Lilly Singh continues to pursue her own path as a ‘disrupter’

TORONTO – From one of the highest paid YouTubers in the world to being the first Indian, South Asian and LGBTQ person to host a late-night show on a major network, Lilly Singh has always been creative on the internet. its own way.

Now, without her presence and after an emotionally draining pandemic leaves her with more free time than ever to reassess her goals, she’s charting a path. another new program.

“I think about everything in my life – who I am culturally, my sexuality, my career path – I’m a noob,” the Toronto native said on a call. from Los Angeles.

While sketch comedy and showrunners have been her staples since she founded her YouTube channel in 2010, Singh is up for something new: acting.

This year alone, she joined the cast of the Hulu/Crave series “Dollface” and the upcoming animated book adaptation “The Bad Guys.” Sticking with her comedy roots, she’ll also lead “The Muppets Mayhem,” a new Disney Plus series after Electric Mayhem Band as they record an album and are developing a comedy series for Netflix with “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris. Oh, and she’s also a judge on this season of Citytv’s “Canada’s Got Talent.”

“This year I started to decide what my priorities were and dedicate my energies there,” she said.

“I don’t want to be so spread out where I can’t put 100% of my effort into whatever I’m doing.

“But I see myself as someone who always wears a few different hats; I want to make sure I don’t get stuck in a lane.”

With a renewed love for long-form storytelling, she wrote her second book, “Be A Triangle,” on Tuesday, which enters much more vulnerable territory than a five-year-old processor. 2017 “How To Be A Bawse”.

Singh shared that she feels less like her “successful, happy, energetic” self since the COVID-19 pandemic began and her late-night show, “A Little Late.” with Lilly”, has been cancelled.

“The world literally fell apart, my physical and mental health declined, and I had a new friend I wouldn’t leave behind, named Anxiety Singh,” she wrote.

That’s strong admission from a 33-year-old known for his colorful power suits, constant wisdom, and countless projects.

She said it was scary to write and release such personal revelations.

“There are some moments when I’m writing a book, where I’m sitting alone in my typing room, and I look at what I’m writing and think, ‘You’re lying. Why are you lying to yourself? No one is here. Please delete this and let’s be real,'” she said.

“Sometimes it’s hard to be true to myself. I want to go there because I feel it’s a must to get where I want to be in life … somewhere where I have a solid foundation. and a clear direction of who I am, what I value, and what is important to me.”

Over the past two years, when work has evaporated and she has no time to focus on herself, Singh has found that she has a tendency to downplay her accomplishments and reflect on what she considers failures.

“It’s like I can’t create joy and success, and that’s a really scary thing to say,” she said.

“I always aim to win the next title and make everyone proud, but this time really forced me to look at myself in this empty space and empty calendar and find the real me. when there’s no (work).”

Singh no longer defines her identity by struggles, but prioritizes happiness and openly discusses her mental health, which she notes her family has never talked about “because they never had (that talk).”

“It’s a cultural thing,” she said, referring to her South Asian background and a community that has long stigmatized mental health.

“I grew up being told that there are certain ways to do things: get a degree, get married, have kids. Even in the industry I’m in, I’d say this is the stereotype.

“I resent it. I think the reason people don’t do things differently is because they’re scared or haven’t figured out how to do it. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, it just means it’s hard. “

“I totally accept that now. I think it’s important for people to break the mold so that we can innovate not only in our business but also in the way we live.”

And so she made it her mission to build a foundation for black co-creators, starting with Lilly’s Library, a book club she curated with Southern stories. ASIAN.

Then there’s Unicorn Island Productions, a cross-platform production company she founded focused on enhancing underrepresented voices and recently struck its first deal with NBCUniversal’s Universal Television Alternative Studio .

“I’m trying to get more South Asians into the decision-making rooms so we can see more of our stories on screen,” Singh said.

“If we could see our experiences reflected a little more, the benefit would be more than just having good movies and TV shows, we would have more enlightened people. “

This Canadian Press report was first published on April 4, 2022.

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