The Wiggles are getting some new faces!
Three new women, Evie Ferris, Tsehay Hawkins and Kelly Hamilton, are all set to join the popular Australian children’s music band, as well as one man, John Pearce.
In a statement, founding band member Anthony Field wrote that it was important that “The Wiggles continue to evolve along with our society.”
“The Wiggles were created during a time when early childhood educational concepts were the focus,” Field said. “As society has evolved, we have embraced the need for diversity and inclusiveness and want children all over the world to see themselves reflected on the screen.”
He said the additional four characters were the “first step” for the group in a “direction that truly represents and serves our community more inclusively.”
The team of eight is slated to front a new show, “Fruit Salad TV,” which launches Sept. 4 on its YouTube channel.
“Seeking to inspire a diverse audience with its gender balanced and diverse cast, Fruit Salad TV is sure to put a smile on the faces of children all around the world who see themselves reflected on the screen,” the band’s Instagram account captioned a post on Monday.
The newcomers represent a significantly more diverse community than their predecessors. Fifteen-year-old Hawkins is originally from Ethiopia, Ferris is an Indigenous Australian, Hamilton is Chinese Australian and Pearce is Filipino Australian.
Since 2013, the group has been made up of Field, Lachlan Gillespie, Simon Pryce and Emma Watkins.
The Wiggles have been performing since 1991. The Australia-based children’s band and their troop of dancers originally started out with Field and four other men: Phillip Wilcher, Murray Cook, Greg Page and Jeff Fatt. Several of them met while studying early childhood education.
Watkins was the first woman to join the band, replacing Page as the “Yellow Wiggle” in 2012.
In a statement to NCA Newswire, Field explained the recent decision to widen their group.
“I’d been thinking about it for the last couple of years and there’s no better time than now,” he said. “Morally we have to do this.”
The children’s act is also reportedly adding three new characters: Officer Beaples, a dancing police officer, Shirley Shawn, a non-binary unicorn, and Bok the hand puppet.