Emma Watkins QUITS The Wiggles: Popular children’s entertainer leaves the band after 11 years to ‘spend more time at home’ as she passes the yellow skivvy to newcomer Tsehay Hawkins
Emma Watkins has quit The Wiggles and will pass the yellow skivvy to newcomer Tsehay Hawkins in 2022, the band announced on Tuesday.
The news will come as a devastating blow to millions of children around the world as Watkins – the only woman in the main Wiggles line-up – is considered the group’s most popular member.
The 32-year-old is leaving the band to devote more time to her other passions, including completing her PhD at Macquarie University.
Emma Watkins (second from left) has quit The Wiggles and will pass the yellow skivvy to newcomer Tsehay Hawkins in 2022, the band announced on Tuesday. Pictured with Simon Pryce (left), Lachlan Gillespie (second from right) and Anthony Field (right)
She said in a statement that the Covid-19 lockdown made her reassess her priorities, and she realised how much she missed being at home.
‘After 11 years of performing with The Wiggles, and nine of those as the Yellow Wiggle, the time has come for me to pass the yellow skivvy on,’ Watkins said.
‘Like many people around the world, the pandemic has given me time to reflect on what is important in life.’
Academia: The 32-year-old is leaving the band to devote more time to her other passions, including completing her PhD at Macquarie University
Replacement: Sixteen-year-old Tsehay Hawkins (pictured), who joined the Wiggles family earlier this year for its ‘Fruit Salad TV’ YouTube series, has been promoted to the main line-up
‘For me, that means spending more time at home, something that I didn’t realise I was missing out on being away eight months of the year on tour, but something that I have really cherished over the last 18 months.’
She continued: ‘I am also really looking forward to devoting more time and energy on completing my PhD that incorporates my ongoing passion for sign language, dance and film editing, and to having more time to work with the Deaf community.’
Emma is passionate about sign language and raising awareness of Australia’s deaf community after growing up with her best friend having two deaf brothers.
Her PhD, which she has been researching for several years, focuses on the affective, artistic integrations of sign language, dance and film editing.
She has also completed a Diploma of Auslan (Australian Sign Language).
Changing priorities: Watkins said in a statement that the Covid-19 lockdown made her reassess her priorities, and she realised how much she missed being at home
Watkins added: ‘I am eternally grateful to The Wiggles for giving me the amazing opportunity to be the first female Wiggle, a role that I have loved and one that has brought me so much joy and an abundance of bowtiful memories that I will treasure forever.
‘As The Wiggles continue to evolve and someone new now steps into the yellow skivvy, I look forward to seeing children and families embrace them, just as I was when I began. I wish The Wiggles much continued success as they continue to delight children all over the world.’
Founding member Anthony Field, a.k.a. the Blue Wiggle, said on behalf of the group: ‘Emma first began performing with The Wiggles 11 years ago, when she was cast as Fairy Larissa in our Dorothy the Dinosaur concerts and videos.
‘She went on to play other roles including Wags the Dog, Dorothy the Dinosaur, and as a Wiggly dancer. Then in 2013, Greg [Page] famously handed over the yellow skivvy to Emma, making her the first female Wiggle.
‘We’ve had an amazing time with Emma over this period and while we’re sad to see her go, we know she has many other passions she’d like to pursue, including her PhD and work with the Deaf community.
‘We thank Emma for her wonderful contribution to The Wiggles and wish her all the very best as we look forward to seeing her continued success with her other interests.’
More to come.