How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life

How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life

Lilly Singh


LILLY SINGH (AKA iiSUPERWOMANii) is a multifaceted entertainer. She has found worldwide fame through her comedic and inspirational YouTube videos, amassing more than eleven million subscribers. She has appeared in the feature films Ice Age: Collision Course and Bad Moms, and in 2016 she starred in and produced her own feature-length film, A Trip to Unicorn Island. As a role model to women and girls around the globe, Singh created her #GirlLove initiative to break the cycle of girl-on-girl hate and fight for gender equality.

Singh was named to the Forbes’s 2016 30 Under 30: Hollywood & Entertainment and Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business 2016 lists. She has made numerous television appearances, including multiple stints on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, People, Elle Canada, Seventeen, Vogue India, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, among others. A successful entrepreneur, Singh released her own signature lipstick, called Bawse, with Smashbox and has also partnered with Coca-Cola.


Wait. Let me back up here. Hi! My name is LILLY …

and HOLY CRAP, I wrote a book!

If you’re reading this, I’m assuming

it’s for one of THREE reasons:

YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH MY YOUTUBE VIDEOS and also know me as Superwoman. If so, thanks for supporting me outside of the digital space and allowing me to come through your screen and into your home like that terrifying lady from The Ring. Come to think of it, we have similar hair, so I apologize in advance for that terribly accurate comparison. Seven days JK! I’m chill.

YOU’RE A PARENT AND FOUND THIS in your child’s bedroom and you’re curious. You’re also nosy and want to ensure that this book isn’t filled with filth that will corrupt your baby’s brain. Hi there! I can assure you that this book is family-friendly with a healthy hint of sass. My goal is to inspire your baby to work hard and achieve great things. You should definitely buy three more copies and plant them around the house.

YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHO I AM or you’ve vaguely heard of me. That’s completely fine. Maybe you’re a total stranger who just wants to know how to be a Bawse, or maybe you are looking to add some diversity into your life.

Regardless of how you got here, I’m so glad you did. Thank you for spending your valuable time and hard-earned money on this book. For those of you who aren’t familiar with me, I’m best known for creating uplifting, comedic videos on YouTube, amongst other things. I’m the holder of a psychology degree, an activist for gender equality, an occasional rapper, a sister, a unicorn, and now an author.

The last few years of my life have been pretty crazy! I’ve done everything from kissing Seth Rogen while dressed up as my mom to having my face plastered across Times Square to helping send girls in Kenya to school. I always knew I wanted to write a book, but I wanted to wait until I felt like I truly had something to say. I’m not that old or wise, so this is not a memoir. Instead, this book is an accumulation of lessons I’ve learned that I want to share with you. They are the things that have made me a Bawse. What’s a Bawse, you ask? Great question!

A Bawse is like a boss, but so epic that I had to change the spelling. Unlike a boss, who is defined as such only within the workplace, a Bawse is someone who excels in both personal and professional settings. A Bawse exudes confidence, turns heads, gets hurt efficiently, communicates effectively, and hustles relentlessly. My hope is that this book will unleash your inner Bawse and give you the tools necessary to not only survive life but conquer it.

This book is divided into four sections, each filled with chapters that illustrate a specific theme. Within each chapter I relay a lesson I’ve learned and how you can best apply that lesson to your life. At the end of each section, you’ll also see that I’ve included a feature entitled “Out of the Blue.” These sections are very important to me because they describe a time in my life when I was fighting depression and also allow me to highlight a moment from my life post-depression. I included these essays because I think it’s important to know who you’re taking advice from. I want you to know that I’ve been through some tough challenges and that the lessons I’m sharing with you in this book were not easily learned. I’m not writing about mythical, fairy-tale stuff. I’m telling you what has actually worked in my life, the things that pulled me out of a place of deep depression into a life filled with the kind of success I couldn’t have ever imagined. Let’s be real: a billion views on the Internet and millions of subscribers don’t justify why you should take advice from me. But hopefully these “Out of the Blue” sections will.

I’m not an expert and I’m not claiming to be one. However, I’ve had some truly unique experiences that have taught me valuable lessons. I’m writing this book for the same reason I started making YouTube videos: because I want to be a positive light in this world. This book isn’t merchandise or a check mark on my to-do list; it’s so much more than that. When I was going through my darkest days, the smallest thing could flip a switch in my brain and change my day from horrible to not so bad. You have dreams and goals you want to achieve. We all do. Maybe you’re already on a steady path to success, or maybe you’re struggling to make ends meet. Either way, I want this book to flip that switch. I want you to accomplish everything you ever wanted in life, and I truly believe you can. But it won’t be easy.

Being a Bawse is hard work. It requires an unfathomable amount of dedication and hustle. The following pages do not contain tricks, quick tips, or get-rich-quick schemes. I’m not going to tell you about any shortcuts or good luck charms. Instead, I am going to make your work ethic sweat, your mind expand, your fear dissolve, and your obstacles crumble.

If you’re ready to conquer your life, turn the page. It’s time to be a Bawse.

I’m rooting for you with all my heart.


LIKE MOST RULES, EVERY RULE IN THIS BOOK has an exception. In fact, don’t even think of these chapters as rules; think of them as guidelines. Don’t look for the unique scenario that disproves my point. In other words, don’t be that annoying person in the YouTube comments section who has to be a Debbie Downer. If I say “SMILE!” don’t yell, “But what if someone got paralyzed in a bungee-jumping accident and fractured their jaw and doesn’t have the ability to smile anymore, Lilly?” Don’t focus on finding the loopholes but instead use that energy and focus on what you can learn. Also, if you got into a bungee-jumping accident and only fractured your jaw, you have a lot to smile about!

BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK, I NEED YOU to lay down your defense mechanisms. Take them off and put them away. I’m going to call you out and tell you you’re slacking. I’m going to shine a spotlight on issues that make you uncomfortable and that you want to avoid. There’s no room for excuses, justifications, or pity parties. Read the chapters with an open mind and resist the urge to get offended or defensive.

THIS BOOK HAS A LOT OF INFORMATION IN IT. I know that because it took me fifty years (an estimation) to write. Don’t feel bad if you forget things! In fact, I encourage you to read chapters over and over again because becoming a Bawse is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. Take notes. Rip out pages and plaster them to your wall. Do whatever you need to do to retain these guidelines.

IN A LOT OF THE CHAPTERS, I talk about how I apply each Bawse rule to my life. If you can’t relate to these specific scenarios, that’s completely fine and understandable. The goal is to understand the general principle and adapt it to your situation. I’m providing you with a framework—it’s up to you to tweak it.

DON’T GET MAD at yourself or feel discouraged. This book is an opportunity to call yourself out, grow, make mistakes, and become better. Reading this book should be viewed as a journey toward something positive, not an exercise in judgment and criticism.


Start stretching! It’s about to get real.

cue Rocky theme song


(please proceed to beat your chest with determination) THIS IS THE MOMENT!

(would be great if you could clench your fists in preparation) THE TIME IS NOW!

(initiate heavy breathing—bonus points if you squint) 3 … (maybe jump a little)

2 … (roaring noises are encouraged)

1 …



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