Lilly Singh gets real about being one of few viral South Asian YouTubers

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Lilly Singh has positioned her as the South Asian creator of our generation. Her YouTube videos, made under her internet moniker Superwoman, have garnered praise across the world wide web. With 7 million YouTube subscribers, over 1 billion video views, and projects that span from a Smashbox Lipstick collaboration to a YouTube red movie under her belt, it's safe to say that she has her hands full. And with very few South Asian creators on the platform, she's also become a source of inspiration and a role model for millions to look up to.

But that being said, the title also comes with some disadvantages. We recently spoke to the viral creator about the ups and downs for being known as one of the foremost Indian voices on the internet. Ahead, find out how she fights racism everyday, where she sees the progression of her career going in the next few years, and more!

YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, including past Lilly Singh exclusives, click here.

Just finished a 10 hour shoot... And then walked into another one. #hustleharder #bawse

A photo posted by Lilly Singh (@iisuperwomanii) on

What goes into one of your videos from start to finish? How do you conceptualize them?
I have two channels. I have my main channel which is scripted comedy every Monday and Thursday and then I have my blog channel which is more like reality television. The main channel is where the core of my brand is and what happens is Monday and Thursday I'll wake up extremely stressed because I have no idea what to do. I'll usually make the video the day of; I very rarely make a video in advance because I'm so busy. So I'll wake up and think about what I want to make for my video. Usually I'll find out what's trending on Twitter, what's in the news recently, what holidays are coming up, or I'll ask my fans what they want to see because they have great ideas. So then I write the script, rehearse it a few times, I may or may not do my makeup, I record it, I edit it, and then I release it all in the same day.

What has it been like for you being dubbed as the South Asian creator of YouTube?
I think from the first time I put out a video I was just being myself and put out my own life experiences. And earlier on my videos used to be so geared towards Indian people because that's what I thought I had to do. So I would call my videos things like "My Indian Parents Do This" or "Indian Girls This" and very quickly I realized that I didn't have to do that. All girls pretty much the same and all parents are pretty much the same, so I stopped doing that and I stopped cornering myself into a niche that I thought I had to be in. Over time I started making more universal content, that was me being myself and talking about my life experiences. And I think that's why my fans like. I mean now it's much more diverse than when I started. Inevitably I am framed as that South Asian creator on the platform and I don't feel any way extreme way about that. I'm so proud to be South Asian, at the same time I don't want that to be the only thing I am. I think I didn't realize how much of an impact it had until the campaign I had with YouTube and I was on billboards. I thought, "Oh wow! This is cool, it's my face on a billboard!" But people messaged me saying things like they were so glad their younger brothers and sisters have an influence of color they can see on billboards. And that really struck me. I'm not the kind of person where every single video I do I'm going to talk about racism or multiculturalism. I do comedy. And I've found the best way to tackle racism is by being as successful as I can possibly be.



Where do you see the progression of your career going in the next few years?
I think we're in this super exciting time where the digital space is really booming. There's a lot of exciting changes. When I started the idea that YouTube creators being in movies or on a billboards was laughable. But I think it's constantly evolving. And I personally would love to be part of that continued evolution. I think it's also exciting for me to step into traditional media, not because I think it's better, but because it's different. In my ideal scenario, I continue with YouTube and I also get to do traditional movies and film.

International love ❤️

A photo posted by Lilly Singh (@iisuperwomanii) on

What advice do you wish you had received before becoming a YouTube star?
I wish someone told me not to try and figure it out too much. The one thing I learned about YouTube -- since it is such a new phenomenon -- is that a lot of the content is made up as people go along. And when I first started, I really thought I had to figure it all out. And it organically happened and I had to ride the wave a little bit. Also, first and foremost, you have to enjoy what you're doing; that has to be the driving force. You cannot get as little sleep as I get if you don't really like what you're doing, it's just not possible.

YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, including past Lilly Singh exclusives, click here.

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