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Verve People
July 07, 2016

International Impact: Lilly Singh

Text by Simone Louis. Image Courtesy: Getty Images

For her huge online following and for being named on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list

A successful famous Canadian YouTuber, best known as Superwoman, Lilly Singh has come a long way from the time she made a video demonstrating how to tie a turban. Her parents Malwinder and Sukhwinder Singh, who hail from Punjab, gave her a traditional Sikh upbringing. Her journey as a digital creator began with her YouTube channel, where she initially focussed on her Indian heritage. Soon deciding to diversify to make her content more appealing to all cultures, Singh became one of the most recognised faces on YouTube. She is now worth more than 2.5 million dollars due to her two YouTube channels, a 27-city world tour, and her own movie, among other projects.

YouTube effect: “Before I started making videos, I was finishing up school, with a degree in psychology, and debating doing my masters in counselling psychology. I was always interested in entertainment, so I decided to follow my gut and do this instead. I feel like YouTube has changed me for the better. It’s affected me spiritually and even made me thick-skinned because of all the hate comments and internet trolls that I became exposed to. Also, since I get to travel so much, it’s made me a very rounded and open-minded person.”

Behind the name: “I actually named myself after my favourite hip-hop song while growing up — Superwoman by Lil’ Mo. I found the track to be very motivational, so every time I would face a challenge, that’s what I would call myself.”

Making it big: “I never really had a moment when I thought, ‘Wow, I’ve made it’, but there were two instances that came somewhat close. One was when I released my How Girls Get Ready video, which went madly viral and really helped my channel take off. Another moment was my first trip to Mumbai. It was an eye-opener, realising how many people not only actually knew who I was but also appreciated me. I was recognised by and got to meet many influential stars who I look up to. It was very surreal and exciting.”

Against the grain: “When I was starting out, I had to deal with a lot of resistance. My parents thought it was a phase. Actually, I didn’t even tell them — they realised it when a few relatives started calling the house saying, ‘Is your daughter on the internet?!’ Now, they’ve understood that I’m a professional in my own right. With the South-Asian community it’s tougher because Indians can be your biggest critics and proudest supporters. A lot of people thought that I should keep my mouth shut.”

Read about our next power woman, Shalini Kapoor Collins.

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