Lilly Singh on Struggling with Depression: 'It's Nothing to Be Ashamed About'

Lilly Singh talks about fashion and her decision to reveal her struggles with depression to her millions of YouTube subscribers

Photo: Lilly Singh

What’s the secret to Lilly Singh’s amazing Superwoman style?

“It’s called I rolled out of bed and put shiny shoes on,” Singh joked with fans on the Entertainment Weekly and PEOPLE Interview Stage at VidCon 2015. “Honestly, I just wear what makes me feel good. So many people come up to me and they’re like, ‘Did you know you’re a tomboy? You should try wearing dresses.’ ”

Singh – who admitted when she travels she packs around 60 hats – continued: “I’m like, I think I’m just going to wear what makes me happy so I’m just really big on wearing things that reflect my personality like colorful hats and weird shoes and things that I just think are fun.”

And although, Singh now has over 6 million YouTube subscribers and just wrapped up her A Trip to Unicorn Island! tour, when she first started she never imagined she would be where she is today.

“I genuinely, when I started my YouTube channel, did not think it would get this big. My number one – if you guys had watched me way, way back in the day – I made a tribute video when I hit 1000 subscribers. It was a Justin Bieber parody that was called ‘Never Say Never.’ That’s the extent I thought I would reach, was a thousand subscribers. I definitely didn t think it would get this big.”

And, if she could tell her younger self anything she says, “It would be not to overthink things.”

“One of the best piece of advice I can give is to not overthink things because when I started I didn’t think about a brand, a schedule or how to say or do things,” she explained. “I just did it and figured it out. I would tell myself, ‘Don’t overthink it. Do it because you love to do it and just have fun with it.’ ”

But even though Singh is constantly making videos for millions, she admits it was “super difficult” to reveal on YouTube that she struggled with depression.

“That was definitely something super difficult and I hate to play the race card, but especially as a South Asian female it’s really not talked about in my community at all, any type of mental illness,” Singh explained. “So it was difficult to include it, but the reason I started making videos was because I was coming out of depression – and I thought there’s probably so many other people out there that experience the exact same thing and no one talks about it.”

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She added, “I don t get why because it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s a part of life – the ups-and-downs – and I really wanted people to start talking about it so I thought I’m going to lead by example. I’m going to openly talk about it.”

Now over five million people have seen the video and some have even reached out to her.

“I think it’s done a great deal because I’m at meet-and-greets, a lot of people open up to me and say, ‘I was able to get help because of you like I was struggling. I was able to get help because of you,'” she said. “That’s all I can ever want while I started making YouTube videos so I do think if you ever want to change anything about the world you have to lead by example and that’s just what I did.”

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