When My Supergirl Met Superwoman
Back in April, when I found out Internet and viral sensation Lilly Singh aka Superwoman was coming to the UK on her book tour, I knew I had to make Shalini’s dream come true.
I have followed Superwoman’s videos for years – maybe because it’s my job to know these things. I met her years ago myself when she was relatively new on the scene and even though she was already quite popular – she wasn’t the phenomenon that she is now.
My niece introduced Shalini to her YouTube videos a couple of years ago. Lilly publishes a new video every Monday and Thursday and Shalini waits excitedly for each one. I’m not a parent who’s overly keen on my children having too much unsupervised access online but with Lilly’s videos, I haven’t minded as much. Her humour is clean and she doesn’t exploit the young mind for fame or views.
Now, it’s not easy to see, meet or have a photo taken with Lilly. So as soon as the tour dates were released, there I was clicking away at my computer, securing two tickets to see her when she visited Birmingham. I was surprised at how affordable they were and what was included in the price; a signed copy of the book, to watch her ‘do her thing’ on stage for an hour and a professional photograph with each ticket holder. The capacity in the venue was 400 and I knew she would fill it, no problem. I was a bit cynical that she would meet and greet each fan. But from what I know of Lilly and have seen in the past, she adores her fans and loves meeting them, never wanting to disappoint.
Thanks to my job, I met her a couple of days earlier when she dropped in for some interviews. I told her then that I’d bought tickets for her upcoming event. She was pleased that I’d be bringing my daughter and hoped the surprise went well.
The day before, I told Shalini we wouldn’t be going to her weekly swimming lesson because we had an appointment in town. I had hoped that would be enough of an explanation but of course, I forget that she’s a tween! I wasn’t quite ready for the bombardment of questions that ensued. I had to relent a little and tell her I had a surprise for her and that she would like it. That did little to satisfy her curiosity but I insisted that was all I was telling her.
Saturday morning came and she was so annoyed at me, for waking her up early and telling her to wear something nice. She snapped at me several times before we left the house. At this point, I was frustrated, quite angry and a little heartbroken. I had gone out of my way to make Shalini‘s wish come true and really wanted to surprise her with it. I could have just told her earlier but I thought the expression on her face would be worth the secret. I kept my feelings inside my own head and off we went.
She cheered up a little on the drive into town. She was out and about now so her mood had lifted a little and we just chatted about various things. As soon as we parked in town, I grabbed a coffee and off we went towards the venue.
As soon as we got to the side entrance, I pulled out my phone so I could capture her reaction. “You’re going to meet Superwoman. It’s a meet and greet for her book tour”. Shalini isn’t one for tears, loud screams and squeals so I wasn’t expecting her to start going crazy in the street. She was left open-mouthed and then did a quick clap of her hands, with a big smile on her face. That reaction was priceless. I knew that this meant everything to her. One point for Mummy, I thought.
We rounded the corner and were surprised to see how many people had actually already lined up. I knew the event was sold out but I was taken aback at seeing the people in reality. It was around 10:30am and the doors hadn’t yet opened. The queue spread from the entrance right around the corner and we followed it to the back. There were mainly teenagers there with their friends. There were also some really young girls accompanied by parents and grandparents. People had brought gift bags, wrapped presents, posters, chocolate boxes, cuddly toys and all sorts. This day meant a lot to so many young girls.
As the queue inched slowly forward, I glanced at Shalini every so often. She was tidying up her hair, smiling to herself, taking part in my videos and photos and was generally just in a great mood.
Lilly had done so many interviews on the UK leg of her tour. We caught up with some of them as we waited for our turn to enter the building. As soon as we were inside, our tickets were scanned and we were each given a copy of the book. We immediately opened them to see if we had won a Golden Ticket. Ten people would be lucky enough to receive one and they (plus one) would get to meet Lilly in a VIP room before she met and took a picture with every other person at the event.
Sadly we didn’t win, but thanks to my previous contact with the publishers, one of the representatives instructed me to just come up at the end of the show to the area allocated for the Golden Ticket winners. Shalini couldn’t believe her luck. She would get to meet her backstage!
It took almost an hour for everyone to be let in, seated and then for the event to start. I could see some parents getting fidgety because the wait was so long. The time actually flew pretty quickly, as the crowd kept everyone entertained by singing along to Drake, Fifth Harmony and The Weeknd blaring out of the speakers.
Before we knew it, we were all able to countdown the last minute, as the counter flashed up on the screen. Shalini could hardly sit still as she joined in the countdown from ten to one. I even found myself getting carried away by the excitement. Suddenly Lilly burst onto stage to one of loudest roars I’ve ever heard. There were people screaming, cheering and applauding all around me. Everyone jumped out of their seats, as Lilly welcomed the crowd to the show.
Lilly looked great. In her black suit, printed shirt and two dutch braids with silver trainers, she looked smart, yet approachable, funny and relatable to her young audience. She started by explaining what a ‘Bawse’ was and why she had decided to write a book. The meaning behind the word was inspirational in itself: someone who conquers every aspect of their lives.
Over the next hour, she talked about the some of the topics she covers in her book: working hard, being yourself, being grateful, controlling your mind, being present in every aspect of your life and being ambitious. It was an inspirational talk, which could have gotten preachy or had her sounding like a life-coach. But she had such stage presence and there was so much comedy involved that it was actually a really fun and involved performance.
I could see parents around me who probably didn’t know much about Lilly or her Superwoman videos, nodding their heads, cheering and getting involved, approving of her advice to their impressionable teenagers.
At the end of the show, I turned to Shalini and asked her if she was happy. She had the biggest grin on her face and nodded. She was speechless. The Golden Ticket winners were called up and off we went to the side of the room. Everyone waited patiently outside the door except for one teenager who was crying uncontrollably. Her friend was wiping away her tears and trying not to smudge her make-up. I couldn’t believe just what this meant to so many people.
Once we were in the very small VIP room, we all took a seat and waited for Lilly to come in. All the parents smiled at each other because we all had something in common that day. As Lilly walked, in the girl who had been crying, started shaking and more tears rolled down her face.
Lilly spoke to everyone, asking if they’d enjoyed the show and what their favourite part was. All the girls answered. Then one-by-one they got to go up and have a photo taken. I could see Shalini was nervous and kept fidgeting with her hands as she awaited her turn. Her smile was huge. Lilly asked her how she was but all Shalini could do was smile nervously. I knew this was a moment she would be able to cherish forever.
Once back in the main room, we were immediately one of the first to have the professional photograph taken on stage. Shalini grabbed a hairbrush out of my bag, tidied herself up and waited for Lilly to come back out. It was so nice to see she was out very quickly and didn’t keep us waiting for a long time. There were four hundred people to get through, after all. Again there was a roar as she took to the stage.
Everyone remained seated until they were called row by row. We were so lucky to be at the front of the queue. We had been seated further back so would have had at least an hour’s wait before we got our turn.
Shalini was now a bit more prepared but still as excited. Lilly turned to her and said “Nice to see you again”. This time I decided to have a photo taken too. I told Lilly she had made Shalini’s day and she smiled the biggest smile. “I’m so glad you brought her”. We were given a poster and a card with a code to download the photo for free later.
As we left the building, I decided to capture a video of Shalini’s reaction to the whole morning. She smiled and answered only in short sentences. I knew she was still somewhat in shock. She hugged and thanked me. That, for me, was the biggest reward. She clutched her book tightly
I had made her dream come true.
I have linked this post up with the awesome Vicky over at Honest Mum.