She's one of the biggest YouTubers on the planet and is now making her mark on the big screen. The comedian and actress shares how YouTube helped her depression, her secrets to on-screen confidence and her favourite beauty products
She has over 13 million subscribers to her ‘IISuperwomanII’ YouTube channel , makes videos that feature the likes of Michelle Obama, Selena Gomez and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, was 2016’s highest paid female YouTuber and her book, How To Be a Bawse, was a bestseller worldwide - when it comes to success, comedian and actress Lilly Singh has sussed out its secret formula.
And her empire keeps on growing. Not only is she in the new movie, Fahrenheit 451, but she’s also been cast alongside Emily Ratajkowski in upcoming comedy, Bright Futures and has partnered up with Smashbox to create a new mascara - the aptly named Superfan , the highly-anticipated follow-up to her bold red Bawse lipstick in 2016.
Originally creating her YouTube platform as a way to help with her mental health, her positive attitude, comedic originality and willingness to cover any topic (from periods to parents) acts as the ultimate mood-boost for anyone who watches her videos. We caught up with Lilly to talk about her career to date, her secrets to on-screen confidence and that amazing hair.
GTG: You’ve spoken openly in the past about how you started your YouTube channel as a way to help with your depression - how would you say it’s helped?
LS: It definitely gave me a sense of community when I needed it. It was a great way of connecting with people. When I was posting my videos, I didn’t feel alone. It was an outlet for me to talk literally about anything and find that people related to it. Knowing that they were going through what I was going through really helped.
GTG: Have there been any negatives?
LS: The only negative is that it can kind of hinder the way you look at success. You get into the habit of seeing yourself through your number of views and subscribes which is an unrealistic approach to success. You can’t compare yourself to a video of an adorable puppy! What I do is comedy sketches so I’ve had to change my definition of success to making content that makes me proud - not whether I’ve had good or bad views. I can’t define myself by views, it’s not a sustainable measure of success.
GTG: What’s your secret to on-screen confidence?
LS: Personally, I became confident when I became okay with who I am as a person and decided to not be so hard on myself. Being okay with my flaws, the emotions I’m feeling and where I am. I’ve found that when you really love yourself, it leaves less room for others to make you feel bad about yourself.
GTG: And off-screen?
LS: The same, just generally trying to love myself as best as I can. I used to get really annoyed at myself if I got sad or jealous. Part of loving yourself though is saying that it’s okay to feel those things and to work on them. I really embrace whatever it is I’m experiencing now. There’s no need to beat myself up when I have those days.
GTG: How did your collaboration with Smashbox come about?
LS: I’d previously partnered with them on a lipstick called Bawse , £19 - a beautiful red. l loved working with them, they let me be myself rather than a makeup expert, which I’m not. And they’re really into diversity too. So when the opportunity came about to create Superfan , £17.50, I definitely wanted to do it.
GTG: Your Bawse lipstick, your book - how would you define being a ‘Bawse’ and how would you say that’s shaped your approach towards beauty?
LS: A big part of it is being bold, not in a cocky way but in a confident way, making statements, walking into a room and people knowing and feeling your presence. It’s the same for when I do my makeup. Bawse really makes a statement and likewise with Superfan - it makes me look wide awake and gives a nice dramatic look that makes a physical statement to people.
GTG: What would we always find in your makeup bag?
LS: Concealer, foundation and Smashbox Brow Tech To Go , £21, to fill in my eyebrows as I don’t really have any! Mascara is my number one product though because it’s the most transformative on my face.
GTG: The skincare product you’d really miss if they discontinued it?
LS: Clinique Pep-Start Hydroblur Moisturizer , £24.50. I use it before my makeup, not just because it’s blurring, but because it’s really hydrating.
GTG: Your hair’s incredible. Could you give us an insight into your regime?
LS: I’m a Pantene girl and use their Smooth & Sleek Shampoo , £3, and Conditioner , £3. I don’t do too much to it though, I just let it be and avoid using too many chemicals or too much heat on it except if I’m on shoot or for a night out. I usually don’t even blowdry it.
GTG: Who's still on your bucket list to work with and why?
LS: Emma Watson. On and off-screen, she’s a force, talented and works on things much larger than herself. I would love to work with her.