Former Yellow Wiggle Emma Watkins explains why she chose to leave the children’s group


After surprising children and parents when she left The Wiggles last year, Emma Watkins says her time in the children’s group “was not without its challenges”.

In an interview with Stellar magazine, Watkins opened up about her time as Yellow Wiggle after announcing she would be parting ways with the character last October, a role she had held since 2013.

At the time, Watkins said she was leaving the band to spend more time with her family and focus on her graduate studies.

“Like many people around the world, the pandemic has given me time to reflect on what’s important in life,” Watkins said in October.

“For me, that means spending more time at home, something I didn’t realize I missed being away eight months of the year on tour.”

But Watkins told Stellar there wasn’t a singular, defining moment that she chose to walk away from the Wiggles.

“But I relate it to when I took some time off after having surgery for my endometriosis in 2018. I had two beautiful performers filling in for me on tour for several weeks.

“I felt terrible and kept thinking, ‘How are we going to do this?’ But the kids still came to the shows, because they loved the music. That experience helped me make that decision, because everyone was fine after that.”

Watkins said the height of the pandemic — coupled with spending more time at home and working on her doctorate, which incorporates sign language, dance and film editing — helped her make the decision to separate from the group.

“Part of the decision is knowing that I have even more to contribute to the world by being able to finish this research, come back and present it in another way. I knew I had to be fully involved in order to finish it. “, she said. noted.

After 11 years with the iconic children’s band, Emma Wiggle hung up her ballet flats last year.(ABC Kids/ABC Everyday: Luke Tribe)

“I gave everything to the Wiggles”

Watkins joined The Wiggles in 2010 and became the third Yellow Wiggle in 2013, following Greg Page and Sam Moran – and in doing so became the first female Wiggle.

“It was a great time. However, it wasn’t without its challenges,” Watkins said.

“It took about two or three years for people to accept that there was a woman in the band. It was a huge deal at the time.

“It wasn’t really liked. A lot of people were very territorial about the original band and in a way I could relate, because I grew up with that band.

Now – with 16-year-old Tsehay Hawkins pulling the famous yellow skivvy this year – Watkins said she has no problem differentiating herself from her Emma Wiggle persona.

“I see myself as a gateway for children to discover music and dance. We have a responsibility to introduce children to entertainment and I am that vehicle,” she said.

“I’m really proud of it. It’s so rewarding. But the time during COVID showed me that I gave my all to the Wiggles.”

Watkins said a return to children’s entertainment may still be on the horizon after some time away from the spotlight.

She told Stellar that she hadn’t ruled out possible one-off special performances with The Wiggles in the future, and began conceptualizing a new character, “Emma Memma.”

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Take a behind-the-scenes look at Emma Watkins, the first woman to don the yellow skivvy in The Wiggles

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