Earlier this summer, Serena Williams introduced a new baby into her life. In turn, her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr., has also introduced a new baby into the Ohanian-Williams household—only she’s made of plastic and her name is Qai Qai.
That’s right, Olympia’s doll Qai Qai (pronounced “Kway Kway,” in case you were wondering) has garnered enough attention in that family to earn her own Instagram account (an honor bestowed upon Olympia herself the moment she came into this world on September 1, 2017). For months, she carried Qai Qai around the house, treating the doll as if she was her baby, as babies with dolls are wont to do. So Qai Qai’s “grandparents,” Williams and Alexis Ohanian, Sr., got the bright idea to capture content involving Qai Qai and eventually started Instagram and Twitter accounts in the doll’s name.
In August 2018, the Instagram account started off with photos of Qai Qai in various positions of distress after Olympia left her behind for presumably more interesting toys to play with, and eventually turned into a full blown character study. Qai Qai has developed her own personality and adopted the idioms and customs of Internet-speak, making cultural references to Toy Story, Beyoncé‘s Lemonadeand Ariana Grande. These are references that only an experienced social media user would make in the captions and quoted tweets she’s been posting for the past few months.
After a couple months of posting to Instagram, a CGI rendering of Qai Qai was added to the mix. Then Olympia began to play with her plush puppy toy instead of the doll, all bets were off, and her personality evolved to become as cheeky as an engineered character with an Instagram account could be. Lil Miquela should watch her back because Qai Qai is not one to play with.
Eventually, after gaining nearly 70,000 followers on Instagram, Qai Qai turned her attention away from the plush dog toy that has seemingly stolen her spotlight in Olympia’s life, and towards a philanthropic effort. She even has her own merch, for which all proceeds go towards the Zoe, the 12-year-old founder of Zoe’s dolls, and her goal of giving away brown dolls to brown girls.
As for the question of whether or not it’s Ohanian or Williams running Qai Qai’s account, the results are technically inconclusive. There are photographs of just Williams with Qai Qai and photos of just Ohanian with Qai Qai, but also photos of the whole family together on Williams’s account. But considering the fact that Ohanian is an original Redditor (he co-founded the social platform) and an adroit social media user with a nuanced understanding of Internet colloquialisms and memes, it’s probably him. Or maybe Olympia is simply a baby genius.