Neither in real life nor on social media, not even in the metaverse does Jessica Goicoechea pay attention to third parties’ opinions. Not in any ecosystem or context. The Spanish model, influencer and businesswoman, who openly recognises using Instagram as a work tool she benefits from (until her audience replaces her) talks from her popularity throne, and she does not mince her words on the controversial universe of social media. And even though she’s not convinced by the idea of living in a parallel reality, she's clear about one thing when visualising her hypothetical future. If she were to start from scratch, she would be a complete unknown. Just as long as she enjoys doing her job. We talk with Jessica about the uncertainty of the future, the rise of digitisation and the resulting dehumanisation, moments before she chooses her favourite looks from Les Benjamins, which she wears in this stunning photoshoot along with some garments from her own fashion brand Goi.
Interview taken from METAL Magazine issue 46. Adapted for the online version. Order your copy here.
Jessica, although the future is uncertain, it feels as though it is now especially hard to foresee what our reality will look like in a few years time. There’s no denying that were living in very challenging times. What comes to mind when I mention the word future?
I feel overwhelmed and I try not to think about it. I live in the present but when I think of the future I imagine a stable life, having achieved my goals. It's not something that I think about often.
You say that you try to live in the present moment but, how do you manage to do that with such a tight schedule? With so many obligations, does your mind work like a diary?
That’s exactly why I don’t have time to think about the future. I already have my hands full with the present (laughs).
We’re now holding a conversation face-to-face, sharing a space and time. This is something that could become unheard of as we start moving to a more digital-centric existence? Replaced by life- size avatars, doesn’t that scare you?
It scares me a lot, I’m not looking forward to it. I prefer face- to-face interactions. I like being social, but it also drains me. But I would never change it for the virtual world.
But, in a sense, we already live in a virtual world on social media already? It runs our lives...
I think that’s different, right? Social media is just a tool. We give off or sell an impression of ourselves that isn't exactly as we are, or we don’t share pictures when we’re feeling down. We only let the beautiful or idyllic be seen, and in reality we all have our own issues. But I don't think it's the same as the metaverse.
Virtual meetings, digital events or livestreaming classes, they have all become part of our day-to-day life in the last couple of years. But some people have not yet got used to this way of interacting with each other, how have you lived through this? Has this made you anxious?
Not really, I already have Sandra, my rep, for that (laughs). We’re always overwhelmed, we work on so many things. And if we can save time by videocalling each other, then it’s better. If we're really busy we'll do a videocall, but we usually try to live in the moment as we mostly have face-to-face meetings.
You’ve said that we tend to only share ourselves on social media when we’re feeling good. Those moments of joy and happiness almost completely overshadow unpleasant experiences and events. I understand then that you don't see social media as an accurate reflection of our reality, right?
No, it’s definitely filtered. We’re now normalising selling naturalness or acting natural, through our emotions. People are sharing posts of themselves crying, for example, but I truly think that social media's done a lot of harm. It has created a lot of insecurities and co-dependence for the sake of selling a perfect, unreal life.
Do emotions sell?
It seems like it. We're now trying to normalise certain things, but I don’t really understand the sake of sharing, for example, a picture of yourself crying on social media. If I cry, I’ll share it with my people, my close friends. I won’t share it to millions of followers.
Do you take your Instagram page as a showcase of your personal life? Or is it just a platform strictly dedicated to your professional life?
I don’t share when I'm really happy, neither when I’m really sad. I share my work and that’s it. It’s totally a work tool, I don’t share my life on Instagram, nobody knows.
And you don’t understand why those pages that are selling their personal life would also share their difficult moments? They could be helping their followers understand that they're not always going to be happy and feeling amazing, right?
I know there’s nothing wrong with that, I respect it, however, I would never do that.
Would you say that we’re becoming less human? Are we becoming more detached from our emotions?
I think so. Especially in the metaverse that everyone’s talking about. Now that everything’s technology, online, parallel universes... Yes, of course, we’re becoming less human.
FOMO comes to mind, the fear of not being everywhere at all times. It’s a feeling that turns intro stress and hateful comparisons. Have you had that feeling before? How have you worked through it?
I’m very easygoing in that sense. I’m not the kind of person interested in other people’s lives. I use Instagram as a work tool and when I want to switch off and calm down I turn off my phone. I also disconnect from what other people are doing.
And how do you manage that? How do you switch off?
I disconnect on weekends. There was a time in my life when I wanted to erase myself from everywhere but, of course, my work doesn't allow that. But I've learnt how to cope with it thanks to Sandra. We worked together in a way that I didn't have to be present on social media. She would publish what we had agreed on with brands. I was out for two weeks or so, it helped me.
You now speak a lot about those people who support you, who help you when you need them and who make you feel connected to reality. But has it been hard to find that group of people that have let you be and express your feelings freely?
It’s been hard, for sure. I went through a lot of people before I found Sandra, more than anything. She's my right-hand woman, she's everything to me.
More and more people are talking about the consolidation of the virtual world as our new home, a space where we will spend the majority of our time working and interacting with our peers. Do you think this could make our lives easier?
I don’t agree with that, I'm scared to reach that point. I’m scared that we will eventually normalise the metaverse world, I can’t wrap my head around having another virtual reality, it’s tough.
Let’s imagine for a moment that the metaverse enters our lives and that we have no choice but to adapt ourselves and begin to participate in it. What would your avatar wear? First impressions in the metaverse, just like in the physical world, are really important.
It depends on the occasion, just like in normal life. I’d wear one of those transparent sunset dresses and pretty girl makeup, so natural makeup (laughs). For my hair, I’d wear a huge ponytail and my hair would be super long.
Another feature that defines this new reality is the constant interactions with other individuals. Let’s imagine that we have landed in this new ecosystem. Who would you look for first and why?
Sandra, because she’d be just like me (laughs). Lost.
It’s hard for me to imagine how we’ll be able to juggle life as we know it with virtual life. Will we have time for everything or will end up neglecting our physical reality? What do you think
I already have a hard time juggling normal life, so you can imagine virtual life...
And how do you feel now? How are you?
I think I'm doing really good taking into account everything I've been through. And what I'm still going through.
You use social media strictly as a work tool. But in the end, your audience is not a big part of your life, which might be why they sometimes have a hard time understanding the reason behind some of your actions.
When I disappeared from social media, some people asked me about it. They know already I’m not the type to explain myself. I don't go talking about my life, I’m not worried about that. I don't feel obliged to explain why I sometimes disappear, when I need a break I just take it and that's it.
So, I have a question. Now that we're talking about your hypothetical arrival to the metaverse, do you see yourself as a public figure, just like in real life, or like a complete unknown?
I imagine myself starting from scratch, as if nobody knew who I was. I wouldn’t mind it just as long as I have a job I like. When I talk about what I like doing, I mean modelling rather than social media. I don’t talk about social media, that’s something that happened, organically, it’s a work tool with which I seize the moment. It’s going really well, of course, but my passion is working in fashion with my own brand, as a model.
Did you always know that social media was a temporary thing?
Yes, I’ve always been aware of it. At some point in my life it will end, that's why I have my business which I dedicate most of my time to, everyday.
Talking about fashion, the first Metaverse Fashion Week was held not that long ago. If you had the ability to create a fashion week from scratch in this new virtual realm, what would it look like? Do we have to redefine this concept?
We have to redefine the concept of the metaverse! (Laughs). I think it's awful, it reminds me of Black Mirror. I wouldn’t do a runway show for my brand in the metaverse, it’d do it in real life. With real people! Obviously everyone has to evolve in their field, in what we're interested in. But I wouldn't know where to start.
Let’s start at your work space. You would obviously have to think of what your office would look like. From choosing the colour of the walls to the furniture and plants. How do you imagine that?
Just like what we’re doing. We’re building a showroom, the upper part of our offices. And everything, everything, everything is pink.
What would you change from your avatar in respect to your current self?
Physically, my height; I’d add five centimetres. I’d actually have foxy eyes and I’d lighten my eye colour. I’d make them greener.
And personality wise?
I’d tone down my shyness, I’d make myself more extroverted. I wouldn’t become the life of the party though... Maybe I’d also tone down a bit my impulsiveness, sometimes I get these impulses. Sometimes they work well, other times they don't. But I wouldn't get rid of it completely, just a bit.
I’m sure the way that you interpret the world has also changed over time. Do you remember the Jessica that first landed on social media for the first time? What has changed since then?
I’m not as shy as back then.
Do you feel more self-confident?
No, I’ve always felt very self-confident.
And more easygoing?
No, I’ve always been very easygoing. If I were any more easygoing that’d be too much (laughs). But I would get rid of my bad luck.
Why bad luck? Have you been jinxed?
Bad things happen to me...
Do you think the end of social media is near, or will it continue to evolve and will new platforms appear constantly?
I think there’ll always be something of sorts, everything will keep evolving. I don't know where we're going, I haven’t stopped to think of where they’re leading us. I live in the present.
And even if you stay in touch with the present, if you stop and visualise the future, where do you see yourself in 20 years? Do you know what your goals are?
I don’t see myself in the metaverse, that’s for sure (laughs). I see myself in real life. I see myself having achieved my professional goals. I’ll keep working in what I love, but maybe I’ll be less stressed out. With a husband who loves and takes care of me. With kids, with dogs. And a very calm and very healthy life.