Create & Cultivate 100: Philanthropy: Lilly Singh

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THE BIGGEST HEART. 

Lilly Singh

For YouTube personality and influencer Lilly Singh a meme a day keeps the grump away.

The Canadian YouTube personality, vlogger, comedian, author, and actress, who goes by the YouTube name IISuperwomanII, has amassed over 2 billion views on her videos since beginning her channel in October 2010. Though she’s known for her comedic take on everything from. It’s her first upload (now deleted) a spoken word piece on religion and humanity, that most closely ties to her work with #GirlLove, an internet campaign the YouTuber launched in December 2016. Lilly, in unison with other successful women like Grace Helbig, encouraged young girls to spread love by complimenting other girls and using the #girllove.

The campaign and the love grew.

Lilly now partners with WE charity, part of the ME to WE organization, a for-profit social enterprise that empowers people to work together to change the world. The WE charity donates 90 percent of its earnings to developing villages to help grow them into sustainable communities. For the Girl Love campaign, ME to WE created a Rafiki bracelet, outsourcing the labor for the creation of the bracelets to Kenya, which now sell on the ME to WE online store. On a recent trip to Kenya she was so inspired by the women making the bracelets saying. “It has been so humbling to see the impact we made last year on these young girls in Kenya with our first #GirlLove Rafiki.”

She prefers to spell boss as “bawse,” and we’d say that’s exactly what she is.

More from Lilly below.

Name: Lilly Singh

Instagram Handle: @iisuperwomanii

If there were a social media apocalypse, which platform would you want to stay alive?

Twitter. It's the first platform I check in the morning and has allowed me to connect with some of my biggest inspirations.

What’s that last thing you watched or read that inspired you?

Rupi Kaur's The Sun and Her Flowers. She’s able to articulate her thoughts in such a real, relatable way, which I found intriguing and inspiring. That's what I try to do with my comedy. Relatability is priceless.

Why was it important for you to spread #GirlLove?

The sad reality is that girl-on-girl hate is everywhere: at school, at work, and online. I wanted to create a community that encourages positivity amongst women because as women, we know how amazing other women can be.

"I want young girls and women to see that encouraging one to achieve is a global win – we’re all in this together."

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I love in the Life Changing Trip to Kenya vid, you call the beads for the #GirlLove rafiki "the recipe." As if each one is a small part of the ingredients for love. Can you tell us about that moment?

Technically the mamas call the beads "the recipe" because it contains the colour coding and type of bead required to create the rafiki. However, I would agree that love is definitely in the recipe since each rafiki is handmade by a mama. In addition, the income they receive helps families in outstanding ways.

How did you land on the concept of rafikis-- or friendship bracelets?

This was heavily inspired by the knowledge the We Staff and organization as a whole has. Rafikis/beading is very much part of the Massai culture to begin with, so to take an activity that would happen anyways and add economic value to it is a double win. Also, they're cute!

What do you want your Superwoman legacy to be in 30 years?

The greatest legacy I could ever leave behind is inspiring people to be the best versions of themselves.

"I've learned that empowering people to change the world in their unique way is incredibly valuable to humanity – far greater than any numeric milestone like views or money."

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What is your favorite video you’ve ever done?

I have a lot of favourites, but my collaboration with Dwayne Johnson is most dear to my heart. Throughout my childhood, Dwayne was my absolute hero and to think that he’s now like a mentor and friend to me is surreal. Working alongside him was not only educational and inspirational, but it was the number one thing on my bucket list.  

You're known for keeping it funny and positive. From the get-go was that part of your plan? To put some good vibes into the world?

I started making YouTube videos because I was depressed and trying to make myself happy. Therefore, keeping it positive has always naturally been part of the creative process. I'm fortunate enough to be in a really good and happy place today, but I know the impact a positive comedy video can have on someone having a bad day. So yes – that's the plan!

What has been the biggest surprise of your career to date?

It is difficult to share my biggest surprise of my career, but I have three moments that are extra special to me.   First is my world tour and documentary, “A Trip to Unicorn Island.” Being able to travel the world, meet my fans and spread positivity was an unforgettable experience.   Second is my Girl Love Rafiki Bracelet. When I saw my design come to life, I was overwhelmed. The bracelets not only represent being passionate about Girl Love, but doing something about it.   Last is “How To Be A Bawse", of course! Writing my book has been a surreal journey.  

 

When you hit a difficult bump in the road, what drives you forward?

I just really love life. I'm grateful for all the people I know, opportunities I get, and experiences I live. More than anything, gratitude drives me forward and I'm a huge believer that it's a necessary ingredient in happiness and success.

It gets a bad rap sometimes. But your platform has allowed initiatives like Girl Love to be successful. What are some of the positives you've seen come from social media?

Social media has given many people around the world a voice in ways that were not possible before. It has enabled real people to tell real stories with real voices. And those voices are diverse.

Where does your drive and passion come from?

I’m inspired by my fans, #TeamSuper. I started my YouTube channel because I felt alone, and their love and support has completely changed my life for the better. When I get to meet them in person, hear their stories and see how my videos have encouraged them to work harder or love themselves more, that’s true inspiration.

What about your career makes you feel the most complete?

Creation makes me feel most complete. It's a beautiful thing to have an idea in your brain and then take all the necessary steps to make it a reality. Not many people are afforded that privilege and I'm very grateful to see my brain babies come to life.

What would you call your superpower?

Hustle. Immense Hustle.

Photo Credit: @davisfactor

Hair & Makeup: @SmashboxCosmetics @TheGlamApp @TheOuai

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