• New Blue Wiggle Evie Ferris on the set of Fruit Salad TV. (The Wiggles)Source: The Wiggles
As the first-ever Indigenous Wiggle, Evie Ferris hopes to inspire young Aboriginal kids who don't often see themselves represented on screen.
By
Nadine Silva

Source:
NITV News
30 Aug 2021 - 1:55 PM  UPDATED 30 Aug 2021 - 1:56 PM

Taribelang woman Evie Ferris started dancing almost as soon as she could walk.

By the time she was four, her schedule was packed with ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary classes.

“I remember after my first solo performance in the Cairns Eisteddfod, I fell in love with being on stage,” Evie said. 

But Evie rarely saw herself reflected on Australian stages or screens growing up, so watching Deborah Mailman on Playschool, and later Jessica Mauboy’s rise to fame, “meant a lot” to her.

“They had a lasting impact on me, I idolized them,” Evie said.

Now Evie is rising through the ranks herself as the first Indigenous person to join one of the world’s most popular children's entertainment groups.

“It's a little bit surreal, I was a big fan of The Wiggles growing up.”

Evie is one of four new members in an expanded lineup for a new series called Fruit Salad TV, launching on The Wiggles' YouTube channel.

Inaugural Blue Wiggle, Anthony Field, told NITV News, “we made a conscious decision to expand our cast to reflect today’s Australia, and to feature characters from different backgrounds”. 

“Fruit Salad TV is an important evolution for The Wiggles to reflect today's pluralistic society,” he said.

Being involved in the group's efforts to become more inclusive is something Evie said she’s honoured to be a part of. 

As the second First Nations dancer to ever join the Australian Ballet, Evie will be bringing both her culture and her blue satin point shoes to the new role.

“I think both ballet and my Aboriginal heritage are really based around storytelling, so being able to share stories, experiences, educate and advocate in a creative way will be accessible to everyone.”

While Evie will debut as a second Blue Wiggle in the new show, this isn’t her first time working with the group.

She performed in a song celebrating diversity, ‘We’re All Fruit Salad!’, released to mark The Wiggles’ 30th anniversary in January.

At the time, Mr Field, whose Twitter biography reads “Blue Wiggle since last century”, told ABC News he was thinking of retirement.

And he named Evie as his pick to replace him.

"I actually said to Evie, 'Hey you would look great in blue', and she said, 'Well my favourite colour is blue," Mr Field said.

While she’s honoured to have been considered to fill such big shoes, Evie told NITV, “I think Anthony still has so much to share with the world.”

“I’ve still got a lot to learn, and I’m loving my career with The Australian Ballet but I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

Sceptical of The Wiggles’ future, however, is Nationals Senator Matt Canavan who commented on the new cast publicly, saying the Wiggles will “go broke’’ for “going woke’’.

In response, Mr Field told NITV, “The Wiggles have always been here for the children, and that focus will always remain”. 

“By having better representation on screen, these “mirrors” help children feel seen, and they also help children to imagine a place for themselves in their community and the world at large – which means they can dream big and become whoever they want to be," he said.

Professor Michael McDaniel AO, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Indigenous Leadership and Engagement at the University of Technology Sydney, confirmed the importance of representation as an advisor on the project.

“The new group is truly representative of today’s Australia and will help to foster great social cohesion within the community, which paves the way forward to a brighter future for all Australians”, said Professor McDaniel.

Evie hopes she can use her new role to inspire Aboriginal kids who might not currently have the same opportunities she’s been given.

“I can be the face that inspires them to dream big and really go for those big goals, and believe that they can achieve them,” she said.

Fruit Salad TV will premier on The Wiggles YouTube channel on 4 September.

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