Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson is looking to start a YouTube channel. So who else would he ask for advice but Canada’s Lilly Singh?
That was the premise of a 2016 YouTube skit that had the actor, the highest paid in the world at the time, requesting the input of the highest paid woman on YouTube.
It’s rich, of course, that one of the biggest brands in the world would require the counsel of Scarborough-born Singh, who created a media empire in a bedroom from her parent’s house.
Her advice: “Just be yourself.”
So far, that’s worked for Singh. Forbes estimated that Singh earned $10.5 million (U.S.) in 2017, making her the tenth-highest paid earner on the channel. Her work featuring skits aimed at a younger audience about issues such as bullying, gender and race have resonated with her 13.6 million subscribers.
The videos aren’t slick: Singh doesn’t have the benefit of a writers’ room filled with former Harvard Lampoon alumni. But the earnest, often cheesy videos have attracted celebrity guest stars that include Selena Gomez, Seth Rogen, James Franco and Priyanka Chopra.
In addition to her YouTube channel, the busy Singh has authored a book, is starring in a new NBC pilot sitcom Bright Futures, released a new lipstick, had a role as a vlogger in HBO’s Fahrenheit 451 and launched her own production company Unicorn Island Productions. She is also a UNICEF goodwill ambassador supporting Childline 1098, which addresses child abuse in India.
The Star caught up with Singh, 29, to ask about her new sitcom and the juggling act of being one of the world’s busiest media stars.
NBC cast you in their upcoming pilot sitcom Bright Futures with Emily Ratajkowski. It looks like you’re playing a doctor, which I think would make your mom and dad proud, but typecasting perhaps?
(Laughs) Honestly, it’s not typecasting. My character just really wants to be a doctor, she thinks doctors are cool, she’s not being forced by her parents. It’s a very diverse bunch of roommates, millennials who are looking to bright futures but are really getting their butts kicked.