AceShowbiz - The Wiggles star Emma Watkins is quitting the popular kids group at the end of 2021 to focus on her studies. The 32-year-old singer and actress has spent 11 years as the group's only female member and she'll be passing on her Yellow Wiggle character to teenager Tsehay Hawkins in 2022.
She announced the news in a statement on Monday, October 18, which reads, "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. Like many people around the world, the pandemic has given me time to reflect on what is important in life."
"For me, that means spending more time at home, something that I didn't realize 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. 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, who grew up with her best friend's two deaf brothers, has already completed a Diploma of Auslan, which makes her an Australian Sign Language expert, and now she wants to help others struggling with hearing loss around the world.
"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 [sic] memories that I will treasure forever," she adds. "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 says, "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."
At 16, newcomer Hawkins, who joined the Wiggles family earlier this year for its Fruit Salad TV YouTube series, will become the band's youngest-ever member. Born in Ethiopia and adopted by Australians Robyn and Reg Hawkins at the age of seven months, she competed for Australia at the World Latin Dance Championships.