Lilly Singh or IISuperwomanII as she is better known, started her YouTube journey in 2010 when she filmed a video from her room at her parents' house in Toronto; she'd already decided to pursue a career in front of the camera instead of finishing her university degree. The decision sure paid off — seven years later, she has become the highest paid YouTuber of all time with more than 11 million subscribers on her channel. She has even collaborated with the likes of Bill Gates and Priyanka Chopra.
After a cavalcade of videos, in some of which she talks about how to battle depression (Singh has openly discussed her journey of conquering depression), it was no surprise when she decided to write a guide to 'conquering life.'
Her first book, titled How To Be ABawse, offers a glimpse at her personal struggles and her rise to YouTube stardom. She also offers #lifehacks 'to conquer fear and life' with her usual humorous, pop-culture references filled take on things.
Firstpost met up with Lilly when she was on the Indian leg of her book tour.
Dressed in a simple blue top and shiny silver shoes, she talked to us about her book and her rise to stardom.
Of how she came up with the title of her book, Lilly said: "I knew I wanted it to be a guidebook. I really liked the word 'boss' but I felt 'boss' is very much associated with the workplace, and I wanted the title to be about something that encompasses life in general and I love rock and hip-hop. So I put the two together and decided to go with 'Bawse' (rhymes with floss) because it so widely used in hip-hop and rap."
Singh's videos, like a lot of YouTube celebrities, are a trifecta of comedy, confession and rants. Her approach is filled with pop culture references, her style is to 'keep it real and grounded' and her approach is honest.
She told us how she picked the subject of her comedy: "Well it comes from observing everything around me, it also comes from suggestions from my fans as well. But many of my ideas are from observing things around me, and on based on things I find funny. Like the video, 'Signs You're Competitive AF'. That's literally me fighting over playing a game. And I think, if it happens to me in my day, it probably happens to someone else too."
How does she get into the skin of the different characters she portrays on screen? She says, "Hmmmm, I really have to get into the outfit of the character to become like them. I have to adjust myself and look at myself for two seconds and then I can turn into whomsoever I want."
Singh often uses a version of her parents on screen to show how Indian parents would react to situations (like her video 'Indian Parents Explain How Babies Are Born' and 'My Parents Give You Last Minute Halloween Costume Ideas')
She has repeatedly told the media that she is not portraying *her parents* in her videos, and she tells us how her actual parents are completely different from the onscreen versions she portrays. She tells us, "My dad watches my videos religiously — well, too religiously. My dad will try and give me suggestions. My mom will bring it up if I make a dirty joke in a video. But other than that, they are quite okay with what I do."
What sets her apart from the rest of the crowd is that she uses her ethnicity as an advantage. Singh has conflicting no views about her ethnicity because when you take a look at her videos, she is always loud and proud about her Indian heritage. She says, "I always said that my biggest advantage and biggest disadvantage has always been my ethnicity. I remember when I started out people started looking at my videos by saying, 'Oh there is this South Asian girl on YouTube'. And it is hard to get away from that label. I mean I have a name, I do things, I'm more than just being a brown girl!"
With trolls and cyberbullying being a large part of the Internet, Singh began a campaign to break the cycle of girl-on-girl hate and encourage positivity amongst each other. She started a #GirlLove and collaborated with the likes of Michelle Obama (Getting Schooled By Michelle Obama | #GirlLove (Ep.3)) to spread awareness about women empowerment.
Does cyber bullying get to her? How does she deal with the negative comments she gets on YouTube? She sighs, "Well, statistically the good, positive comments outweigh the bad ones; there can be 10,000 good comments and just 3 to 4 bad ones but human nature makes us focus on the three bad ones, and I am trying to overcome that. I am getting to that, trying to shift focus from the positive to the negative. But yes, there are way more positive comments than the negative ones. I'm very lucky to say that is the way it is one my channel."
When asked about her future plans, she says it's 'world domination.' She laughs and says, "I'd like to write, direct and do so much. I would like to produce videos with higher production values."
Lilly seems to follow the philosophy she's outlined in How to be a Bawse, in real life as well. She is always positive, and ready to face life head-on. Superwoman, indeed.
Published Date: Apr 22, 2017 11:44 am | Updated Date: Apr 22, 2017 11:44 am