Lilly takes charge

On her first visit to Malaysia, YouTube sen­sa­tion Lilly Singh shows why she’s a true ‘bawse’.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Showbiz - By TER­ENCE TOH star2@thes­tar.com.my

SHE doesn’t fly around on an in­vis­i­ble jet, and no, she doesn’t use a Lasso of Truth. She may have played the Ama­zon su­per­heroine once (on the pop­u­lar Epic

Rap Bat­tles Of His­tory video se­ries) but Cana­dian YouTube sen­sa­tion and ac­tress Lilly Singh is not Won­der Wo­man.

As her YouTube user­name sug­gests, she’s Su­per­woman in­stead. But un­like her comic su­per­hero coun­ter­parts, she doesn’t need su­per­pow­ers to bring pos­i­tive change to the world: all she needs is her voice, a plat­form and the lessons she’s learnt from her life.

The well-known YouTu­ber was in Malaysia re­cently as part of her How To Be A Bawse – A Guide to Con­quer­ing Life book tour, and per­formed for her fans at a packed show at the Ple­nary Hall in KLCC, Kuala Lumpur. A com­bi­na­tion of com­edy show and mo­ti­va­tional rally, the show­case was cer­tainly mem­o­rable, thanks to Lilly’s elec­tric per­son­al­ity and the ex­u­ber­ance of her fans.

“Malaysia! Are you ready?! Thank you for hav­ing me, it’s my first time here in this beau­ti­ful coun­try!” en­thused Lilly as she emerged on stage to ri­otous cheers, dressed in a blue jacket and slacks.

“The last tour I had, I didn’t come here, and all of you did not like that. So when I went on this tour, I emailed my team, and told them, don’t you DARE for­get about Malaysia!”

If you haven’t heard of Lilly Singh be­fore, then what are you do­ing? Get your­self to YouTube, pronto.

Her chan­nel, Su­per­woman, has over 11 mil­lion subscribers, and her videos have re­ceived over 1.8 bil­lion views. Last year, she was ranked third on the Forbes list of high­est earn­ing YouTube stars, and has re­ceived a slew of dig­i­tal awards, in­clud­ing an MTV Fan­dom Award, two Teen Choice Awards and a Peo­ple’s Choice Award.

Lilly’s videos are mostly comedic (watch her My Par­ents Re­act se­ries: they are hi­lar­i­ous!) so it was no sur­prise that the ac­tress also proved pretty funny in per­son, crack­ing jokes and do­ing im­pres­sions all through­out her roughly one-and-a-half hour per­for­mance at the Ple­nary Hall.

Her show mostly com­prised lessons from her How To Be A Bawse book, which la­bels it­self as the de­fin­i­tive guide to be­ing a BAWSE: “a per­son who ex­udes con­fi­dence, reaches goals, gets hurt ef­fi­ciently, and smiles gen­uinely be­cause they’ve fought through it all and made it out the other side.”

“You can­not be a bawse if you are a slave to your mind. Your mind must be aligned with your goals,” mused Lilly.

“You have to un­der­stand that when it comes to suc­cess, there are no short­cuts. There’s no es­ca­la­tors, no get-rich quick schemes, there are no pig­gy­back rides. The only way to suc­cess is through hard work,” she said at another point of the show.

Other top­ics cov­ered were the value of in­vest­ing in your­self, how to make heeds turn, and of course, “be­ing a uni­corn”.

While the show was mostly catered to a teenage au­di­ence, much of her lessons were very prac­ti­cal (this writer is def­i­nitely steal­ing her ad­vice about “schedul­ing in­spi­ra­tion”) and it was quite heart­warm­ing to see a teenage au­di­ence so sup­port­ive of her em­pow­er­ing mes­sages.

Some lessons were de­liv­ered in a rather amus­ing way. For ex­am­ple, she ex­plained why you should go about life like play­ing a Nin­tendo game; and why you should be like Santa when you en­ter a room.

(Be­cause he’s al­ways got presents! Get it? PRES­ENCE? Okay, it was a lot fun­nier when Lilly said it.)

This de­scrip­tion of the event may make it sound like a lec­ture;

hear­ing the crowd’s cheers and ap­plause dur­ing Lilly’s show, how­ever, you would have thought you were at a rock con­cert. Some re­ally big fans had even come in uni­corn one­sies, a ref­er­ence to Lilly’s de­but film A Trip To Uni­corn Is­land.

Dur­ing the show, the au­di­ence hung on to the star’s ev­ery word, gamely vol­un­teer­ing for ev­ery ac­tiv­ity she asked them to do. One young fan was even moved to tears as she was in­vited on stage to par­tic­i­pate in an ac­tiv­ity with her idol.

And it’s one thing to make an au­di­ence cheer: it’s another to be able to make them go com­pletely silent, as Lilly did when ask­ing her fans to take a mo­ment of si­lence to be grate­ful for ev­ery­thing that had hap­pened in their lives so far.

Be­ing able to cre­ate pin-drop si­lence, in a room full of ram­bunc­tious, mostly teenage fans psyched from see­ing their idol for the first time ... if that’s not the sign of a true bawse, then what is?

‘You have to un­der­stand that when it comes to suc­cess, there are no short­cuts,’ says YouTu­ber Lilly. — M. AZHAR ARIF/The Star

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