Whether in Second Life or her blog, Strawberry Singh impresses
Strawberry Singh is an enigmatic and electrifying presence in both the real world and in Second Life, however, even though the name is a pseudonym, the person behind it is authentic. She is not portraying a character. She is just being her brilliant, creative and kind self. She just uses a different name.
Second Life is a free, 3D online virtual world, developed and owned by the San Francisco-based firm Linden Lab and launched on June 23, 2003. The users, who are called Residents, create virtual representations of themselves, called avatars, and are able to interact with places, objects and other avatars. While Second Life is similar to massively multiplayer online role-playing games; however, the Linden Group is emphatic that this creation is not a game: "There is no manufactured conflict, no set objective."
Berry, as she is called by friends and fans, has earned numerous awards for her blog including:
- 5000 ArtByte Artist Showcase Winner – 2018 Week 15
- Feedspot Awards – March 2018 – #1 of Top 40 Second Life Fashion Blogs
- The Bloggies Awards – October 2017 – Awarded Five Bloggies: Best Destination Blogger, Best Tutorial Blogger, Best Narrative Blogger, Unboxing Vlogger of the Year and Best News Blogger; Wiply Award – May 2017
- Best Strategic Social Blog, AVI Choice SLife Awards – December 2016
- Favorite Blogger and Nominated for Favorite Blog and AVI Choice The Arts Awards – February 2016 – Favorite Entertainment/Arts SL Blogger
In fact, on Valentine's Day, 2018 she was named by Linden Group as having the picture of the day.
The funny part is as far as Berry is concerned, this is only a hobby and she is very happy with her career in education in the real world where she is married, has an active social life, enjoys travel and is working on her Ph.D.
Strawberry Singh, a resident of Second Life, blogger and YouTuber connected with Michelle Tompkins for TheCelebrityCafe.com about her interest in Second Life, what makes her blog special, gave tips for newbies, explained how money works in SL and she even added a bit about her passions and interests in real life.
Michelle Tompkins: Where are you from?
Strawberry Singh: I am a Floridian.
Michelle Tompkins: Where do you live now?
Strawberry Singh: I actually grew up in Florida and still live here. I have traveled the world though as traveling is another one of my hobbies.
Michelle Tompkins: Can you please tell me about your educational background?
Strawberry Singh: I have my Masters and currently working on my Ph.D.
Michelle Tompkins: Is there anything you wish to add about your childhood, parents/siblings or pre-now life?
Strawberry Singh: I'm the youngest of many siblings.
Michelle Tompkins: What is your actual career?
Strawberry Singh: I work in Education.
Michelle Tompkins: Have you always been interested in virtual reality or augmented reality?
Strawberry Singh: Not at all. I just happened to have found Second Life back in 2007 through a friend. Before that, I didn't know anything about it.
Michelle Tompkins: Are you also a gamer? If so, what do you like to play?
Strawberry Singh: I have never been a gamer, to be honest. The only game I played somewhat was Sims.
Michelle Tompkins: Please tell me about your blog?
Strawberry Singh: I started blogging about Second Life fashion because a friend urged me to join her fashion blog. I didn't really have any interest in blogging at that time, but since she insisted I decided to give it a try and then fell in love with it.
Michelle Tompkins: You mentioned that the blog is still a hobby for you, is there a reason why you have chosen not to make this your career?
Strawberry Singh: I don't really need to make it a career as I already have a very fulfilling career in the real world. Also, I feel if I made blogging my career, it wouldn't be the welcomed escape from reality as it is right now.
Michelle Tompkins: How did you earn so many awards?
Strawberry Singh: I'm not sure, to be honest. It was never my intention to go out and seek awards for my work. I just put a lot of passion into it and had fun with it and I think people saw that and appreciated it.
Michelle Tompkins: Are there any awards of which you are especially proud?
Strawberry Singh: Pretty much every award I have received I have felt honored and humbled by the recognition. I just do this because it's an escape for me and for people to appreciate what I do, it just makes it all the more worthwhile.
Michelle Tompkins: Now Strawberry Singe is a made up name, but not a made up person. She is you with a pseudonym. Is that correct?
Strawberry Singh: Strawberry Singh is the correct spelling and yes, it's just my pseudonym. The personality that you see that comes across in my posts, videos and photography is obviously the real me.
Michelle Tompkins: How did you come up with your name?
Strawberry Singh: Kind of embarrassed to admit this because it's so boring lol, but honestly when I was signing up for Second Life I was eating a bowl of strawberries and so I just decided to enter that into the first name field. Then for the last name, I chose Singh because I felt like they sounded good together.
Michelle Tompkins: So, what led you to join Second Life on May 9, 2007?
Strawberry Singh: A friend of mine just told me about it and so I decided to try it since I had never really tried anything like a virtual world before. I didn't really understand it at first and logged out and didn't log back in for a week or two. After that, I was hooked.
Michelle Tompkins: What led you to make your tutorial videos?
Strawberry Singh: I started blogging about Second Life fashion in 2007 and after a couple of years my readers started asking me how I did my pictures because they really enjoyed them. They requested I do some tutorials showing how I do my images and also how they can also start blogging.
So in 2010, I started my first series of written tutorials about taking high-res snapshots, then cleaning up them up in Photoshop, and also a Fashion Blogging 101 post. After a few years, I then started doing video tutorials as it was faster and easier to teach using that method.
Michelle Tompkins: What is something you would like people who have never used SL to know about that platform?
Strawberry Singh: There is a huge learning curve when you first join but if you have patience and give it time, you will grow to really love it.
Michelle Tompkins: What is a mesh body?
Strawberry Singh: In Second Life a mesh body is typically known as a body part that is worn over your classic Second Life body. It is usually of higher quality and looks more attractive than the classic Second Life body.
Michelle Tompkins: Please tell me about your photography in SL?
Strawberry Singh: There's not much to tell anymore as I don't actually offer photography services anymore. These days my photography mostly consists of instructional images that I take and process to compliment my videos and blog posts.
Michelle Tompkins: What are some of your favorite spots in SL?
Strawberry Singh: Oh, that's a hard one as I don't have specific favorites anymore; I like to explore new places more often.
Michelle Tompkins: How do you find some of the great designers in SL?
Strawberry Singh: I follow other Second Life fashion bloggers whose style and art I appreciate and see which designers they are blogging.
Michelle Tompkins: Did you play with your avatar or did it always look just about the same?
Strawberry Singh: Before mesh bodies and heads hit the grid, I very rarely change the actual look of my avatar (aside from changing clothing and hair). However, especially since the mesh heads hit the grid, I tend to change my look almost on a daily basis because I have so much fun trying on new heads and creating looks with them.
Michelle Tompkins: How do you decide who you will support in SL?
Strawberry Singh: If I feel like they do quality work and I like their fashion sense and style, I will do my best to try and incorporate their work in my blog posts and videos.
Michelle Tompkins: What do you like best about SL? Least?
Strawberry Singh: I love being able to be whatever I want to be. I can dress up my avatar as I please and I have so many places to explore and discover the creativity of others. What I like least about SL are some of the technical limitations we have and also I dislike the classic Second Life avatar.
Michelle Tompkins: How active are you socially in the experience?
Strawberry Singh: I am not as socially active as I was the first couple of years I joined SL. Now I use SL mostly as a creative outlet and only log in to dress up my avatars and take pictures or make videos for my posts.
Michelle Tompkins: What are some of the most common questions you are asked?
Strawberry Singh: Some of the most common questions I'm asked are personal real-life questions about me and also technical questions about Second Life. People often want to know where I'm from in the real world, if I'm single, and what I do, etc... The tech questions usually have to do with the functionality of SL.
Michelle Tompkins: Your FAQ is very strong. It seems like people often want you to be their friend. Is it a different process than you would patronize in real life?
Strawberry Singh: I think it's natural when people read your blog posts and get to know your personality they may want to meet you and hang out with you and get to know you even more. I have met friends through my blog over the years. These days though, I don't socialize in SL that often.
Michelle Tompkins: What is the difference between Linden dollars and real money? Can people earn both in SL?
Strawberry Singh: Linden dollars is the digital currency that is used in Second Life. You can purchase Linden dollars by using your Paypal or credit card. Then you can use those Linden dollars to purchase goods and services within Second Life. If you are a merchant in Second Life, you can earn Linden dollars by selling goods and services and then you can cash out those Linden dollars for real-world currency. Many content creators in Second Life earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and can earn a very comfortable sustainable income this way.
Michelle Tompkins: What are things that people should consider buying in SL?
Strawberry Singh: Anything they feel interested in buying. It really depends on what you want to do in SL. If you want a very updated and attractive avatar, you can spend your money on mesh bodies, heads, skins, hair and high-quality clothing, shoes and accessories. If you want to have a home and furnish it, you can spend it on land, homes and furnishings. There are so many things to do in SL and it all depends on where your interests lie.
Michelle Tompkins: Do you make money from SL?
Strawberry Singh: I do earn a little bit yes, but not enough for a sustainable income. The income I make from Second Life is a small amount that I use to pay for my domain, hosting and electronic equipment. I also invest a lot of that money in other hobbies.
Michelle Tompkins: If so, how?
Strawberry Singh: My blog and YouTube videos are monetized. I also sell shapes in the Second Life marketplace.
Michelle Tompkins: How do you like people to follow your adventures?
Strawberry Singh: They can subscribe to my blog and YouTube channel and any other social media they are active on. I am pretty much everywhere and share my posts as often as I can.
Michelle Tompkins: What is the name and purpose of your SL store?
Strawberry Singh: I don't have a physical store in Second Life, I just sell some items using the online Second Life marketplace.
I just call it StrawberrySingh.com so people know to visit my blog if they have further questions about the things I sell there.
Michelle Tompkins: What would you like the creators of SL to add to make the site better?
Strawberry Singh: There are so many requests I have for updates to SL but my biggest request was if they could somehow find a way to update the classic Second Life avatar.
A bit about the real-life interests of Strawberry Singh
Michelle Tompkins: How much time do you put into SL each week?
Strawberry Singh: Not as much as I used to. These days it depends on how often I blog but I would say about 7 to 10 hours a week.
Michelle Tompkins: What else do you like to do for fun?
Strawberry Singh: My husband and I love to go to the movies and the theater. We also love to go hiking and throw fun dinner parties with our friends.
Michelle Tompkins: You also blog on lifestyle stuff and you seem to love cookies. Do you have a favorite you would like to share?
Strawberry Singh: There is nothing better than a chocolate chip cookie.
Michelle Tompkins: What are some of your favorite foods?
Strawberry Singh: Lately I am crazy craving sushi and we eat that on a weekly basis. But I also love chicken tikka masala.
Michelle Tompkins: What are your favorite shows or movies?
Strawberry Singh: I don't watch television that often tbh. One show that I made time to watch was Criminal Minds. I love crime dramas like that. I am not updated on the seasons though, I just watched it on Netflix on my own time. As for movies, I love period pieces and movies with a lot of dialogue. On the flip side though, I also loved all the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and have seen them all at least 5 times.
Michelle Tompkins: What’s next for you?
Strawberry Singh: Not sure. What I am sure of is I'll be here for a lot longer. I'm still enjoying this ride.
All photos and videos here are from the permission of Strawberry Singh.