Goats, ballet, and working with her husband: A day in the life of Emma Watkins.

Want to know how your favourite celebs spend their days? Yep, us too. In Mamamia’s A Day in the Life series, fascinating people share everything from what they eat for breakfast to their pre-bedtime rituals.

This week, we find out what life is like for dancer, filmmaker and beloved children's entertainer, Emma Watkins.

Known for nearly a decade as Emma the yellow Wiggle, Emma Watkins' recently released album as character Emma Memma, who loves to sing, dance and sign, is already topping the charts. 

For our Zoom chat, Watkins appears in character. She wears a beautiful apricot dress and shirt, complete with a butterfly headdress and a beaming smile. She explains that the colour and design of her costume were intentional.

"I love peach, apricots and pink tones so it felt like a natural fit," Watkins tells Mamamia.

"We also wanted colours that would be engaging for our preschool audience; colours that were bright but also warm. Butterflies are used as a symbol around the world for the deaf community because they hear in a very different way and mostly use visual senses. Hence the butterfly designs and theme!"


Emma Watkins' day in the picturesque town of Robertson in the Southern Highlands of NSW starts early. As the sun comes up, Watkins is already in the car.

"I've never been good at sleeping in, as my mum will tell you! So I get up early and go to feed our goats named Strawberry and Cream. They are currently staying with a whole herd at a local wildlife sanctuary as we are having a fence fixed on our property. "

On returning home, there's time for a quick bite to eat before Watkins and her husband Olly take their four dogs for a walk around the neighbourhood.

"After 12 years being so busy touring, recording, and living in the city, I just love being surrounded by nature and starting each day with my animals. We live on an escarpment and amongst national parks and ancient rainforests. It's the land of mist and fog and it's just beautiful to be in the country."

Once the animals are happy, Watkins sits down with Olly for a creative morning of work.


"We moved here for the space and the peace and we spend most of our mornings writing music or talking to members of our small team about upcoming projects," she says.

"I'm often on video calls with Sue Jo Wright, our creative consultant. She is deaf and has been helping us with many aspects of Emma Memma, but especially with the signing. AUSLAN has always fascinated me as I grew up with deaf friends, and I would watch them communicate in this 'secret language' that I desperately wanted to learn."

After a long morning of work, passionate dancer Watkins fits in some physical activity with a Zoom ballet lesson from former Royal Ballet soloist, Iohna Loots.

"We met online at the height of the pandemic through a friend and we do an hour of ballet and drink tea! I'm figuring out as I get older how to look after my body and keep my strength and flexibility. I've been on a mission to rehabilitate and retrain my body and its wonderful to be coached by Iohna. We call it 'tea and tendus' and I just love her to pieces!"

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Lunch is a late affair but on busy days, it might be the main meal. Watkins says that she is the sous chef to husband Olly. 

"We often cook together, but I am the one chopping vegetables while Olly is head chef," she laughs.

"We try to eat healthily and have changed our eating habits recently to include more organic produce and where possible, we buy from local farmers in our area. Our neighbour makes lovely jams and honeys and Robertson is known for its potatoes. There's even a big potato in the centre of town which always makes me laugh." 


After making some terrible Wiggles hot potato-related jokes, we move on to Watkins' busy afternoon.

If the morning was for creative time with her closest team members, the afternoon is for life admin and online meetings with people from all over the world.

"We are working on a new television series, so I often spend the afternoons on Zoom calls with contacts in Canada, India, Los Angeles and New Zealand. But before the sun sets, I need to get back to the animals. I might be mid Zoom call and I have to wrap it up saying, 'I'm sorry I have to go, my hungry goats are waiting for me!'"

An added joy of driving to the wildlife sanctuary to feed her waiting goats is observing the wombats at sunset who inspired the song 'Wombat Wednesday'.

"There are about 30 wombats of all ages and stages being cared for, and they are such fun to watch as they busily go about their business.

"I love 'bookending' my day by feeding the animals, it's so grounding to have that connection to nature. It is ridiculously quiet and dark in the country too which I love. There are not even streetlights on our road, so the darkness symbolises the end of the day when I can switch off from work. 

"This total transformation into a slower pace of life has been great for my brain and also helpful in my recovery from endometriosis. When I go to Sydney or Melbourne now for work, I really notice all the noise and visual stimulation. It's very different."


Emma and husband Olly. Image: Instagram @emmawatkinsofficial.

The couple are so happy on their peaceful property, that Watkins admits they rarely venture out.

"We love being at home together. It is my happy place, and it's also very helpful from a creative perspective to just stop and be at home. 


"We love having friends and family come to visit and stay. Everyone wants to see the wombats!" 

As the sun sets in Robertson and the goats are safely secure in their enclosure from roaming foxes, Watkins' day is not yet over. The evening is when she fits in her study time, both for her diploma in interpreting AUSLAN and for her PhD at Macquarie University focusing on integrating sign language, dance, and film editing.

"A couple of nights a week, I get back on the computer for three hours of sign language discussion. There are 10 of us regional students in the Deaf Connect class and it's amazing. I might pick at some light dinner while I learn and then end my day with a cup of tea and a bit of chocolate as a treat!"

Watkins reflects that while her life is busy, she is happier that she has ever been.

"It was such a privilege to work with The Wiggles for 12 years and I am so grateful for that opportunity. I am still in touch with them all and I spoke to Lachie recently. 

"I am proud to be part of an amazing community of Australian children's entertainment. It's all changed so much too. Back when I first became Emma Wiggle, it was all very 'touchy' that as a woman they even invited me to be part of The Wiggles, and now look how far we have come? It's fantastic!"

The Emma Memma album is out now. Find it on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, and on the Emma Memma website.

Feature Image: Jarod Lyons / Instagram @emmawatkinsofficial.

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