Meet Lilly Singh, the YouTube millionaire

The Indo-Canadian vlogger’s channel, ‘Superwoman’, is aptly named

India At Large staff

Time Magazine recently named her among the “30 most influential people on the Internet”, making her rub shoulders with the likes of Indian PM Narendra Modi. Earlier this year, she made it to the Forbes’ top-10 list of “top-earning YouTube stars”. In September 2015, the 26-year-old also won the “best first-person series”, beating four other stars, at VH1’s “5th Annual Streamy Awards” in Los Angeles.

We are talking about Lilly Singh, a Canadian of Indian origin who is popularly known by ‘Superwoman’, her channel on YouTube. Time Magazine noted that “Indo-Canadian vlogger is rapidly becoming one of the biggest stars on YouTube, both on and off-screen”. It added that as her “alter ego Superwoman, she is equal parts funny and motivational, which has helped her amass more than 8 million subscribers and over 1.1 billion total views”.

The YouTube personality acknowledged the honour in an Instagram post stating: “What an honor! Thank you! Hopefully people are influenced to also wear sweat pants all day like me. Then I wouldn’t be considered lazy. I would be trendy. GOALS.”

Singh, who saw a meteoric rise in the virtual world through her self-produced comedic YouTube sketches, eventually became popular enough to go on a 30-city world tour, ‘A Trip to Unicorn Island’, in 2015. The tour, which took off from India, travelled to several countries, including Australia and Singapore. A feature film of the same name chronicling the tour, made possible through her successful ‘Superwoman’ YouTube channel, premiered on YouTube Red in February.

Since launching her channel on YouTube in October 20101, Singh has amassed more than 8 million subscribers and over 1 billion views on the video-sharing platform. Last year, she raked in a cool $2.5 million, making her one of the world’s highest-earning YouTube stars.

Although being a YouTube star seems like a glamorous new media career, Singh’s steps to success are steeped in classic methods that could be applied to any other industry. Her No. 1 piece of advice is that entrepreneurs shouldn’t wait for something to fall into their lap.

“There’s no escalators, there’s only staircases to success,” she told CNBC recently. “There is no substitute for hard work.”

Like other YouTube stars, Singh essentially operates as a one-woman production company.

“I’m my own boss, my own editor, my own shooter, my own writer, everything,” Singh told CNBC, adding that she didn’t even know how to use a camera when she started.

“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,” she said.

Before she was a YouTube success story, Singh was working on an undergraduate degree in psychology from York University and planning to apply for a masters programme in counseling, despite her lack of enthusiasm for the subject. After discovering YouTube, she uploaded a video on a whim and loved it. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Singh, whose parents are originally from Punjab, currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Her apartment includes two bedrooms, a walk-in closet, floor-to-ceiling windows and second floor exclusively dedicated to her workplace. This location is where she is spotted most of the time in her vlogs. Through her childhood experience, she decided to use it as a motivation to keep others happy. She is most recognised for having many young followers who help her to continue making YouTube videos.


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