Zoom into the Life of the ‘Bawse’ Lady, Lilly Singh!

5 minute read
Lilly Singh

Have you heard of YouTube’s Superwoman who made her way to American TV? Lilly Singh’s YouTube channel is truly a unicorn on the streaming land where she makes fun and entertaining videos on everything from her desi Punjabi family to making it to the dream destination of LA! The ‘iiSuperwomanii’ has spread her wings from being a YouTube to an amazing writer teaching the mantra of becoming a Bawse to hosting her own late-night show on NBC. Read this blog to know her inspirational journey from battling depression at a young age to starting her own YouTube channel and landing a dream late-night show!

“I’m my own boss, my own editor, my own shooter, my own writer, everything. This is all stuff I learned through trial and error, failing at a lot of things has taught me how to succeed at them eventually you roll with the punches.” 

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Childhood of Lilly
Image Source: TamilCulture

Born on September 26th 1988, Lilly Saini Singh was raised in the Scarborough district of Toronto, Ontario. The younger daughter of Malwinder Kaur and Sukhwinder Singh, Lilly Singh and her family migrated from Hoshiarpur in Punjab, India. Both Lilly and her elder sister Tina (also a YouTuber) were given a traditional Sikh upbringing. Lilly completed her schooling at Mary Shadd University and graduated from  Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute in Toronto. Although initially aspiring to be a rapper, Lilly holds a degree in psychology from York University in Toronto. Growing up, Lilly was an extrovert and described herself as “that annoying kid at parties who would be at the centre of a circle to get everyone’s attention”. 

Battling Depression

Lilly Singh
Image Source: NBC News

Her tryst with YouTube was born out of adversity. In the final year of her degree, Lilly Singh was diagnosed with depression, partly because of her lack of interest in pursuing a conventional career. In 2010, she started posting videos on YouTube as a way of coping with her depressive episodes. In an interview with Buzzfeed, Lilly revealed, “I was coming out of a challenging time period, and I wanted a way to cheer myself up and also cheer other people up”. Lilly Singh found it therapeutic when she could make others laugh. Even from a business standpoint, Lilly realized there weren’t any South Asian women doing it and leveraged this great opportunity to create content that the south Asian community could relate to.

“I know one of the reasons I first started making Youtube videos was because no one looks like me.” 

Superwoman’s Rise to Fame

Lilly found the confidence to make videos and post them on YouTube because of a fellow YouTuber, Jenna Marbles. She found Marbles recording her own video in her bedroom and broadcasting it for millions of her fans. Lilly Singh realised if Jenna could do it, why couldn’t she? 

Lilly Singh Giphy
Source: Giphy

Lilly’s first video was centred on religion and humanity which garnered over 70 views. She then started watching other creators, writing a script and diligently working on her pieces as she went along, only to emerge as one of the leading YouTubers with over 15 million followers. Her channel mainly encompasses comedic skits, the portrayal of Punjabi culture and her dynamics with her fictional parents Manjeet and Paramjeet, both performed by her. Additionally, Lilly Singh also posts motivational videos, documentation of her meetings with celebrities like Kareena Kapoor, Shay Mitchell, Ariana Grande, The Rock, Shah Rukh Khan, to name but a few. 

In 2011, she started another YouTube channel titled “SuperwomanVlogs”, now named “Lilly Singh Vlogs”, a compilation of her daily activities, behind the scenes from her shoots and other unseen footage. She has also collaborated with Dwayne Johnson, Priyanka Chopra, Selena Gomez, Zendaya, amongst others.

A little known fact about Lilly is that she is a talented rapper and was featured alongside Jassi Sindhu in his Punjabi song “Hipshaker”. She also rapped alongside Humble the Poet for a Bollywood song titled “Mauj ki Malhar” that was featured in a Bollywood film, Gulab Gang.

Singh also appeared in a couple of movies such as Speedy Singh, Dr Cabbie and Bad Moms with Mila Kunis and Fahrenheit 451 with Micheal B Jordan.

Source: YouTube

Becoming a ‘Bawse’

“Unicorn Island’ is the synonym for my happy place. It’s a really beautiful message: that happiness is one of the hardest things you’ll ever fight for, but it’s the only thing worth fighting for.”

In 2015, Lilly Singh began a world tour, “A trip to the Unicorn Island”, which covered 27 cities in countries including India, the US, Canada, Dubai, Australia and Singapore, among others, during which she documented her first feature film titled the same. She also appeared on various talk shows like The Tonight Show, starring Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and The Today Show. 

In 2017, she released her book titled “How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life”, a new york times bestseller. Bawse, which is her preferred spelling of Boss, is “someone who exudes confidence, turns heads, gets hurt efficiently, communicates effectively and hustles relentlessly.”In 2018, she launched her production company “Unicorn Islands Production Ltd” based in Los Angeles, California.

In 2019, Lilly Singh was announced as the host for the late-night show, ‘A Little Late with Lilly Singh’, which garnered positive reviews from critics. Around the same time, she came out as a bisexual to her fans through a tweet.  

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Source: YouTube

Awards and Accomplishments

Source: Giphy

As a young woman of colour, what Lilly Singh has achieved so far is no cakewalk. She has made it to numerous lists and honoured with several awards. The following is a list of some of her noteworthy achievements. 

  • Listed in People’s Magazine’sOne to watch” list, 2015.
  • Listed in Forbes list of world’s highest-earning YouTubers – 4th position, 2015
  • Fast Company Magazine 100 most creative people list, 2016.
  • Variety Magazine’s 10 comics to watch list.
  • Teen Choice Awards, 2016
  • People’s Choice Award, 2017
  • UNICEF goodwill ambassador, 2017.
  • Streamy Awards, 2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019
  • Vogue India’s Woman of the year, 2019.
  • Daytime Emmy Awards, 2020

 “It’s everyone’s responsibility to build up other women rather than tear them down. Be self-aware and proactive. It’s not wrong to have those thoughts, but you can change how you respond to those feelings. Take a mental step back, and think about why you’re feeling that way.”

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What makes Lilly Singh unique is the bond she has with her fans. Aside from being extremely likeable, she is a hustler who eats, lives and breathes her work. We hope you liked it and enjoyed it.  For more interesting content, subscribe to Leverage Edu! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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