My digital life: Actor, AI assistant and fitness trainer Shushila Takao

15 August 2019
By Fashion Quarterly

Shushila Takao My digital life

Tatau and Filthy Rich actor Shushila Takao has become one of the world’s first digital humans through her work with Soul Machines. 

New Zealand actor and model Shushila Takao is at the forefront of technology with her latest role as an AI assistant for Soul Machines, her high-tech avatar helping millions of people troubleshoot issues on their computer with a unique human touch. The ultimate multi-hyphenate, when she’s not in front of the camera, or on your computer, Shushila works as a fitness trainer and a makeup artist for film and TV.

We sat down with Shushila to talk avatars, texting and phone curfews, as she shares a day in her digital life:

How does it feel to have a digital avatar?
It’s a privilege, really, to think that a group of very smart people thought I have what it takes to pull off being a virtual assistant.

What are your five most-used apps?
The Te Reo Māori dictionary, Gmail, Air NZ, Instagram and Facebook.

What’s your phone case style?
Mine is very practical, fitted and soft gel-like – perfect for protecting my phone if it fell.

What phone do you use?
I have a Huawei P10 Plus. It’s been very reliable, the battery lasts well and the camera’s helpful too.

How many emails do you typically send in a day?
Up to seven.

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And texts?
Around 10.

What’s on your playlist?
I’ve been listening to my older brother’s playlist on Spotify. It’s called ‘Old School’ by Hoani Tia Takao and has everything from Fleetwood Mac to Sam Cooke. It’s a real feel-good playlist.

How’s your selfie game?
I have a terrible selfie game. I used to be good in my 20s!

What was the last thing you took a photo of?
Some awesome young ladies who were watching me during a photoshoot at a train station.

What’s your current Instagram screen time?
I feel it’s too long. I use it for inspiration, though, for food, beauty, life hacks…

Do you have any tech rules?
My partner and I tried to instil a ‘no phones after 8pm’ rule, but we work for ourselves, so sometimes they’re hard to ignore.

Are there any digital hacks you’d like to share?
Use your blue light filter – your eyes and mind will be less stimulated.

Any favourite beauty gadgets?
They’d have to be my jade roller and lash curler.

If you could invent a new technology, what would it be?
It’d be like you see in superhero movies – maybe a piece of jewellery that can sense danger and create a barrier of protection for you, and call for help when you need it.

What are your favourite Instagram accounts?
I love food and plant Instagrams, such as @highcarbhealth and Oh, and beauty Instagram @inbeautmag.

What are your top three gadgets
Wireless headphones really help when you want to zone out. I also like my wireless keyboard – I hook up my laptop to my TV and use the keyboard like a remote – and my power bank, which lets me charge gadgets anywhere.

This article originally appeared in Fashion Quarterly Issue 1, 2019.

Interview: Jessica-Belle Greer
Photos: Supplied, Instagram


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