PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN PFLUGER
Where You’ve Seen Her: If Lilly Singh isn’t on your radar, chances are that a teenager in your life is already a big fan: The Indian-Canadian comedian’s YouTube channel, IISuperwomanII, has racked up 15 million subscribers and 3 billion views since 2010.
Origins: “I always wanted to be that kid that was at the center of a dance circle at a party,” says Singh, 31, who was raised in a Sikh household by Punjabi immigrant parents in the Toronto suburbs. In 2010, she uploaded her first YouTube video to cheer herself up while at college, but it wasn’t until her “Sh*t Punjabi Mothers Say” video reached 1 million views that she realized she could make vlogging a career. “I was so intrigued by this idea of people shooting videos in their rooms that other people around the world were watching,” says Singh, who parlayed her internet stardom into the 2017 New York Times best-seller How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life and small roles in Bad Moms and HBO’s Fahrenheit 451.
Star Turn: Last month, Singh took over Carson Daly’s 1:35 a.m. slot in NBC’s late-night lineup with her new show, A Little Late with Lilly Singh, becoming the only network late-night host who’s a woman of color. “I think by nature of who I am, I’m already bringing such a different perspective,” says Singh, who also identifies as bisexual. “When I sit in my writers’ room meetings, it becomes so apparent to me that the types of sketches I want to shoot and the types of things I want to discuss in my monologue are not the things I’ve seen on late night thus far.”
Making Connections: In 2017, Singh started the campaign #GirlLove to end girl-on-girl hate and was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to advocate for children’s rights. She brings the same heartfelt approach to her show. “I want to make sure I’m my full authentic self on that stage and to that audience,” she says. “I don’t want to just play this role of the host who brings out the guest, who asks the questions. I want them to know my personality, my flaws, my strength—because that’s how humans connect.”