If you look forward to "What up, everyone? It's your girl, Superwoman!" every Monday and Thursday, then you're already familiar with Toronto-born Lilly Singh. The 25-year-old Punjabi has found fame by having no qualms about unleashing her inner teenager (or inner Punjabi parent) in videos such as My Parents Do This and How Girls Get Ready.
The Canadian "IISuperwomanII" first started her YouTube channel three years ago, with a clumsily edited comic sketch featuring multiple characters and perfect lighting. She says that "it was quite unplanned … I had an idea about something and I decided to post a video about it … I fell in love with the whole creative process and being in charge of my own voice and content."
Her first videos focused on positivity and loving yourself, something that is very close to her heart. Singh says: "After overcoming depression years ago, I decided to always focus on the positives simply because life goes on either way. It just feels better to be positive."
But while she still often talks about the importance of these things, the majority of her videos are comical examination of South Asian stereotypes.
Singh says there is a lack of a South Asian voices on the internet, which inspired her to weave stereotypical Indian parents and flurries of furious Punjabi into her comedy sketches. But how does she motivate herself to deliver side-splitting content every week? She believes consistent and regular video making is the key to maintaining her subscribers' interest.
"The internet and entertainment industry move so fast, so it's important to keep yourself relevant," she explains.
If you're a diehard fan, you'll know that the majority of her popular uploads feature her hilarious caricatures of parents. Viewers, particularly those of South Asian heritage, really connect with these characters; through them, we're introduced to the Punjabi culture that Singh grew up in.
But don't believe that Singh's sketches are based on personal experience: she says, "my parent characters are actually nothing like my real parents … I take certain traits that are common across the board and exaggerate them for comedic effect. So to be fair those characters are based on your parents as much as mine."
Singh achieves maximum comedic effect by throwing herself into whatever character she's portraying. She also manages to maintain a realism, although she's not sure how, saying "I have absolutely no idea [how I do it]. It's so strange! When I put on a wig and beard I literally feel like a father figure and my body language, facial expressions and diction all seem to switch automatically … I'm a weirdo."
Singh has found fans around the world, including the King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, whom she met when performing at the YouTube FanFest in Mumbai. If you feel her career path is something you'd like to follow, though, she has stresses that it's important to be very dedicated. "YouTubers can be known for money or fame, and the job seems so tempting because 'all we're doing is making videos.' But this statement could not be more wrong."
"The amount of time it takes to be not only consistent, but produce good content on YouTube is greatly underestimated by the majority of people," Singh says, adding that creating YouTube videos exclusively as a way to make money is foolish.
Another thing to remember is that being a YouTuber means you're prey to people's hurtful words. But Singh says whatever you want to do in life, "the only thing that keeps your skin thick [against critics] is passion." Luckily for this Superwoman, her positivity and crazy sense of humour have helped her grow that skin.