Hello yellow Wiggle

EMMA Watkins set tongues wagging last year when she was announced as the first female to frontline The Wiggles.

But not many would know that she made her first appearance with The Wiggles two decades earlier.

As a one year old, she was captured on film in an early Wiggles video, dancing away in the crowd at Sydney's Seymour Centre.

Watkins explored her love for singing and dancing as she grew up, taking up jazz, hip-hop, tap and Bollywood dancing.

She even dabbled in film production, studying on a scholarship at Sydney Film School, and doing her masters in Media Arts and Communication at the University of Technology in Sydney.

But it was not until 2010 that she snagged her major break as Fairy Larissa in The Wiggles stage show.

When long-time Wiggles frontmen Jeff Fatt, Murray Cook and Greg Page decided to hang up their skivvies, they nominated Watkins as an ideal replacement.

"I never really expected to become a Wiggle having grown up with them more than 20 years ago," Watkins said.

"It's a bit of a surreal experience."

Watkins said the group decided to get back to basics after the relaunch of The Wiggles, touring regional Australia with her fellow new members Lachlan Gillespie and Simon Pryce, and the only original Wiggle and blue "Papa Smurf" of the group, Anthony Field.

"We went to grassroots town with 100 people in them - and 60 people came along," Watkins said.

"People I went to school with are now bringing their kids to our shows; I'm loving it."

■ The Wiggles will appear at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on Thursday, December 19, at 10am. Tickets from Ticketek, phone 132 849.

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