New to Bounty?
Even The Wiggles have been affected by the global coronavirus pandemic but the group have found a way to turn this challenging time into a positive.
The children’s entertainers were forced to cancel their national and international tour dates earlier in the year but as Yellow Wiggle, Emma Watkins explains, that while they were sad to cancel their shows, there has been some silver-linings in this slower-paced life.
“Everyone is trying to figure out what their business can do in this time. We were quite disappointed initially because we had to cancel our tour. The first couple of weeks I felt a bit antsy because we’re so used to being in different places.
“I haven’t been able to sleep in the same room for this long for 10 years! Initially I wasn’t sleeping well because I was confused as to why I wasn’t moving,” she laughs.
30-year-old Emma says that the down-time has given the group time to focus on filming and to use new technologies to connect with fans.
“We love to make material that’s educational and entertaining for children and parents and we’ve had the chance to be responsive about what’s happening. I only get a glimpse of what parents have to deal with and I feel like it’s a responsibility for us as Wiggles to be able to provide entertainment.
“We’ve been able to do Facebook Live, Instagram Live and YouTube Live and our new series, Live from Hot Potato Studios is like a digital substitute for our live show. It’s a mini concert that children can watch it from the comfort of their own lounge room.”
While social restrictions are difficult, Emma spares a thought for all the parents at home with young children.
“I can’t imagine how hard it would be at the moment, especially with homeschooling, and mums and dads needing to be a teacher, a parent, an educator, a chef and all of the above.”
To provide more entertainment for families, The Wiggles have partnered with Big W for the Here to Help podcast series with Big W. The podcast covers a range of topics from safety in and around the home, to understanding feelings and being kind, the importance of maintaining a healthy diet, washing your hands – and most importantly, having fun.
“We had the Here to Help book series with Big W and we’ve made it into a podcast which parents can downloaded. We’re hoping it’s going to help people, especially parents during this time where they’ve got to fill every day with something,” explains Emma.
This extended period of time spent at home has also been beneficial to Emma’s health. The professional ballerina has been open about her health struggles with endometriosis and recently celebrated two years since surgery.
“It came up come up on my Facebook as a memory, and I was like, “Oh my goodness, two years!” It seems like yesterday in some ways but the pain at that time was so bad. And even after the surgery, I was in so much pain and I don’t have that anymore, which I’m so happy about.”
Despite being pain-free now, Emma says she still feels she needs to monitor her health closely.
“Every month, it’s like, really? Over the past two years it has felt like a constant thing I have to watch. If endo has been diagnosed you’re more aware if anything changes, like if it’s heavier and I note that down.”
Making some tweaks to her diet and exercise regime has also helped Emma’s health to improve.
“Essentially my body is a lot happier. In the last year I’ve changed my diet so much and that has helped with my energy and I feel a lot better. Having this time at home, it seems like a lot of my triggers are stress related. My tests do better when I am more still.”
“Growing up as a dancer I’ve been so used to going really hard and my exercise is very cardio based. I’ve now realised my body responds better to slow-going exercise like yoga that I would never have even considered under the umbrella of exercise. But my body has been better from doing Pilates and swimming in the last two years and I feel silly I didn’t come to that conclusion earlier, to be honest.”
Emma believes swapping to eat fruit later in the day has been a game-changer for her energy levels too.
“I’m a fruit fiend,” she says. “I love berries and kiwi fruit but I realised it was better for me to eat all my fruit in the afternoon into the night, and use that sugar crash to sleep. I wasn’t doing that before as I would start my day with a banana smoothie or something like that and then the sugar from the banana would make me so hungry. I couldn’t understand why I was eating twice as many meals as the Wiggly boys, I kept thinking maybe it’s because I dance more and I need more energy.”
Emma says her body has responded well to yoga.
Emma’s personal life is also going well. Following her marriage breakdown with Purple Wiggle, Lachlan Gillespie in late 2018, Emma says the two have remained the best of friends and she was happy to hear of his engagement to professional ballet dancer, Dana Stephensen.
“I was so happy for him! People see us on TV every day so they feel like they know you and they want to know you, but the reality is Lachy and I see each other pretty much every day and we wouldn’t have it any other way,” Emma says of their close bond.
“We’re so lucky to have each other and I’m so happy for him and Dana, it’s so nice. We’re in a different world from normal people going through a separation in that way. I was already friends with Dana so it’s really lovely that we’ve been able to continue our friendship.”
Emma has also moved on with a new relationship and he’s part of the Wiggles extended family. Oliver Brian is a musician and sound engineer.
In an interview with Stellar last year, Emma confirmed she was “in love” and that the two had worked together and were friends of four years before he asked her out on a dinner date.
“He’s a very calm and thoughtful person and I’ve always been interested in his mind and his take on life, and his morals,” Emma told the publication.
Emma says they are still going “great” and she’s grateful to be working with him during this time.
“We’re all here in the Wiggles studio and Ollie is doing our sound and we are grateful to have his skills during this time,” she explains.
“He’s playing music with Anthony and then he is able to record the sound and engineer it all at the same time. Our family networks have really come together at this time and we understand the importance of working together.”
Emma even says this quarantine way of life is something that as Wiggles they are all too familiar with.
“We’re all used to living together on tour so this way of life is normal for us. The only thing that is different is being at home.”