Featured Image by Lilly’s instagram @lilly
Lilly Singh saved me.
Picture a lonely 23-year-old lady starting a new job in a new city with no friends at the peak of its darkest season. Literally, it was fall, and daylight disappeared faster than I could text back “K.” It didn’t help that I had no family around either, and it was my first time living in an apartment alone. Unprepared, I craved social interaction. I had no community to fall back on for the first time in my life, and I had never before felt so isolated and misplaced.
I needed something or someone to come home to. Lucky for me, I had Lilly Singh.
She started her career as a YouTube sensation with over 14 million subscribers and more than 3 billion views. She dominated YouTube’s comedy scene and entertained a loyal fan base dubbed as Team Super. Her screen name iiSuperwomanii (eye-eye superwoman eye-eye) dates back to original YouTube days when it was uncommon to go by first and last names.
Her consistent output of new content delighted her audience worldwide. Trailblazer, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and award-winning multimedia mogul Lilly Singh inspires me and entire generations to work hard, be kind, and be ourselves.
Lilly’s decade-long hustle on the video platform led to her work with NBC to create A Little Late with Lilly Singh where she became the first late night talk show host of Indian descent. She breaks barriers we didn’t even know we had, representing women, queers, and people of color.
To Lilly, I write this letter.
You remind me so much of myself: loud, lively, and love to get real.
When I first started to watch your content, you released new sketch comedies every Monday and Thursday on top your daily vlogs. Your smile, laugh, and motivation shined onto my screen and into my brain, and your stories and struggles all spoke to me clearly. You had moved to LA when I moved to New York, so all of your stresses felt like mine too. Your joy became mine, as did your sorrows. When you met Selena Gomez for the first time, I felt so proud, invested, and giddy. It sounds silly to vibe out to someone I had never met; yet energy transfers and I felt yours strongly.
People overlook the impact they have on others. One smile, one moment can make all the difference, and that small difference can change the world.
I want to make videos and I want to write, and the most common response is a judgmental, “But about what?” I cannot stress enough that it does not matter – at least not when you’re just getting started. Living your truth in whatever way feels authentic inspires onlookers searching for their own.
We all want to feel happy and #blessed, and we look to those who seem to have found it. The hardest part is taking that first step. Only once you decide to take things to the next level will thoughtful execution become necessary and urgent. Art and creation for its own sake is as healing to the world as science or medicine.
One thing I love most about you is witnessing your growth and journey. Your content and style have transformed over time just as you have as a growing person. Unlike some channels, you were not stuck in 2007 with its outdated humor. You’ve evolved for the better, and that’s what’s up.
People say, “Oh, you’ve changed. You’re not the same.” To them, I say keep up or don’t — no one’s waiting for you.
When I hit my quarter-life crisis (my QLC, if you will), your New York Times best selling book How to be Bawse helped me navigate rough waters. Just like clockwork, I hit a wall at 24 going on 25 because I couldn’t figure out what I wanted with my life.
“Is my 9-to-5 breathing life into my veins?”
“Is this the playing field where I create my most meaningful work?”
“Am I adding value to myself and my community?”
“Is this what I want to ~bE whEn I grOw Up~?”
These nagging questions forced me to confront my reality, and the answers to the above were no, no, kind of, and no. That’s when I dove headfirst into the GMAT because I had decided to go to business school.
As I entered prep mode, I watched less and less YouTube, so I spent less time watching your channel. In late 2017, you announced your break, and it made me realize that you’re human too. I idolized you and placed you on a pedestal when the truth is, we’re all doing our best. Your engagement had dropped because of the algorithm and possibly also because of your content. Naturally, you needed to take a step back for a mental, emotional, and spiritual reset. That takes courage and self-awareness. Besides, 2017 was tough on us all.
Fast-forward to now. With two seasons of your late night show behind you, you’ve moved onto bigger and better things. Hulu, Netflix, and NBC have recognized your talents. I’m beyond excited to see what you do next.
Aside from all of your professional success, I most admire your personal development, at least from what I can tell. You used to show all the behind-the-scenes action: the hair, the makeup, even the nerves. From house tours to family gatherings, you shared with us the details of your personal life. These days though, we don’t see much of that, and without a doubt, it’s for the best. It shows boundaries and privacy and protecting one’s peace – essential ingredients for a healthy life.
Most notably worthy is your message to slow down, a considerable shift from your past “hustle harder” mentality. While your focus and grind led to your current success, the need to balance it out with some rest and relaxation has been integral to today’s day and age.
I am a proud member of Team Super. Despite not (yet!) having met you in person, I have watched weeks’ worth of your work to write this whole piece from the heart.
So from the bottom of my grateful heart, thank you, Lilly, for the light you spread to me and millions. We forward your love, truth, kindness, and focus. I am so proud of the woman you have become and I cannot wait to keep cheering you on.
One love, Superwoman! That is a wrap, and ZOOP!
If you know, you know.
PS ~ here’s one of my favorites from Lilly in case you need to hear it. Enjoy and stay blessed! Thanks for reading.