(July 14, 2021, 2:15 pm)
“Waddup everyone! It’s your girl, Superwoman!”, that’s how Lilly Singh erupted on YouTube in 2010. It was in her final year of graduation that Singh stumbled upon the world of YouTube thanks to fellow YouTuber Jenna Marbles whose video encouraged her to get out of her shell. At 22, the Indian-Canadian took the plunge under the moniker Superwoman, and as they say, the rest is history.
From becoming an overnight star on YouTube with her 11-year-old viral video to creating history by being the first woman of color to be a late-night host on a major network, Singh has attained a global status in recent years. In a decade-long journey, the 32-year-old has added many feathers to her hat – a YouTuber, author, rapper, comedian, and now, a TV show host.
Her Global Indian journey
In a conversation with NBC News, she said:
“As a creator of something, I’ve really had to stand strong and say this is my authentic journey. Especially being a minority woman, I feel like if I’m saying, as an Indian woman, this part of my story is important, I’m gonna really, really fight for that because there’s not many of us and I want to make sure how I’m being portrayed is authentic.”
Struggle with depression
But not many know that it was her struggle with depression that pushed Singh towards making videos on YouTube. However, it took her a while to reveal the struggle on YouTube.
In a conversation with People, the Global Indian said:
“So it was difficult to include it, but the reason I started making videos was because I was coming out of depression – and I thought there’s probably so many other people out there that experience the exact same thing and no one talks about it. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s a part of life – the ups and downs – and I really wanted people to start talking about it so I thought I’m going to lead by example. I’m going to openly talk about it.”
Giving wings to the American dream
In 2015, Singh moved to Los Angeles to extend her wings. Within few months, she partnered with a cosmetics company Smashbox and brought her audience to the brand, thus gaining a global appeal.
Even publishers couldn’t ignore this new star on the block. A book deal came her way in 2017 and she made her debut in the literary world with How To Be a Bawse. Dolling out snippets and lessons from her life, Singh unapologetically gave insight into her journey.
“I didn’t want to write a fairy-tale book of abstract things you couldn’t apply to real life. I tell you how I learned these things; I answer the why and how,” she told Forbes.
The same year, Singh entered the Forbes list of highest-paid YouTube stars.
However, it was her decision of coming out as a bisexual in 2019 that earned her the love and respect of many of her fans. “Coming out was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I’d love to tell you that everyone was supportive and that people didn’t treat me differently but I’d be lying. I’ve learned that there is NOTHING more important than living your truth. It’s scary, it’s nerve-wracking and often times it’s painful, but ultimately it is worth it. Period,” she wrote on her Instagram.
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Singh, who has been pushing the boundaries at every step, smashed the glass ceiling when she became the first queer woman of color to host a late-night show for a leading American channel. And at 30, she was one of the youngest late-night hosts in NBC history.
Even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Singh for bagging A Little Late with Lilly Singh. He tweeted, “Congratulations Superwoman! You’re making Canada proud – and making us laugh along the way.”
Congratulations @IISuperwomanII! You’re making Canada proud – and making us laugh along the way. 🇨🇦 https://t.co/XrCtmhpn7U
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 17, 2019
Singh, who has made her place in Forbes’ Top Influencers list, is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. She has created the #GirlLove initiative to break the cycle of girl-on-girl hate and bullying. The YouTuber and TV show host also spoke at the United Nations General Assembly and the Social Good Summit in New York for the launch of Generation Unlimited.
YouTube has created many success stories and Lilly Singh is one of the earliest examples. It was Singh’s relatable videos that stemmed from her Indian roots that caught the fancy of many on social media. If there were to be just one takeaway from her journey for young content creators, it’s authenticity. Let your content showcase your life, your culture, your passions, and don’t be afraid of being judged. Develop a buffalo-thick skin for people will criticize your work.