Lilly Singh is ready to dom­i­nate the world

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - DAVID FRIEND

TORONTO — YouTube mega-star Lilly Singh didn’t want to pen just any old self-help book — she wanted her ad­vice to rock the shelves.

So when she em­barked on writing “How to Be a Bawse” — her slang for an epic “boss” — it was an all-or-noth­ing af­fair.

“I never do any­thing less than 200 per cent,” she says, “which is both amaz­ing and slightly prob­lem­atic.”

When you’ve al­ready con­quered the In­ter­net with 11.5 mil­lion YouTube sub­scribers it gives you some free­dom in the pub­lish­ing world. Singh wanted her de­but to have a cer­tain sheen and the book has it with a glossy magazine-like paper stock and colour­ful pages.

“When I read books the es­thetic is the large part for me,” she says. “Ev­ery­thing down to how the pages feel.”

Singh talked to The Cana­dian Press about mak­ing a foray into a new medium, tips for man­ag­ing dig­i­tal dis­trac­tions, and her fu­ture.

CP: You pack the book with tips for read­ers try­ing to bal­ance their busy lives with the plen­ti­ful dis­trac­tions in today’s so­cial me­dia world. One of the best tips you sug­gest is get­ting a friend to change your Net­flix pass­word when you need to focus, and only let­ting them re­ward you with the new pass­word when you’ve com­pleted the task. How’d you come up with that?

Singh: I had a friend once who told me to change their Face­book pass­word. And then I for­got it, so she re­ally just had to restart her ac­count. But it goes down to the fact some­times we can’t con­trol our­selves and we’re dis­ap­point­ing our­selves, so the best thing is to put it in some­one else’s hands. The eas­i­est thing is pass­words, (they) con­trol ev­ery­thing we do in life. I barely re­mem­ber my own pass­word, as is.

CP: You talk about Net­flix a lot. Are you ad­dicted?

Singh: I’m just an ad­dict to ev­ery­thing that has good con­tent — so YouTube, Net­flix, HBO, all of that. If I have a creative block when I’m writing a (YouTube) script, I will watch an episode of a new show. More of­ten than not, I will think of at least two script ideas.

CP: So what have you been watch­ing?

Singh: I just fin­ished “Santa Clarita Diet,” Drew Bar­ry­more’s new show. It’s a comedic zom­bie show and I’m like, “I want to do some­thing zom­bie on my chan­nel.”

CP: Have you seen the se­ries “13 Rea­sons Why”? It’s gen­er­at­ing a lot of con­tro­versy over its por­trayal of sui­cide and how one teenager’s class­mates were to­tally obliv­i­ous to her men­tal state.

Singh: I ac­tu­ally just started watch­ing it. I’m like four episodes in. I def­i­nitely res­onate with the idea that you don’t al­ways know what’s go­ing on with some­one’s life. Some­times even be­ing in the pub­lic eye I get that a lot. I get peo­ple who meet me for all of 10 sec­onds and make a judg­ment call on who I am, and have no idea what the rest of my day is like.

CP: You ad­dress your own de­pres­sion in the book; high­light your state of mind in 2009 at your low­est and frame it against a more re­cent mo­ment when you felt suc­cess. Why was ad­dress­ing that im­por­tant?

Singh: I wanted to show ... that I have been through some chal­lenges. I didn’t find it im­por­tant to talk about what those chal­lenges were, just the fact that I’ve been through a re­ally tough pe­riod. I wanted to talk about that so peo­ple knew they were tak­ing ad­vice from some­one who’s ac­tu­ally had to pick her­self back up.

CP: You talk about dreams of acting in films but re­count a par­tic­u­larly stress­ful Hol­ly­wood au­di­tion. Have you set aside that goal for now?

Singh: I hate au­di­tions so much, but I un­der­stand they’re a nec­es­sary evil and I do them. Af­ter my book tour is done I’ll prob­a­bly do a lot more.

CP: What would be your ideal role?

Singh: It would def­i­nitely be a Khaleesi — “Game of Thrones.” I just wanna kill peo­ple, ya know? I wanna be pow­er­ful. I wanna ride a horse. And I’d like to be­head some­one on TV. I think that’s very fun. Dragons? I mean, come on.

CP: You fin­ished the Cana­dian leg of your book tour and will em­bark on a run of global dates through­out May. What’s next for Lilly Singh?

Singh: Im­me­di­ately? Pad Thai. Af­ter that, I’m go­ing to dom­i­nate the world in one way or an­other.

Lilly Singh, author of “How to be a Bawse,” says she never does any­thing less than 200 per cent.

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