If you have spent any time on YouTube chances are you have heard of Lilly Singh AKA Superwoman, the well-known YouTube personality and comedian.
Lilly started making videos in 2010 as a way of cracking up herself and her friends, but since then her following has expanded to over 4 million subscribers and her videos have attracted more than 400 million views.
Superwoman’s videos are typically five to ten minutes long and poke fun at everyday problems from the perspective of a young South Asian woman living in Canada. Recent videos have covered topics like, “Types of Texters,” “My Parents Reacting to Turn Down For What,” and a particular crowd favourite: “5 Stupid Selfies You Take.”
She starts every video with: “What up everyone it’s your girl Superwoman!” and then she’s got you hooked. It’s impossible to turn away from the cheerful persona talking 1000 words a minute, performing on your computer screen.
It really is a performance and Lilly is an incredibly good entertainer. Often her videos involve multiple characters (she plays her parents on more than one occasion), set changes
and musical interludes.
It’s no wonder millions like and share her videos. She gets it. She understands what it’s like to live life day-to-day where the banality is often hilarity. She is able to say what everyone else is thinking in a way that is both accessible and funny:
“My comedy is a very observational real take on things we all experience. I am big on making videos people can relate to. I like to make videos about things that happen in our everyday life: fighting with our parents, going to the movies, shopping in the mall. Things that we all know happen, but with a comedic twist on them,” says Lilly.
She’s definitely got it down to a tee. She’s gotten so good at what she does, it’s no surprise that she’s started to break into the film industry. Recently, Lilly landed a cameo in the feature film Dr. Cabbie alongside Kunal Nayyar, known to most as 'Raj' from The Big Bang Theory.
“I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. I learned two things from my Dr. Cabbie experience; one was the experience of acting on a set because it’s very different from acting in my bedroom,” Lilly shares. “I learned so much about working in the industry. The second thing is that I met so many people. Kunal besides being a wonderful person also taught me so much about his life and his lessons have really helped me in the last year deal with issues I’ve had to face.”
Lilly speaks so openly about her life it’s interesting to compare her to her on-screen persona. There is no doubt Superwoman is just as honest but fans often forget Lilly isn’t Superwoman 24/7. She’s like Clark Kent in that sense; sometimes she needs to put on a pair of hip glasses and chill out with Lois Lane.
“Lilly and Superwoman are the exact same person. The only exception is that Superwoman never gets upset and she’s never tired. She’s a performer and she’s always on, whereas Lilly even though she is the exact same person, gets upset sometimes and that Unicorn turns off. That comes as a huge shock to some of my viewers, especially younger ones when they see that I am not always really happy and I deal with real life problems. I believe in positivity but I’m human and sometimes I still get upset!” says Lilly.
YouTubers have lives beyond the camera and although this can be off putting, it is important to see the separation of these identities. Back to Clark Kent – could Superman really be unstoppable if he didn’t have to deal with his crappy newspaper job, or chase Lois Lane down for a date? It’s the tension between these two identities that makes Superman – and Superwoman – a success.
She acknowledges the cruelty in the world and instead of complaining makes fun of it. “Comedy is the best way to communicate these things, it’s when people don’t feel attacked and hopefully can laugh at their own flaws and fix them. It’s a balance between being true to myself and portraying good messages.”
Lilly is a role model for many young girls. When asked if she had any advice for them she had this to say: “To all people growing up, everything seems like it’s the biggest deal in the world. It is not. Whatever you are experiencing right now can be solved by time, nothing is the end all. Really remember that.”
PHOTO: RICK MATHARU