Lilly Singh: One of the Highest-paid Female YouTubers is….

February 22 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: Setting Boundaries

Guys. iPhones now have a weekly report of screen time—including how often you pick up your phone—and I. Am. Shook. I wonder what life would be like without my phone in my hand or right in front of me, from dawn to well after dusk. Unhealthy tech boundaries are real. If you’re like me, you pick up your phone during nearly every pause throughout the day.

Try something out with me this week: a boundary-enforcing experiment, if you will. During lunch or dinner, put your phone in another room. Count how many times you feel compelled to check your phone, or how strange it feels to be apart from it. Do you feel anxious? Uneasy? Bored? Great, that means you have a clear answer: It’s time to rethink your dependence on the phone.


During a show by my favorite comedian, Ali Wong, each guest was required to put their phone in a locked bag. We held on to our phones the whole time and could only unlock the bag in the lobby. The idea was genius because instead of looking at everyone with their phones up in the air, we looked at the person on stage. We paid attention. Listen: All the funny magic is happening right in front of you. Only 10 percent of comedians are female, after all, so let’s enjoy the show.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Lilly Singh, YouTube Celebrity

There’s no doubt that funny women are on the rise, in part because of technology. We can scan YouTube and watch the next big thing, like Lilly Singh. Lilly’s a bonafide YouTube celebrity, which I’m sure your grandparents would scratch their heads about. But the times are a’changing, grandpa.

When she was younger, Lilly used to call herself “Superwoman” as a way to feel strong and invincible. Now she’s known by the name, and with 12 million subscribers and counting, she’s earned the number 10 spot on the 2017 list of highest-paid YouTubers. There are plenty of reasons this fact is astounding in all the best ways. First of all, man after man after man—some with some very questionable material and views, mind you—make up the other nine highest-paid YouTubers.

Lilly has a remarkable background. Raised in Canada, she was brought up as a traditional Sikh Indian. She made waves a couple years ago when she reexamined the Sikh holiday, Rakhri, in which the brother-sister relationship is celebrated. Traditionally, the sister ties a decorative string on her brother to ward off evil, while the brother promises to protect her. Lilly and her brother changed that norm by each tying a string around each other’s wrists, as a testament to gender equality.

Not to mention that while her parents steered her towards a psychology degree in college, hoping she'd become a counselor, she decided to take her own route. She began posting YouTube videos in 2010 when she was still a student, as a way of battling depression— talk about taking charge of your situation. And we are glad you did, Lilly.

What I appreciate about Lilly is her candor. She admits that she learns and grows and changes her view about ideas or practices she originally didn’t question. But Lilly isn’t all serious business. She’s known for the alter ego characters she plays on YouTube, like a dad who thinks he knows best and a dude who exaggerates about his game with the ladies. Her channel humorously reflects ideas that challenge traditional gender norms in Sikh society, and she’s been brave enough to break the mold in her culture.

Late last year, Lilly surprised fans when she announced a hiatus. In her renowned truthfulness, she shared that after generating content on a consistent basis for eight years, her mental health had waned. Her burnout comes as no surprise, since she scripts, stars, shoots and even edits her content.

Girl, you deserve a break. We’ll be here waiting for your return, sending you all the good vibes. When your job is to stay glued to the computer screen, it’s more important than you know to take moments for yourself.


We’ve got to close out with a quote by Lilly Singh:

"The universe might respect the law of attraction, but it respects a good hustle even more."

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