virtual world, they are asked to choose from four basic body types, including "girl/boy next door" and a cute human-bunny
hybrid. From then on, it’s a matter of customizing the avatar, buying skins, hairstyles, makeup sets, and even real-look eyes.
The process is addictive. Sabrina Dent (aka Sabrina Doolittle of online style magazine LindenLifestyles.com) believes this narcissistic avatar fixation is the "crackhead" aspect of Second Life that keeps drawing people into the virtual world.
"While you may be living with middle-aged paunch or cellulite, and have very little call for ball gowns and tuxedos
in your real life, in your second life you can be the most attractive, best-dressed version of yourself you can imagine,"
she says, adding that in real life, she’s no fashionista. "I buy core clothing pieces twice a year and stick to the classics
when I leave the house, but What Not to Wear is probably gunning for me. My favorite outfit is pajamas and bunny slippers — but I love my Second Life bunny slippers every bit as much."
Many residents invest in a variety of skins. "I think the most expensive single thing I have in my inventory is a complete
collection of skins by Starley Thereian. The retail rate for it is over US$100," says Celebrity Trollop of SecondStyle.com. Semi-realistic or hand-drawn skins are
the main options, but trends are moving towards more detailed skins featuring contoured shading and even freckles, made by
in-world skin traders such as FNKY!, PixelDolls, Insolence, RealSKIN, and Simtropia. One maker, adam n eve, has created avatars for the cast of 300, Transformers, and even Bruce Willis, selling handy skin-packs with six makeup schemes included. For something a little different, colored
skins like blue and green and ethnic looks are available from companies such as Skin Within. (And yes, skins do include the
bits down below.)
With so much virtual preening going on, real-world beauty companies are keen to hook up with Second Life, usually via sponsoring a modeling contest or launching a product, as with Calvin Klein’s CKIN2U promo. "L’Oreal actually came in-world and did a long-winded ‘Face of L’Oreal’ contest, complete with contestants modeling clothing
at shows, and it was hugely popular and very successful both as a L’Oreal marketing exercise and as an in-world event," says
Celebrity Trollop is keen to push in-world creativity. "For instance," she says, "a huge consortium of hair stylists contributed
to ‘Hair Fair,’ where over 300 new hairstyles were released over the course of a week." Skin specialist Starley Thereian
also hosted a ‘Face of Style’ competition, and anyone looking to become a virtual model can take the posing tips on Starley’s
site. If only we had so many options in real life.
Summer Vogue Skins by Celestial Studios
Lingerie and Skins by Insolence
Eyes by Simtropia
Isabella Sampaio, the Second Life face of L ‘Oreal
Make-up by Adam n Eve