I spoke with some friends; Shon Charisma, BJayy Resident, SerenaKasumy Brongniart and Lanai Jarrico about our Second Life avatars and if they resemble our real life selves, this is what we came up with.
Does your avatar look like your real life self?
Shon: ‘In skin tone, a little, but not much else. I did, however, want to have an avatar that reflected my African-American heritage. It took me awhile to find a nice skin for that. I also didn't want her to have a perfect little nose, so her nose is kinda like mine as is the set of her mouth. So, I guess facially, we have some similarities.’
BJayy: ‘Not at all, she is her own cyber person with her own special style.’
Serena: ‘I recently changed my avatar's look (new shape, skin and hair). I don't think it can look alike to my real life, but I have been told in the past, by some friends, there is always something that reminds of my real life self.’
Lanai: ‘Back when I started in 2005 my avatar did not resemble me in any way. She had a pastey looking skin and blonde hair. It was always in a sloppy bun. My eyes were grey and I some awkwardly wide hips. It was a shape given to me by a friend to cleanse me of the newbie look. About 2 years ago, Ivy Maverick of Maverick Designs created an avatar for me based on RL pictures and I’ve been in my own pixilated skins, hair and style ever since.’
Pandora: ‘In a lot of ways yes, even though it wasn’t intentional, Pandora is a younger version of my real life self, she is also taller, but yes she is a lot like me.’
Is your avatars personality similar to your real life self?
Shon: ‘Yes, very. I am creative and like taking in all things creative. In real life, I write, I sing, I play with scripting and movies. Here in-world, I write, I script, and I make movies. I'm a pretty funny and quiet person, and once I get to know people, I can be a bit crazy. This is the same in-world, too.’
BJayy: ‘No, I am very outgoing in real life; in Second Life my avatar has a much more reserved personality which is strange because usually it is the other way around.’
Lanai: ‘I am the same person whether I log in or I’m off living my real life. I mind and handle my business and I’m not a fan of drama. I can be a bit assertive when it comes to my expectations and goals. That is what works for me in both lives. In SL, since I’ve spent most of my “virtual career” on the business side of the grid. I conduct myself like a professional. When I’m not working, I’m a bit more laid back and share more of myself with my closest friends. I think it is safe to say, we all adjust to our environments, as far as personality. This is me from the inside out’.
Pandora: ‘Exactly the same. I really do live my life through her and she speaks on my behalf. I have done some photographic modeling and professional dancing in real life and I love writing, Pandora has simply helped me to expand on that within Second Life.’
When buying clothes or hair styles for your avatar do you usually choose clothes / hair that you would in real life?
Shon: ‘Partially. In real life, I'm not a real girly girl, so I don't done the dresses and killer heels, though I do dream of being a pretty princess, LOL. My avatar plays that princess for me. But she also plays the sporty girl who rocks t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers, and that's what I do, a lot, in the real world.’
Lanai: ‘I have a wide variety of clothes and outfits here in Second Life and my RL closet is an assortment of casual, formal and business. I wouldn’t exactly say I dress like a Winter Fairy, roman goddess or own a playboy bunny outfit, but I have been known to dress up like a lady cop or a freaky masked doll in a tutu for RL Halloween parties. I do own outfits very similar to what I wear in SL, like heels, sundresses, jeans, sunglasses, and a cool black winter coat that is almost a replica’.
Pandora: ‘I didn’t at first, then I came across some hair and clothes that were identical to a few looks and styles I had used in real life, having said that I do not wear shoes in real life very much and Pandora never goes anywhere in Second Life without shoes.’
How do you see your avatar / as an extension of you or is your avatar totally different?
Shon: ‘She's definitely an extension of me as she ventures on to do a lot of what I do in real life in-world. In fact, my avatar's work in machinima makes my real self VERY eager to do more movie making in real life. I'm excited to see what I might get into in the future because of how sparked my avatar makes me for this endeavor.’
BJayy: ‘She is an extension in a sense, as I am the person driving the avatar, so yes I guess so.’
Serena: ‘I think it would be kind of both things. Most of people look forward to do things you wouldn't do in real life.’
Lanai: “My avatar is an extension of my life for sure. If it wasn’t for virtual worlds and the ability to report news in them, then I would have never realized my niche for media, writing and mass communications. Because of that, it inspired me to enroll in college. I graduated with my Associates of Arts with a background in business and now currently in my Bachelors of Science with a foundation in communication and technology. The experiences I’ve learned here have helped me thru school tremendously as well as landing a fashion blogging job in RL’.
Pandora: ‘She is SO much an extension of my real life self, Pandora is my virtual version of me.’
Do you use one main style of avatar or do you change your look from time to time?
Shon: ‘I tend to use the same avatar. It took awhile for me to get a body and a skin that I like, and she is ME. Occasionally, I might want to be a vamp and change up for that. Sometimes, for performances, I need to be a man, so I don him, but for the most part, there is ONE me.’
BJayy: ‘I never change BJayy’s look, in fact when her style was finally completed I decided not to make any more changes. I like her as she is.’
Serena: ‘I love to change styles, since I have more than one favorite, although there is always a few things about my avatar that will always remain. (For example: My eyes & tattoos).’
Lanai: ‘I don’t change my skin or shape but on occasions I will change my hair style. I always use the same store and color pack. I like to be dressed in business attire for the most part and have gone days without changing. I guess I’m not all about vanity; I’m too busy exploring cool stuff around the grid. Shopping isn’t my favorite thing to do’.
Pandora: ‘I did try different styles of fantasy avatars, a Demoness, a Na’vi, a Mermaid and a Neko to name a few, my favorite fantasy look would have to be a Mermaid, Pandora is also a model in Second Life, so sometimes I will need to change her look, but at the end of the day she’s a jeans and tank top girl with big, messy hair and wicked high heels.’
If your avatar resembles someone else in real life e.g. a celebrity / who would it be?
BJayy: ‘I think that she is a combination of a few people. Daryl Hannah, Marilyn Monroe and Deborah Harry were ideas in my head for the concept of BJayy’s look. I am not saying that BJayy is not me, more to the point she is everything that I would like to be in real life.’
Pandora: ‘No one that I can think of, she is me through and through. Pandora is my creation and she is one of a kind to me.’
I would like to thank everyone for their input, it’s interesting to see that while some people’s avatars are an exact replica of themselves others are so far from the person’s real life self, but it is diversity and variety which makes our Second Life so unique and lets us be whoever we choose to be.