Giselle Mota could see pale complexions and slim hips. She glimpsed fine, straight hair and a parade of bodies that bore little resemblance to her own. She has built her career in emerging technologies, so it’s no shock to her to realize she is the sole woman of color—and sometimes, woman, period—in a room.

But the problem this time was different. Here was a room to which she could not gain access at all.

Mota wasn’t rooting around for her ticket to an exclusive conference or hoping for an invite to an important meeting. She was trying to build an avatar to enter a digital universe—one of a growing number that allows users to experience alternate realities in a virtual landscape. But Mota, an entrepreneur and futurist, couldn’t make one. She is a Black woman. These avatars seemed to hail from Scandinavia.

Kerry Washington covers the MC Identity issue

(Image credit: Breyona Holt)

“No one like me,” Mota recalls, with a rueful laugh. “Nothing kind of short, stout, with big hair. No big lips, curves. None of that.”


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