Aug 02, 2023

Model Lisa Opie uses AI to create Glamour Bulgaria Barbie

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She’s a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world — kind of.

A model used artificial intelligence to create, for the first time ever, an entire magazine cover shoot — in just 20 minutes.

Lisa Opie, 32, a former Miss Virgin Islands from Miami, appears on the August cover of Glamour Bulgaria looking like a futuristic Barbie, just the look she was going for.

“My team and I were kind of putting together the storyboard, and we wanted to do a futuristic Barbie theme, because, first of all, Barbie is, like, my lifestyle and it’s who I am. And with the ‘Barbie’ movie coming out, it was perfect,” she told The Post Wednesday.

While working with her stylist, Joey Rolon, the two discovered an image of a pink Barbie wearing a breastplate, and Opie knew she wanted it for the cover.

But as they searched for the perfect item, they discovered the image had been AI-generated by a woman named Fran H, who goes by @ai_fashion_photos on Instagram.

Opie and her team decided to reach out to Fran in hopes of having her create images using the Japanese American’s face for the Glamour cover shoot.

“So I just sent her a DM, and I was like, ‘Hey, I love your futuristic Barbie AI images. Is there any way you could incorporate my face into a possible magazine cover?’” Opie recalled.

“I didn’t say what it was for, but she was, like, ‘Sure, let’s chat.’ So that’s how it all started.”

After sending in dozens of “mugshots” of her face from every angle, the former beauty pageant winner sat down with her team and Fran while the artist created around 50 images for the cover shoot in roughly 20 minutes.

Although some turned out a little wonky, with misshapen fingers and the like, others turned out better than Opie could have imagined.

“It was super, super easy, and it was really fun, because sometimes it would generate things that you wouldn’t even think of, but you like it better than what your original idea was,” she told The Post.

“It was really fun, and I loved it so much.”

One real image of Opie does appear in the magazine, showing the model posed in a pink flower top with “afro-style” hair, allowing readers to see what she actually looks like.

Opie admits she enjoys the typical “princess treatment” on set, but is ultimately excited about the sustainability AI photoshoots can bring.

Not only did it save her tons of time, but the shoot was zero waste.

Instead of trying on various outfits for the shoot, as was originally planned, the model and business owner simply threw on a pink outfit for her “mugshots” so the AI generator would pick up on the color, making it easier to create the perfect doll-like image and significantly cutting back on the waste of a typical photo shoot.

“I do have a business in fashion, and I know how much waste goes into productions and fashion shows and photo shoots,” the swimwear brand owner said.

“Even just the backdrops, creating a set, flying everybody out [creates environmental waste]. So I think it’ll be a really good way to help the environment with absolutely zero waste going into production.”

The fashion world is known for being one of the biggest contributors to global waste, attributing more than 90 million tons of textile waste per year, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.

The average American alone throws out around 80 pounds of clothing per year, resulting in a garbage truck full of textiles per second being dumped into the country’s landfills.

Although most of fashion’s waste comes through manufacturing, 85% of all textiles are still thrown out, and the amount of waste produced is estimated to increase 60% by 2030, which would create around 150 million tons of garbage per year, according to Fashion Revolution, the world’s largest fashion activism movement.

Despite the positives of her AI-generated shoot, Opie was still “a little bit” worried about the project.

“They did edit the photos a little bit, just to enhance them, make them look a little bit more like me,” she said.

“Fran had to go through all of these pictures and find the best ones, and sometimes they were a little bit off. So what you’re seeing in Glamour is like the best of the best.”

She had her team by her side to retouch the images and creatively direct the project to pick the best outfits and looks for the shoot.

In addition, they didn’t have to worry about the normal photo shoot protocols, like fittings and finding the perfect outfit.

“You’re putting together these looks for a shoot. You’re just like, ‘OK, I like this, I like this. I don’t know how this would fit my body. Is it gonna work? Do we have to clip it in the back?’ We have to do fittings, we have to find the right pieces, but with AI, you just give it a prompt … and then it would just generate multiple images for you to choose from.”

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“So, it was, like, whatever you’re thinking in your mind when you’re putting together a vision board for a photo shoot was already created for you, and you just pick a look that you like, and it was already done.”

Although Opie is an avid user of AI generators in her own businesses and believes it can “enhance” operations, she’s not blind to the pitfalls of the growing field.

Just this week alone, she knows two people who had AI-generated fake nudes leaked and acknowledged the field is the “wild, wild West.”

“Legally, they might have to focus on legislation to just keep it under control, because there is a gray area there. But I think that people do need to be protected because AI is such a wild, wild West right now, and we don’t know what’s going to happen in that aspect.”

Although she hasn’t had her own AI-mishap just yet, she said she knows it can happen and would feel “violated” if she found herself in a similar situation.

“I’ve had pictures of me in a swimsuit that aren’t that flattering circulated and things like that on the wrong site, so it’s part of my life. I’m OK, like, I can adapt to that. But at the same time, if it’s something a little bit more, I would definitely feel violated.”

She’s also aware that using AI in business could also negatively impact jobs, essentially cutting out the need for photographers and set designers and more in the fashion world.

She used her own stylist on set and thinks it’s important to continue to in order to protect jobs.

And she does believe AI needs some regulations, especially regarding nudity.

“I love what it can do, but at the same time we have to be really, really careful.”

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