‘Female, colour and bisexual’ — this is how Indian-origin Canadian YouTuber Lilly Singh came out to the world. While it may have seemed like just a tweet, Lilly admits that mustering up the courage to come out was indeed “nerve wracking”, especially because she grew up in a family deeply rooted in Indian culture.
“I thought it was important to finally speak about it. Growing up in Indian culture, there are a lot of things we don’t talk about like sexuality, mental health, harassment and abuse. I don’t want to contribute to the culture of silence because these things affect so many of us. But we never create a dialogue. Of course, it was a nerve wracking situation, but ultimately, I love myself and I am proud of who I am, and that’s why I did it,” Lilly says, adding, “I encourage other people to be unapologetic about themselves as well.”
The digital star was born in Scarborough, Canada, to parents who hailed from Hoshiarpur, Punjab. And she is very close to her parents, who have also appeared in some of her videos as well. So, did she discuss with her parents before making the announcement?
“When I decided to tweet, it wasn’t anyone else’s decision but mine. They (parents) have been very supportive of what I have done so far. They have always been used to a daughter who is very strong-minded and were very clear about what I want to do and who I want to be. Ultimately, they respect my decision. Honestly, I didn’t ask anyone’s opinion and didn’t involve anyone else,” asserts Lilly.
The 31-year-old’s decision was met with a lot of love and approval on social media all over the world. And why should it not have, after all, Lilly is a role-model to so many women. She hopes that she can inspire more and more women to be embrace themselves completely, especially in India where sexual expression is still considered as a taboo.
“I think, it ultimately comes down to conversations and of course a lot of support from the parents. My generation has a little more courage about starting that conversation,” she says.
Even though there is this whole talk about inclusivity in Hollywood, does she still come across people who ask why her? “For sure, Hollywood is improving, they understand that representation matters, but there is still work to be done. I have my own production company and sometimes when I am pitching stories, I am told that a story about am immigrant woman from India is not relatable and people will not be able to relate to that,” Lilly shares.
Other than being a YouTube star, Lilly has also been a part of Hollywood projects, including Bad Moms (2016), Ice Age: Collision Course (2016) and Fahrenheit 451 (2018) . She now is also the host of the late night show — A Little Late with Lilly Singh, which airs on Star World. This makes her the first female South Asian late night host.