YouTube sensation Superwoman — aka Lilly Singh — was invited to take part in this year’s Air Farce New Year’s Eve special. Lilly’s had quite the year and has been all over the map. From Bollywood to Hollywood, YouTube to the CBC. We were lucky enough to chat with your girl, Superwoman, about the year that she’s had, collaborating with some big names like James Franco and how she’ll be spending her New Year’s Eve.
You’ve had an incredible year. You’ve rapped in “Mauj Ki Malaharein,” for Gulaab Gang, released “#LEH,” checked out the MTV Europe Music Awards, had a part in Dr. Cabbie and now you’re finishing 2014 off with an appearance on CBC’s Air Farce New Year’s Eve! Did we miss anything? How has all this been for you?
I think that the only thing you missed is the fact that The Rock has tweeted me several times! The people that I’ve collaborated with this year have been really, really phenomenal. From my favourite Bollywood actors to Seth Rogen and James Franco.
It’s been super overwhelming. In fact, right now, I’m editing my 2014 recap video and I’m just like “Did all of this really happen?” It’s a constant state of not believing what’s happened. It’s like I’m living, but I’m not living because I feel like I’m dreaming. It’s the strangest thing!
Have you had a chance to process all of this yet?
Truthfully, no. I’ve made myself so busy to the point where I don’t know how to feel emotions anymore and it’s quite sad. It’s that I go from one thing to the next and I don’t take a second to think about what has happened. I used to be really good at that [processing it all], in fact one of my new year’s resolutions is to go back to that. I seldom take the opportunity to go “Wait! Dude, that’s awesome!” and I should feel this emotional for a day or so but it’s so busy that you don’t always get a chance to do that.That’s a huge flaw and it’s something that I want to get the chance to work on.
Your YouTube series recently had some big names appear. Kunal Nayyar from The Big Bang Theory as well as James Franco and Seth Rogen for The Interview – how did that come about? What was it like working with Franco & Rogen? Did you all work on the material together? What was the creative process like?
The Seth Rogen and James Franco deal was basically that they had their new movie, The Interview, coming out and they had a deal with YouTube where they wanted to do three collaborations with three YouTubers. YouTube opened up the doors to all the YouTubers telling us to pitch them our ideas and that they would pick three. My idea was one of the three, which was really awesome because I could only imagine that they got a lot of ideas! So, when they picked me, I had to make my way to L.A., put a set together and make sure that everything was good.
The cool thing about that video is that every time that you see me, Seth and James in the same scene, we shot it in 45 minutes… And 45 minutes is a very short amount of time! They’re both really cool. I’m not going to lie, it was nerve wrecking though because they come from a very traditional world, so naturally, they were very skeptical about the ways we shoot YouTube videos, which are not as fancy when it comes to production and a set as traditional Hollywood! But they were cool. They were just how you’d think they’d be… Being that rich and famous. Being that busy. They were very nice, but they were like “let’s do our business,” but they weren’t disrespectful at all. It was a really great experience. Out of the both of them, I really bonded with Seth more — probably because I kissed him four times — but it was really cool.
We didn’t get to work on the material together. I worked on the entire script and concept and then literally just fed them the lines and they regurgitated them, line after line. The creative process was that I had to basically write everything that I mentioned, walk in, had my own shooters. So we actually did run throughs for hours before James and Seth showed up in order to maximize 45 minutes. My biggest stress was [only having] the 45 minutes. I was like “There’s no way this is going to happen in 45 minutes!” So we did run throughs so my shooters would understand how we’d be filming.
As for Kunal Nayyar, we met on the set of Dr. Cabbie and became really good friends. We’ve been friends for over a year now and I kept telling telling him that I wanted him to be in one of my videos! So this was the perfect opportunity to do that. I love him — he’s a great guy!
Did you get a chance to check out The Interview yet?
I, unfortunately, haven’t had a chance to check out The Interview yet, but it is my plan to check it out very soon. I’ve just been busy with all the editing that I’ve had to do.
The Air Farce New Years special is a Canadian TV staple. Did you grow up watching it?
Yes, I have watched it… Not every single year, but quite a few years. That’s why I was totally psyched when they asked me to be on it. I thought that it was just a huge honour.
How did this opportunity come about?
They emailed me and reached out. As soon as I saw “CBC’s Air Farce,” those key words just light up a bulb in my brain and I was like “Oh hey, this is something that I definitely want to do!”
You got to visit the CBC, meaning you got to see Mr. Dressup’s Tree House! What was that like?
Okay — let me tell you about this story! My friend (who came to help out with the shoot) and I were walking out of the CBC. I just finished my shoot and was feeling good and he stopped dead in his tracks and would not speak. It was literally a dear-in-headlights face. I was like “Dude, what’s wrong?” He’s like “Do you know what this is.” Of course I knew what it was! We dropped all of our bags and ran to the tree. [Laughs]. We’re like posing with the tree… I have 10 pictures with the tree. I grew up watching Mr. Dressup, so that was really cool for me to see. I feel like seeing the Mr. Dressup tree was a huge highlight of my year.
Without spoiling too much, can you preview your appearance in Air Farce New Year’s Eve 2014?
It’s pretty much an exaggerated experience of spending New Year’s Eve with your parents. There is some element of truth. It’s the story about a kid that is going out to try to party and the parents being the parents.
You try to avoid your parents and their questions/curfew on your way out, which is something we’ve all gone through ( and sometimes still go through it) …
Yes — even today. My parents are super cool but if I go to a 10 o’clock movie, and my mom will be like “What? So late!?” She doesn’t comprehend that things start late sometimes… Especially on New Year’s Eve, when the most important part is at 12! But, it’s all good.
What do you usually do on New Year’s Eve? Are you a party person or do you chill at home?
I feel that there’s so much pressure on New Year’s Eve to do something and every year I continuously fail at satisfying that pressure. I’ve become a person that likes to chill. I used to be a party person but now I just want to sit at home with people who are cool and be in comfortable clothes. Be warm, with good food and a drink in my hand.
Also, two years ago, my grandfather (whom I was very close to) passed away on New Year’s, so now it’s a bittersweet holiday.
For this year, what I’m going to do… Two or three of my friends (I’ve discovered that I have no friends) are going to come over. We’re going to get comfortable and watch movies, play boardgames and eat junk food! That’s what’s happening and couldn’t be more content at that!
After an impressive year, what else are you working on? You’ve conquered the Internet, sang a Bollywood track and have had roles in television and film, what’s next for you? Is there a medium (film/television/internet) that you’d like to focus more on?
I am working on a tour, actually. It’s something that I’m very passionate about. I love live performance and in the upcoming year, I want to go on a tour. I’ve been working on that. It’s slow to get off its feet because there are so many moving parts of the tour. It’s been difficult to get things going but it’s something that’s definitely going to happen in the new year.
I wouldn’t say that I’ve conquered the Internet! The thing about me is that I’m one of those really annoying people that’s like “Oh! I’ve gained 4 million subscribers, great — let’s reach 5 now!” I constantly try to push myself to do more, more and more, so I’ll never feel like I’ve conquered anything!
If there was a medium that I could focus more on, I’d love to get more in to film and television. I love the Internet! Team Internet for life and I’ll continue being on the Internet, but I’d love to explore television and film as well.
Air Farce New Year’s Eve airs tonight at 8 p.m. on CBC. Subscribe to Superwoman on YouTube here.