YouTube sensation Lilly Singh speaks to EQUITY on stardom and her latest book How to be a Bawse

When Lilly Singh – better known by her YouTube pseudonym Superwoman – began vlogging, little did she know the channel would one day boast 11 million subscribers. The 28-year old Canadian is one of the world’s highest paid YouTube stars, recently starred in her first feature film titled A Trip to Unicorn Island and now ticks the author box with the launch of her first book, How to be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life.

Where did the inspiration for How to Be a Bawse stem from?
I have been so grateful for the good, bad and truly unbelievable experiences I’ve had over the past years and felt a book was the perfect format to share those lessons with others. I’ve learned so much from smart people who I admire along the way and wanted to share those stories with my audience. I hope it will inspire others to see beyond the mentality of “dreaming for their dreams.” I want readers to work for their dreams, conquer life and fight for their happiness.

What has been the biggest challenge about writing your book?
As simple as it sounds, finding the time to write. Turns out that writing a book takes a lot of time. I had an idealistic image in my head about the writing process: I was going to take three months off, sit by a fireplace and then the book would be done. That was quite the fantasy given my schedule and commitments. I have learned that to write a book you have to find the time to do it and it isn’t going to play out the way you envisioned, but that is okay.

What has been your proudest achievement so far?
It is difficult to share, but I have three moments that are particularly special to me. First is my world tour and documentary, “A Trip to Unicorn Island.” Being able to travel the world, meet my fans and spreading positivity was an unforgettable experience. Second is my Girl Love Rafiki Bracelet. When I saw my design come to life, I was overwhelmed. The bracelets not only represent being passionate about Girl Love, but doing something about it. Last is How To Be A Bawse, of course! Writing my book has been a surreal journey.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve been given?
It’s not a piece of direct advice, but during Dwayne Johnson’s acceptance speech at the People Choice Awards he said, “It is nice to be important but it is more important to be nice.” This resonated with me because as I’ve grown in the entertainment industry, I have seen what happens when fame is thrust upon you. People can easily forget how important it is to be a nice person, so it was refreshing and grounding to hear this from someone of such prominence in the industry.

What’s your top bit of advice for someone starting out in their career?
When you start your career, you’re often starting at the bottom. There is this idea that constant growth is necessary and we are tempted to “use escalators” to get to the top as quick as possible. My advice is to put in the work and take the stairs or climb the ladder. This way you can make every day count instead of spending that energy scheming a way to escalate to the top which will make the end result even sweeter.

Who inspires you?
My fans #TeamSuper. I started my YouTube channel because I felt alone and their love and support has completely changed my life for the better. When I get to meet them in person, hear their stories and see how my videos have encouraged them to work harder or love themselves more. That’s true inspiration.

Were the ‘Out of the Blue’ chapters difficult to write?
They were very difficult to write, but I felt they were necessary to include. I want my readers to know that I’ve been through difficult times just like them and this is what I did to get out of it. Even now I choke up when I read these chapters since they remind me of when I was a totally different person. Overall, it was humbling but difficult to relive those experiences.

How do you deal with negativity online?
I have a sticky note on my computer that reminds me every day to focus on what deserves my attention. I know that negativity exists, but I choose to not engage with it and spend time on things that I want more of.

Can you tell us more about your #GirlLove campaign?
#GirlLove is a social initiative I commenced to end the cycle of girl-on-girl hate. The sad reality is that hate is everywhere: at school, work and online. I wanted to create a community that encourages positivity amongst us because as women, we know how amazing other women can be. I want young girls and ladies to see that encouraging one another to achieve is a global win – we’re all in this together.

What’s your next project?
Right now, I’m most excited about How To Be A Bawse and can’t wait to meet fans on my tour this year to support it. I care so much about those who take time to come and see me on tour and want it to be a special experience for each and every one of them. I’m also focusing a lot on Girl Love. It feels more important than ever for young girls and women around the world to lift each other up. I would also love to pursue more acting opportunities and possibly maybe make my own film or pilot. Lately, I have been learning a lot about screenwriting, directing and producing. There are so many opportunities here which is exciting.