“It opened up a whole new world of followers”
On TikTok, parents and non-parents alike have been craving a member of one of the biggest kids groups in the world – The Wiggles’ new purple Wiggle.
John Pearce, 31, has been a member of the Australian children’s entertainment group since 2021, but last week saw a surge in attention, earning him the TikTok title heartthrob.
New attention has focused on Pearce – who sings lullabies and originals such as “I’m John, I’m strong!” — likely stems from a video Pearce posted this week in which he participated in a trend that stemmed from the movie “Zoolander.”
The trend is manifested by the meeting of two different people or characters.
Originally, Pearce wanted to film the music video with the original Purple Wiggle, Jeff Fatt, as the two were on recent tour together. When Pearce returned home and realized he had forgotten to film the clip, he decided to do it alone.
In the clip, Pearce’s purple Wiggle character clashes with her everyday self in a cut-off t-shirt, revealing her toned, tattooed arms.
The comments on the video all share a similar sentiment.
“Bro I’m gonna start watching the tremors and I don’t even have kids,” read one reply.
Pearce’s “Zoolander” video had more than 4.1 million views as of Friday afternoon. Pearce’s other videos as Purple Wiggle also had millions of views, and the “#purplewiggle” hashtag had more than 1.2 million views on the platform on Friday.
Pearce said he was flattered by the attention during a Zoom interview with NBC News.
“The last few days has definitely informed me about my online demographics. It’s awesome,” Pearce said with a laugh.
Pearce rose to prominence as a member of the singing and dancing group Justice Crew, which won season four of Australia’s Got Talent in 2010.
While Justice Crew was deprived of touring during the pandemic, Pearce had a stroke of luck when he met Anthony Field, who has been with The Wiggles since co-founding the band in 1991.
Pearce said a conversation at a pizzeria about the music business led to a friendship with Field, who invited him to Wiggles headquarters. They began a project that led to Fruit Salad TV, a YouTube-exclusive series featuring a diverse cast of eight Wiggles.
Eventually, Pearce was asked to come full-time.
“It’s very rewarding work…you impact the lives of these families in so many different ways and you see it in get-togethers and shows, from Australia to Canada,” Pearce said. “I love it.”
One of his favorite parts of The Wiggles is incorporating the dance skills and physics he honed in Justice Crew into his performances as the purple Wiggle.
“It’s really exciting, and for young kids, young boys in particular, they really appreciate the break dancing and the athleticism that I’m trying to bring to the Wiggles, and it’s kind of cool that they see me like the ‘Spider-Man’ or the Wiggles superhero,” Pearce said.
After last week, one thing is clear: it’s not just young boys who are interested in Pearce.
“It definitely opened up a whole new world of followers,” Pearce said.
Many videos posted on social media about Pearce include young women and mothers expressing their shock that their new celebrity crush happens to be a member of a decades-old group of children.
In one video, 36-year-old mother-of-one Evelien Langeveld fans herself as she lays eyes on Pearce during a Wiggles performance. Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” scores the clip, setting the mood as Langeveld appears to fall in love.
Langeveld, who lives in Sydney, said he discovered Pearce after his 21-month-old son Archie asked to watch the Wiggles’ Christmas version of the song ‘Baby Shark’. In rehearsal.
“That’s when I was like ‘Ohhh, helloooo John! Actually, mom doesn’t mind watching that either, “LOL!” Langeveld said in an email.
In another video, a TikToker suggested following The Wiggles on their tour. The band is scheduled to tour the United States this fall, the band’s spokesperson said.
“Back to my days of wiggles, who wants to follow the rest of the tour with me,” wrote TikToker @onetoomanytwizzlers.
TikTok user @KaylaMichelleFisher said her entire “For You” page is filled with videos from The Wiggles.
“I really fell for the purple Wiggles Thirst Traps,” @KaylaMichelleFisher said in the video. “I’m not mad at this. Keep it up, Wiggles. Keep it up.”
TikTok’s love for Pearce has been a slow burn, according to some of his fans. TikToker Daphne Flack, 22, said she remembered seeing Pearce on her “For You” page last year when people started calling him the “hot” Wiggle. But Flack, who is from Australia but lives in New York, said Pearce’s new videos have sparked a new wave of attention, and he’s all over his “For You” page again.
“He’s so precious and so wholesome and I just love him,” Flack said.
Pearce said he’s been moved by all the attention TikTok has received, which he says has only been positive.
He added that he was looking forward to meeting his new group of fans on The Wiggles tour later this year.
“It’s really cool, and some of the fans don’t even have kids and they say it gave them a reason to start a family because they want to watch The Wiggles, which is awesome,” said Pearce.
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