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Uncut Interview With Lilly Singh (aka YouTube Star IISuperwomanII)

Finally got to interview Superwoman for my magazine! Here is the full, uncut version. Enjoy!

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What made you decide to start making YouTube videos?

Lilly: Few reasons, actually…I was coming out of a really difficult time period and I wanted a way to cheer myself up and also cheer other people up. And then I discovered YouTube, which was a great platform to express myself and spread positivity. And from a business point of view, when I discovered YouTube, I saw that there were no South Asian females doing it, so I thought it was a great opportunity in a business sense to create a niche market [and target that audience].

So those are some of the business and personal reasons why I started doing it, but I think it all just comes down to [the fact that] ever since I was young, I've always loved creativity and expressing myself and I love that spotlight! So I think finding YouTube was just that perfect platform.

When did you first realize you were famous, and what was your reaction?

Lilly: (Laughs) I wouldn't say I'm famous yet, but I am starting to get recognized…the first time people approached me in a mall, it was just overwhelming and I didn't know what to make of it. And it still is…I'm always shocked, because you don't realize those numbers on the internet actually reflect real people, and then when you go to an event and there's thousands of people [that came to see you]…it's always just overwhelming, shocking, and thrilling every single time. And I don't think that'll ever go away.

What’s the craziest/most memorable thing a fan’s ever done?

Lilly: I've had fans do some pretty awesome things…I once had a fan do a mock proposal for me in Mubai, inside a McDonalds...and I've had fans give me some precious things. I had one fan give me her mother's ring; I've gotten some pretty intense stuff. And I always get drawings and scrapbooks from fans, which is also pretty cool.

Who are your favorite YouTubers?

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Lilly: My favorite YouTubers are Grace Helbig, Jenna Marbles, Miranda Sings, Hannah Hart, Ryan Higa…there’s a lot! I think there’s a lot of really talented YouTubers. And when I meet them, I like them even more, because they’re awesome people!

I noticed you’ve started doing collabs with some other famous YouTubers, like Ryan Higa, Jenna Marbles and Shane Dawson. How do you all know each other and how do you make this happen? Must be difficult since you’re in Canada and they’re in California.

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Lilly: Yeah, so the YouTube world is kinda weird. You kinda make friends the way you’re always taught not to do, which is make friends with strangers. A majority of my YouTube friends I’ve made because I made a trip down to California, and literally tweeted them saying “Hey! Come over, let’s shoot something!” And then two strangers will just meet up, talk, and shoot something. Or we’ll meet at conventions.

And it’s definitely difficult living in Canada and having most other YouTubers living in California, but I make trips often, and we go to the same conventions. But it really is 100% connecting with absolute strangers. And being in that similar industry and that similar mindset, you can just say “Hey! Yeah, I’ve never met you before, but come over! And yeah, there’s a slight chance you’re a serial killer, but hey, we’ll take that chance!”

Same question goes for stars like James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jay Sean and Madhuri Dixit. How did you get them to be in your videos?

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Lilly: Those were all different situations. The James Franco and Seth Rogen thing was something set up by YouTube. They wanted to promote their new movie, and they chose to do that through popular YouTube channels. I submitted my idea for a collab, and fortunately I was selected. For Madhuri Dixit, I was in India at the time, and I was working on something for her film as well. We had a promotional tradeoff where she would also do something for my channel. Jay Sean was a little different because he reached out to me online, and we actually became friends. We hang out all the time now, and he’s super cool. That’s the cool thing about what I do, you never know who you’ll meet or get a chance to work with. It’s continuously thrilling and terrifying at the same time!

Have you thought about expanding into other things like acting for television, screenwriting, or writing a book?

Lilly: Yes, definitely! I think one of the things about me is that I need to constantly challenge myself, so I want to keep making YouTube videos twice a week for sure, but I also do wanna write a book, and I do wanna try film and television. I want to do everything I can possibly do to step outside the box. So I definitely wanna try all those things, and that is the plan for 2015!

Your video “What I do on airplanes” had me cracking up. Was it difficult to film on a plane? What were the other passengers saying?

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Lilly: Yeah, that was a fun video! I filmed that when I was on my way to Europe. It definitely was difficult because of all the sound and lighting on a plane is not that great. But for my channel, it’s more about the idea than the production, and I knew my fans would like to see that I actually filmed it on a plane. There were other passengers, and I just explained it to them, like “Hey! Yeah, I do this for a living, and don’t worry, I won’t get you in any of the shots!” Though later on, the YouTube space in LA did get a plane set, so I could’ve just shot there! But still, [it was a] good experience shooting on a plane.

My personal favorite was “Emotions I Go Through When I See My Crush Online” mostly because it’s so relatable. Do you have any advice for girls who are going through that phase right now, like on how to be more confident around guys?

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Lilly: Yeah, that was one of my favorite videos as well; it was really fun to shoot. My advice would be, and I know this is so cliché, but just be yourself! I mean, for me personally, I’m always attracted to people who are real about who they are, no matter who they are. And the worst thing in the world is having to change yourself for someone else. There’s no wrong or right [when it comes to this]; there’s different. If you’re not meant to be with someone, it’s because you guys are different. So you really need to believe in your personality, believe in who you are, and find someone who likes you for that! Just be real to yourself and don’t take life so seriously, because everything will be okay. That is my advice.

Would you say being famous makes dating easier or more difficult?

Lilly: (Laughs) Again, [still not famous]! But definitely being in the public eye, I think [that] makes dating more difficult. Because you never know why people are messaging you. The majority of people call or message me because they need something or they want something. You never know what people's intentions are. And also being a confident, outspoken female in the public eye, it can intimidate a lot of guys. A lot of guys don't like that. So it can definitely prove to be difficult. Trust issues definitely skyrocket when you're in the public eye.

Another favorite video of mine was “Why Brown Girls Like White Guys.” Would you say you’ve dated more white guys or brown guys, and do your parents have a preference either way?

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Lilly: I’ve actually never dated a white guy…not for any particular reason; I have nothing against any type of guy; [I’m not picky when it comes to that]. My parents definitely have a preference (laughs); they definitely want me to marry a Punjabi guy. Not even just Indian, but probably Punjabi. But I mean, they’re pretty cool, so I feel like whoever I bring home, hopefully they’ll be happy with. If not…well, I can just make a video about it!

Speaking of parents, your videos where you play your parents are always hilarious. How similar are your parents in real life to their respective characters?

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Lilly: Honestly? Very different. Of course, there are some similarities, like how my mom scolds me, and how my dad says things. But for the most part, they’re not strict at all. I mean, look what they let me do for a living! They’re super cool. My mom knows the lyrics to all of Drake’s songs, and they don’t dress or talk anything like how I portray them. Neither of them even has an accent. So I would say my parent characters are big exaggerations and stereotypes [of Indian parents].

Do your parents watch all your YouTube videos? And have they commented on how much you make fun of them?

Lilly: My parents definitely watch all my videos; it is the most awkward thing of life. Every time I walk by the room, they're watching my videos. [It's] extremely weird. They do comment, but they understand I'm not actually making fun of them, because that's not how they act. They understand I'm just making fun of parents, not necessarily them. And that took quite a bit of an explaining period, and now they always joke about how they should make commission on my videos!

Have you tried getting your real parents to react to things like Anaconda and Wrecking Ball?

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Lilly: (Laughs) No, I’ve never showed my real parents Anaconda and Wrecking Ball, because I’m way too protective, and they’re not allowed to watch things like that.

Your job gives you lots of opportunities to travel. Do you travel mostly to give motivational speeches? And what is your favorite place you’ve been to?

Lilly: I do travel a lot! I travel for a lot of things; I travel for shoots, to perform, host events, have meetings, do motivational speeches, and do stand-up comedy. So, lots of reasons [to travel]. And I've been to a lot of amazing places, but two that have stuck out are Mumbai, India and Singapore. There's a whole bunch of places I wanna go this year, but we'll just have to stay tuned for that!

Got any advice for other people who want to do something cool like acting, screenwriting, or making YouTube videos, but are too afraid to put themselves out there and feel pressured to go the safe route?

Lilly: I would say, life is about decisions, and if you wanna do something cool, when else are you gonna do it? We all gotta make that decision in our lives, like do I wanna do what I love or do I wanna take the safe route? And obviously, not taking the safe route is absolutely terrifying. And while my job is exciting, it is also extremely challenging. It's unstable…I'm just going with the flow, and it's the best decision I've ever made. And one piece of advice I actually heard was "If you keep having a Plan B, you'll never give your Plan A 100%." So I'm a big believer in taking risks sometimes. You only live once; you gotta take the risk!

Got any final messages for your fans, or any new projects you’d like to promote?

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Lilly: I will say I’m planning some huge things for 2015, which I can’t talk about yet, but I will say you can expect me to be traveling a lot more in 2015. It’s gonna be big, and it’s gonna be awesome, so stay tuned! You guys rock!

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