‘There Are No Villains’: Abbie Chatfield On How The Masked Singer Marks A Positive Turn In Her Career
The now 27-year-old has launched a popular podcast, landed her own national radio show, hosted Love Island's spin-off talk show Love Island Afterparty, been on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, and with her openness about mental health, slut shaming and female empowerment, has cemented her status as an influential role model to young Aussie women.
"It's amazing being on a show where I'm not a contestant," Chatfield candidly tells Refinery29 Australia over the phone. "You get to enjoy [it] and this has to be one of the best gigs in TV where you to come to work and just react. There are no lines, there's no autocue."
Chatfield is one of four judges on the Channel 10 show alongside comedian Dave 'Hughesy' Hughes, Chrissie Swan and Spice Girls star Mel B. It's their job to watch mystery celebrities sing in front of them while wearing masks that conceal their identity. Using the celebrity's voices and a string of clues, the judges then need to work out who the famous faces are behind the costumes.
"It's very fun and it's great to be in a show that is so positive," she says, comparing it to her experience as a host on Love Island Afterparty where there were some challenges because of the way in which dating shows are often produced. Having faced backlash from viewers in the past after claiming she received a "villain edit" on The Bachelor, Chatfield was aware of how Love Island contestants could be portrayed.
"I really loved doing Love Island Afterparty but there's still that feeling of like, this person is getting a bad edit or this person has done the wrong thing and I know what they're going to cop.
"Whereas on this [The Masked Singer], they're already celebrities. I'm sure they want to do well but they're not going to have their hearts broken if they don't win. It's just fun," she says, explaining, "There are no villains — no one is good or bad."
The Masked Singer was recently pre-filmed in Sydney over three weeks, and while Chatfield relished the experience, she admits she had some catching up to do so she could make the best possible guesses as to who's behind the masks.
"I was the youngest person [on the judging panel], and also with Hughesy and Chrissie having 20 years experience in radio, speaking to every single person from huge names to just someone who had a cameo on Neighbours, they knew everyone. And Mel B has met half of the Australian media, so I was kind of like, 'I don't know what's going on. I wasn't even born when this person was big'. It was a bit hard for me," she says.
In terms of preparation, Chatfield says she studied up on the Home & Away cast and sportspeople to complement her impressive knowledge of reality TV personalities.
"All I know is Real Housewives," she laughs. "So I tried to shoehorn in Real Housewives multiple times as I knew everything about them and I could make the clues fit."
For Chatfield's sake, here's hoping a Real Housewives star or a fan favourite from Summer Bay actually steps out from behind a mask. In the meantime, we can all play along at home as the clues behind the masks continue to emerge. Let the guessing game begin!