Emma Wiggle
Emma Wiggle

Emma Wiggle on life, love and her passions

Emma Watkins, famous for donning the yellow shirt in iconic children's group The Wiggles - and being the first woman to do so - has opened up about her passion for sign language, her personal life and having children of her own.

The 29-year-old entertainer learned sign language as a child accidentally - her best friend's two brothers were hearing-impaired so she picked up signs when they played together.

Emma Watkins, aka Emma Wiggle, in Sydney announcing she is the ambassador for Huawei StorySign app that translates children's books into sign language. Picture: Justin Lloyd
Emma Watkins, aka Emma Wiggle, in Sydney announcing she is the ambassador for Huawei StorySign app that translates children's books into sign language. Picture: Justin Lloyd

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Now, she is passionate about bridging the gap between deaf and hearing-impaired Australians, even studying her PhD in creative integration of sign language dance and film editing, and jumping at the chance to be the ambassador for Huawei's StorySign, an app that helps deaf children learn to read.

There is nobody better for the job or more passionate about Auslan.

The Wiggles. Photo: Supplied
The Wiggles. Photo: Supplied

Even as she chatted, Watkins' hands and face animated what she said, wildly gesturing and moving around in her seat, subconsciously signing as she spoke.

"I am weirdly really excited about it," Watkins told Confidential.

"It's just so positive in the way this experience is able to integrate families because so many deaf children are born to hearing parents and they may not have even seen sign language or know about sign language or teach it.

"Or it can work the other way around as well - if the parent is deaf but the child can hear it can be helpful so the child can learn."

Watkins even signs during shows. Picture: David Swift.
Watkins even signs during shows. Picture: David Swift.

Available to download now, StorySign works by holding the phone over one of the two titles that have been converted to Auslan - Max the Brave by Ed Vere and All About Spot by Eric Hill.

Once the phone has recognised the book, an avatar appears and signs the words on the screen.

Lachlan Gillespie and Dana Stephensen as seen on Instagram.
Lachlan Gillespie and Dana Stephensen as seen on Instagram.

As for one day having kids of her own, not only the millions she entertains, she expects her endometriosis will make it difficult but she would like to be a mum.

Watkins has been vocal about her battle with endometriosis. Picture: Justin Lloyd.
Watkins has been vocal about her battle with endometriosis. Picture: Justin Lloyd.

"All of my friends have children but I'm thinking I've still got a lot to do," she said.

"I mean, how hard is it for people to have babies now? The decline in fertility is so big at the moment, which is awful.

"I would actually have to try quite hard and I know with the endo I probably wouldn't be able to plan it out anyway.

"I've got a lot of things I want to do first."

Watkins said she and Gillespie are still best friends and she is supportive of whatever choices he makes.

Emma during a show. Picture: David Swift.
Emma during a show. Picture: David Swift.


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