YouTube star Lilly Singh on how to hustle like a 'bawse'
Lilly Singh, a.k.a. Superwoman, boasts 11 million followers on her channel
You may be one of Lilly Singh's 11 million YouTube followers. And if you're not, your kid probably is.
Since 2010, the Toronto-based comedienne's videos — which poke fun at her fictional parents and satirize everyday complaints — have made her one of the biggest stars on the video-sharing site.
Singh, a.k.a. "||Superwoman||", has won a People's Choice Award, collaborated with the likes of Michelle Obama and now has a new book at the top of bestseller lists: How to be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life.
The 28-year-old joined On The Coast host Stephen Quinn for a conversation about the book and her success.
In the book, you talk about taking being a "bawse" to the next level. What does that mean?
When you think of boss, you think of workplace. A "bawse," though, is so much more epic. You have to change the spelling because it applies to all facets of your life: your personal life, professional life, your relationships, your communication — everything about you.
How do you maintain the constant need for content, being a social media star?
I always say I didn't want a nine-to-five job, but now I have a 24/7 job. I make two pieces of scripted comedy a week, which is a lot. In addition to that, I daily vlog [video blog], which is a lot. It's a lot of me paying attention, to be honest. I'm very observational — I pay attention to what's happening around me. I'm basically eavesdropping on everyone.
You write about "the need to hustle and then hustle harder." Do you think that's what's necessary for young people today when it comes to finding sustainable work?
Yes, especially in this day and age. Millennials are entrepreneurial. And when they do something, there's probably 100 people trying to do the same thing, if not more. Now kids are like, "I want to be a YoutTuber, that's what I want to do for a career." There's some crazy stat about the number of minutes uploaded to YouTube each day. You're going to have to hustle harder in everything you do today.
What do you tell them?
I like to be honest. [I say,] 'That's great, but know that YouTube, like everything else, is not for everyone.' You still have to have a point of view and a message. It's easy to think 'I'll just make a YouTube video and be rich and famous because I'll be loud and eat weird things,' but you still need to have a point of view.
So what makes you stand out?
I'm a South Asian woman and I think I'm one of the first to do comedy on YouTube. I started YouTube at the perfect time where people were thinking, "There's a brown girl on the internet talking about things! This is so intriguing!"
But since then, I think I've just maintained my level of relatability. I talk about fighting with your parents. I mean, who doesn't fight with their parents? I talk about relationship issues and school issues and all these things people experience but maybe don't talk about.
I try to maintain positivity, because if I'm going to put something out there in the world that 11 million people are going to see, let it be something positive.
This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity. You can hear the complete interview here:
With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast