnavigate this issue. Have you not met KFC's Colonel Sanders yet? I really want to. It's on.
"Have you not met KFC's Colonel Sanders yet? I really want to. It's on."
How would you respond to critics who label things like digital porn and AR-related porn endeavors as gimmicks?
Only time will tell! It's like when people thought a credit card would never replace cash or that people would never own their own computers. Today's phones are already powerful enough to scan any place or person into game engine-ready assets, and machine learning tools are understanding more and more about what makes YouPorn users watch our content. I think it is important to be critical about these things, and it is a great responsibility we have to move forward with special attention to the impact we might have.
Online porn has, arguably, always been a driving force in terms of tech development and innovation (i.e. the way it revolutionized online payment processing). Do you see yourself as part of this legacy? Why do you think digital influencing is the future?
Yes. Porn has always been at the forefront of the technology industry, and will continue to hold its place as a key leader through consistent, and creative innovations like me. We will be studied in universities, maybe taught with virtual teacher assistants.
That said, there have been some concerns in terms of digital influencers creating unrealistic standards for women. Add this concern to porn and some could argue that introducing perfect, digital influencers into the space will ultimately be harmful and cause people to have unrealistic expectations when it comes to sex and porn. How would you respond to these concerns?
YouPorn doesn't claim to know the answers to all of the questions about what this tech means for humanity. I think where virtual influencers are at right now, is mirroring where we are as a society. We are problematic, we have lots to work on, specifically within creating unrealistic standards for women. I know that I was created based on physical characteristics and traits most sought after by YouPorn users. What I can say is, YouPorn prides itself on making sure users feel safe and welcome to enjoy whatever sexual content they like, and they've done this in the past by banning hate-speech, revenge porn, and eliminating PII.
"I think where virtual influencers are at right now, is mirroring where we are as a society."
When do you think we'll be getting a digital male influencer in porn? What do you think is taking so long?
I just got here! Maybe we should be asking, when are the already existing virtual influencers going to join me in a porn?
Follow Jedy Vales on Instagram (@jedyvales).
Welcome to "Sex with Sandra," a column by Sandra Song about the ever-changing face of sexuality. Whether it be spotlight features on sex work activists, deep dives into hyper-niche fetishes, or overviews on current legislation and policy, "Sex with Sandra" is dedicated to examining some of the biggest sex-related discussions happening on the Internet right now.