Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sikh YouTube star Lilly Singh created her video blog to overcome depression. Now she’s inspiring millions with her hilarious videos on American and Punjabi culture.

Perhaps one of the most successful Sikhs on YouTube today is Lilly Singh or more popularly known as Superwoman. And Singh’s fans are not only limited to those belonging to the Sikh or Punjabi culture but teens and young adults as well all across the world regardless of ethnicity or religion.

The 26-year-old YouTube star’s success is certainly a thing to envy especially for marketers who are spending millions just to have a piece of that huge social media market. To this date, Singh’s IISuperwomanII channel has 6.6 million active and loyal subscribers and her videos are already to the tune of 860 million total views. And because of her popularity, she has already met and worked with numerous online, TV and movie stars.

The contents of Singh’s YouTube videos are not an over the top production. She often discusses everyday things, random ideas and common concerns that every daughter, teen or any individual may experience. The only difference to her video blogging style is her satirical, humorous, entertaining and oftentimes a bit exaggerated method of explaining and presenting her story. It’s common for audience to see her act, dance, sing, joke and even act crazy while discussing her weekly topic. In an interview with Los Angeles Times last week, she said it’s really important to be authentic to yourself as a creator. “Every video I make I really mean what I’m saying and people can see that through the screen and that’s why they [viewers] like it.”

It’s interesting to note that the happy personality everyone sees on YouTube has a very troubling past. Before venturing to her online career, Lilly Singh struggled with depression. The idea of making video blogs eventually became one of her ways in battling depression.

Aside from being a channel to express her ideas, she wants to inspire other people, particularly those who are undergoing tough challenges in life, to focus on the positive side. As Singh tells in an interview “I really wanted to do something positive and something that reminds not only myself, but other people, that life has ups and downs, it can be beautiful – and you know, you pick yourself back up.” She adds that “The reason my videos all have some sort of inspirational message is because… coming from a really dark period, I wanted to make sure there was always something that could make someone’s day be better.”

Another goal of the “Superwoman” is to become the representative of Indian or South Asian women on the internet. This is noticeable from the many videos she has created that tackle Punjab and South Asian stereotypes in a comedic manner. As Singh notes “There was no South Asian female representing, really. When I say representing, I mean representing the things I go through not what all brown girls go through, because I don’t think I’m capable of doing that.”

Although born and raised in Canada, Lilly Singh has deep connections with India, the Punjabi heritage and Sikhism. She is deeply connected with the faith that she even has the key Sikh philosophies tattooed on her arms. On one wrist, she has the Punjabi script Nirbhau meaning “Without Fear” and on the other Nirvair which translates to “Without Hate.” These phrases are part of the Sikh scripture of Guru Granth Sahib.

Lilly Singh is also fond of India and its food and traditions. She cites that “In some ways I wish Canada were more like India. You can’t get the same fresh jalebis and kulfi here.” She added that “I make it my goal to take Indian culture and stretch it. I want to show people I am Indian but that doesn’t mean I have to be any different of a person. I’m outspoken, bold and driven. How’s that for an Indian woman?”

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