Did you know that about Emma? No? Neither did I but recently I was very lucky (and very excited) to have a little chat with her about her new life with The Wiggles and I found out lots of interesting things about her and the way she spends her days. Not only is she gorgeous and bright and bubbly, and in my opinion the perfect complement to the existing group, she works like a horse, has an insanely busy schedule and tours and sleeps in a bus with 12 bunk beds! That, in itself, travelling in a bus with a bunch of "Wigglers", is no mean feat and would take a very special kind of person. Read on to find out more about Emma - a very special person and Wiggle indeed.
How did you feel the moment you stepped on to the stage as “the Yellow Wiggle”?
Our first show as Wiggles was up at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast and Simon, Lachy and I were so nervous. As soon as we came out on stage though all the children were dancing, so I think we felt relieved. The most amazing thing for me that show were some children yelled out my name and firstly I couldn't work out how they knew my name. It didn’t occur to me that children knew my name and I still get startled when I hear my name being called out. Most of all, it was an absolute honour to step out as a Wiggle for the first time. Wearing the yellow skivvy after looking up to Greg Wiggle when I was little is just a dream come true.
The Wiggles are older than you, which means you must’ve grown up watching them – now you’re one of them! Is that crazily surreal at times?
I am 25 years old and the former Wiggles are 24 years running so I was part of the original generation of fans! At the age of 6, The Wiggles were in town performing their stage show called "Wiggledance" and Mum had taken my sister Hayley, our friend Kate and me to watch The Wiggles. That particular concert was also being filmed to make into a DVD so the audience were told they may be filmed. Sure enough we all got copies of the VHS at the time and towards the end during the song 'Wags the Dog' the cameras cut away to the audience dancing and there you see my sister and I jumping next to our friend Kate all in matching dresses that Mum made, how embarrassing! Now when I think of this concert and wearing the yellow skivvy now I feel so honoured to continue this amazing wiggly journey.
You have definitely stolen the hearts of your littlest fans – do you have every toddler in town recognising you in the street, or can you get around incognito once the yellow costume is off?
It’s definitely started to become more apparent! More often it’s the parents and the grandparents and I have had a few approach me to say ‘Thank you’ for giving them some peace and quiet in the mornings. If I’m dressed up it’s excitement everywhere but when I'm not in yellow I get noticed because of my red hair!
It’s lovely to see you, as one of the most recent members to join the group and the first female, as the focus on the new Wiggles DVD “Emma's Bowtiful Day!”. You must feel honoured and very proud. Do you pinch yourself sometimes?
It is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me! I think particularly because I used to watch The Wiggles when I was little, sometimes it feels so bizarre. But what an honour to not only wear the yellow skivvy after my favourite wiggle, Greg, but to have the opportunity to carry on the wiggly legend and music for future generations of children.
On the new DVD "Emma's Bowtiful Day!" there are a selection of episodes from our first TV series of "Ready, Steady, Wiggle!" I was able to choose some of my favourite and one in particular 'Excuse Meow!' where we were on set and Greg Wiggle just dropped in to say hello that day on set and we realised that we both knew how to speak a little bit of Dutch. So he taught me an old Dutch nursery rhyme, 'Poesje Mauw', about a little kitten drinking milk and it was one of the nicest moments where Greg and I got to sing together and I just had to put this episode on the DVD, such a lovely memory.
This is probably an odd question but how much thought went into the design of your Wiggles costume, being that you are the first ever Australian female Wiggle? I, for one, love that it is a very conservative design, that it complements the boys’ outfits beautifully and is not in any way “showy”.
Oh wow, thank you! Well, Anthony asked me straight off ‘what do you want to wear?’ and because I never wore pants ever (and I've never owned a pair of jeans) we thought it would be more appropriate to wear a skirt. Before I was a Wiggle I always wore bows in my hair so I asked if I could include that too. For the big Australian arena show I have added sparkles to my shoes and bows which is just the most exciting addition for me. I guess you can never have too much sparkle.
The Wiggles tour of the US and Canada looked pretty hectic and must’ve been gruelling on all of you. How do you prepare yourself for a tour and maintain your health, fitness and energy (especially your energy!) during the touring months?
It’s a really big touring schedule where we tour around Australia and internationally for about 8 months of the year! For the last two years in particular we have been touring immensely and when we are back in Australia we have been filming new DVDs and episodes for our TV series "Ready, Steady, Wiggle!" For me, over the last three years, I have changed my fitness and diet quite a lot, realising what works for me. I make sure I eat yummy, real, healthy food and changing up my exercise between shows and even between tours. I have a dance background and lately I’ve been revisiting my love for dance to keep my fitness between shows. I have been doing a ballet barre at least every day, a bit of pointe to keep up my strength and pilates when I can fit it in.
How do you relax between shows while on tour?
There isn’t a lot of time in between the shows as this year sometimes we have had four shows a day. But all year I’ve been working quite intensely on my ballet training so in between the shows I have been strengthening my feet by practising pointe exercises in my dressing room. This year I have been through 10 pairs of pointe shoes already and I try to decorate them each in their own unique style.
What does a normal work-day look like for you?
Well, it just isn’t, but on tour the days do start to get a rhythm. When we tour North America we travel and sleep on a big tour bus that has 12 bunk beds. So normally we would arrive at the theatre about midday for a sound check, then get ready for a meet and greet with some children who may have special needs or are competition winners. Then do one show at 3:30pm then relax, dinner and warm up again for a second show at 6pm. A little bit of after show food on the bus then we will travel on average about 8 hours during the night and when we wake up we are in a new city! Sometimes if we are early into the next city we might pop into hotel rooms for a few hours. Then it’s brekkie, a quick ballet barre warm up then I have time to do my hair and makeup ready to start all over again.
What did you do before your days of “toot, toot, chugga chugging and driving the big red car” (and before your other Wiggles roles)?
May I say that driving the Big Red Car is one of the most exciting things I've ever had to do! I started ballet and Irish dancing after seeing the wiggly dancers on the early Wiggles shows. Ever since I have been learning all different styles of dancing, including jazz, tap, contemporary, hip hop etc. Just before I started wiggling I was dancing in India for some Bollywood film premieres, studying film editing at Sydney Film School and teaching dance in my spare time.
Name three of your most favourite things?
Goats! I love goats, particularly baby goats. I’ve always wanted one as a pet.
Green tea ice cream - it’s my favourite flavour and it’s never too rich.
Giraffes - I know I chose two animals but I love animals, so much so I sponsor the giraffes at Taronga Zoo. They are just so elegant, beautiful and have the longest eye lashes!!!
So, there you have it. Straight from the Yellow Wiggle herself. Isn't she amazing? And how completely funny, and ironic, that she unwittingly featured in a Wiggles concert DVD when she was just 6 six years old. To become a Wiggle was her destiny. No doubt about it. I think we will see her wiggling, giggling, twirling and sparkling until her hair turns a greyer shade of red. I know her little fans around the world would be happy about that!
Thank you, Roadshow Entertainment, for the opportunity to speak to Emma - it was enlightening, uplifting and full of warm, fuzzy, wiggly fun!
Be sure to check out Emma's new DVD, "Emma's Bowtiful Day!" - the perfect stocking filler this Christmas!!