27 Apr 2017

Lilly Singh not pressing pause on being 'bawse'

From Nine To Noon, 10:07 am on 27 April 2017

Having never wanted a nine to five job, Lilly Singh, better known by her digital moniker Superwoman, says she’s now working 24/7.

The 28-year-old Canadian comedian, actress and YouTube star has an impressive following - 2 million Twitter fans , 6 million followers on Instagram, and her videos have been viewed over 1.5 billion times.

no caption

Photo: Lilly Singh

Singh's latest venture is writing a no-nonsense manual for millennials - called How to be a Bawse.

The bawse she refers to her in her book, represents the best version of oneself, across all facets of their life, she says.

“It’s a play on the word boss… which you think of someone in the workplace, that is in control and lays the standard down, but a bawse is someone who treats every facet of their life like that.

“They control every aspect of their life and they want to execute it the best they can.”

Singh began her YouTube career in 2010, just after she had finished university and she had lost some of her creative spark.

She says it was a sad time for her until she discovered YouTube, and began to post videos which made her happy.

“I remembered what it felt like to do something creative that I enjoyed.”

The book discusses her depression at the time, which she says was interesting to write about.

“I feel like I’ve come so far since that time that reflecting on that period felt almost a bit foreign to me.”

Singh says found she’s much happier when she is unapologetically herself.

“It’s easy to post double-chin selfies on Instagram and say ‘I’m silly, I’m myself’, but being unapologetically yourself means that you are not embarrassed of your emotions, you’re not embarrassed of your flaws, you can openly communicate them, because you understand that’s how you are and that’s OK.”

These days Singh says she’s in a happy place, where she can reflect positively on the past seven years of her career.

“I feel like these lessons need to go on paper now.”

no caption

Photo: Lilly Singh

She says one of the key lessons she’s learned is that everything requires work.

“We all know that, but I don’t think we treat everything in life like that.

“Whatever terrifies you, and whatever you’re nervous doing, is what you should do.”

She says her success came only after she got the courage to really be herself in her videos.

“Be brave enough to fail, in your comfort zone.”

But Singh says it’s likely that there will never be a day where there’s not negative comments on her videos.

“Anyone who writes something negative under a stranger’s YouTube video that is just blatantly mean, is really just telling their own story. They’re not telling mine.

“Because a happy person doesn’t do those things.”

When writing the book she expected her readers to be a similar demographic to those who watched her YouTube channel; predominantly females, aged 15 to 24.

But she says early feedback indicates it appeals to a much broader audience, but she’s trained herself to focus on what deserves her attention.

“I really think it’s anyone who is either starting something new in their life or really feels like they just want to improve themselves.”

Singh has had to learn to manage her content, as it’s tempting to put her whole life on the internet, she says.

“But to keep mentally sane you still have to draw a line for yourself and you still have to be who you are and not put on a façade for the camera.”

She works incredibly hard on her career, saying that while she never wanted a 9 to 5 job, she now has a 24-7 job.

“You always have to be on, social media does not turn off.”

Additionally, she says there’s a huge amount of content being uploaded to YouTube, so to stay relevant she has to be consistent.

The reach of her fan base continues to surprise her every day.

“I will meet someone that I am a huge fan of, and they will already know who I am, and it is shocking to me.”

Her favourite fans are children as she says she’s often a fan of their parents.

Singh says she is in a wonderful position where she can influence young women and her #GirlLove challenge, where she encouraged women on social media to support one another, was part of an effort to make good use of it.

Along with giving her the opportunity to write a book, Singh’s Youtube channel has taken her on two world tours, allowed her to make cameo appearances in some Hollywood films, led her to meet Michelle Obama at the White House and discuss the world with Bill Gates.

“More than anything I think it’s led me to meet a lot of my idols and have the opportunity to kind of make them my mentors.

“I made little Lilly very proud I think, and that’s the best part of my job.”

Lily Singh is performing live in Auckland at Bruce Mason Centre on 21 May.