NEW YORK: Indo-Canadian YouTube sensation Lilly Singh will promote her debut book ‘How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life’ (Ballantine Books), a manifesto on self-confidence and success, which releases on March 28, at 30 stops globally.
Singh’s Los Angeles production company churns out daily videos and twice-weekly scripted pieces that have featured guests from Bill Gates to Selena Gomez. She has created sponsored videos for products such as Coke and Skittles, launched an international tour of her comedy variety show, and scored a handful of TV and film credits. Her YouTube videos have been seen more than 2 billion times, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Singh, known as “Superwoman” online, is the highest-paid woman on YouTube, raking in $7.5 million last year, according to Forbes.
Much of the book is pitched to millennials accustomed to viewing life through social media. “It’s hard to grow up in a world where you’re constantly seeing everyone’s accomplishments or highlight reels,” she said. “I want to bring this back to, ‘Hey, don’t focus on that picture. Work hard.’ ”
Singh, a 28-year-old Canadian whose Indian mother and father manage a string of gas stations in Toronto, built her name partly through videos spoofing the Punjabi accents and old-world attitudes of her immigrant parents. She pairs candid commentary—dishing about her pimples, her muffin top, her late-20s virginity—with send-ups of young adulthood in pieces like “Girls On Their Periods,” “Types of Crushes” and “If My Phone Were A Person.”
The founder of #GirlLove, a campaign against girl-on-girl hate, manages to slip in giddy self-promotion whether talking about higher education with Michelle Obama or trying to kiss actor Dwayne Johnson. Most of Ms. Singh’s fans are in the U.S., with large followings in the U.K., Canada, India and Australia, reported Wall Street Journal.
Singh launched her YouTube career in 2010 while struggling to find her way after college. “There I was, depressed and wanting to end my life, unmotivated, and scared,” she writes in the book. “What finally got me out of my depression was learning what loving myself really meant.”
In 2015, she began touring with her show, “A Trip to Unicorn Island,” a mix of dancing, music, comedy and musings on happiness. A trailer for her tour documentary got nearly 11 million views on YouTube.
Singh, whose 2016 film experience includes voicing two miniature unicorns in the animated “Ice Age: Collision Course” and a cameo in“Bad Moms,” is vying for more screen roles. Others have shown similar ambition. Netflix recently renewed the Miranda Sings show “Haters Back Off!” for a second season.
“My success on YouTube gives me something special, and that is a following,” Singh writes in her book. “When I walk into an audition, the casting agent knows that I bring a very large online audience with me and that my audience is ready to support me in my future projects.”
Even so, Singh wants to reach beyond that base. “It’s nice to have the support of the Internet,” she said, but “not everyone watches YouTube.”
Toronto Life reported Singh moved out of her parents’ home in Markham two years ago and bought a $1.5-million Spanish-style house in the plush Los Angeles neighborhood of Hancock Park. She owns a Tesla Model S, the same car Matt Damon and Will Smith drive.
“To the adult eye, Singh’s comedy can seem bush league, her sketches occasionally cringe-inducing, her platitudes callow. (“You are going to succeed because the world is waiting for what you have to offer!” she once cheered.) But Singh doesn’t care about adult eyes. She has calibrated every video to appeal to the covetable teen demographic. Between fart jokes, she spouts aphorisms about positivity, empowerment and self-love. She’s as wholesome as Taylor Swift with streetwise chutzpah, a motivational speaker disguised as a comedian. And almost out of nowhere, she has become the reigning avatar of millennial girl power,” reported Toronto Life.
Singh’s house has four bedrooms, and, for about half of the year, one of them is occupied by her best friend, Kanwer Singh (no relation), who goes by the YouTube moniker Humble the Poet. Humble is a 35-year-old former Rexdale elementary school teacher who earned minor YouTube fame for his rap-inflected spoken word poetry in the late 2000s, before Lilly even joined the platform. She emailed him to collaborate in 2011, soon after she started her YouTube career, and, over the years, he’s become her sidekick. Lilly, who’s single, insists their relationship is platonic, but she brings Humble as her date to every Hollywood party, and they frequently appear in each other’s videos. They have a brother-sister vibe: he scolds her for not eating well enough and teases her about her hyper-focused work ethic, reported Toronto Life.