Reality TV

EXCLUSIVE: “I’ve got the coolest dad in the world!” Mark Philippoussis reveals his son’s delight at watching him on The Masked Singer

Mark's son is his number one fan!
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In news that we never saw coming, it turns out retired tennis champ Mark Philippoussis is also an ace behind the mic.

Last night, Australians were blown away when it was revealed that the smooth-sounding Echidna belting out George Michael’s Faith on The Masked Singer was none other than the Davis Cup-winning tennis player Mark Philippoussis, aka the Poo.

Despite being sent home first, Twitter erupted with praise for the Scud’s show-stopping performance.

But there was no one more impressed than Mark’s six-year-old son Nicholas, who he shares with his model wife Silvana Philippoussis.

With the Melbourne-based family currently holed up in lockdown, Mark says coming together as a family to watch the show last night brought some much needed joy in an otherwise bleak time.

And now, in an exclusive interview with Now To Love, the 43-year-old lifts the lid on his Masked Singer experience, why he found his performance “cringe”-worthy and the exciting new project he has in the pipeline…

The prickly Echidna unmasked!

(Image: Channel 10)

Congratulations on your performance, it seems the general sentiment among viewers is that no one had any idea you could sing?! Where did you get this hidden talent from?

Thank you! It was incredibly stressful but it’s fun now it’s it’s over.

It was stressful going so far out of your comfort zone and doing something so different. But I did enjoy myself!

I tried my best. I wouldn’t call it a talent! I was able to have a couple of weeks with Gary Pinto, the voice coach of the show who is an incredible human being, and helped me a lot. He tried to relax me and help me focus on a couple of things to enjoy the moment.

It’s funny how you can have this huge plan but as soon as the lights are on and you’re about to start, everything goes out the window! You start sweating and you’re under a mask where you don’t have that much oxygen anyway – it was very nerve-wracking but I tried to get through it as best as I could.

People loved your voice. Would you consider releasing a single or album?

Are you kidding me? No way! I would need all the computer technology in the world and maybe I would come out sounding decent if the technology was good enough.

Can you tell us a bit about how you landed this role and why you wanted to go on the show?

It was brought up in January. It spiked my curiosity and I started to a little research on YouTube and looked at last year’s season. And I just thought, what a great concept!

The fact that you get a chance to sing but no one knows who you are. I think as human beings, we’re so quick to judge people at times. It’s nice you can’t judge anyone because you’ve got no idea who they are. That was very appealing to me!

I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone and push myself and I felt like this was the perfect place for me. I’m glad I made the decision to do it.

The Masked Singer Australia 2020: Every single celebrity behind the mask, revealed!

The triple-Olympian admitted he was “bummed” to be booted out of the show first.

(Image: Channel 10)

How have your wife and two children reacted to your performance?

Of course my wife being the amazing supporter partner that she is was very proud of me. She was the only one who knew that I was doing this show.

We sat and watched it as a family with my kids [last night] and they were glued to the TV. The costumes and the masks were so incredible! They loved the music.

They loved it and just at the end of the show, my son looked at me and had this big smile on his face. The most beautiful thing my wife told me this morning was when he went to sleep he goes: ‘I’ve got the coolest dad in the world!’ I’ve never heard anything more beautiful. It brought a tear to my eye. Just for that reason alone it was worth it.

My daughter [Maia], she turns two tomorrow, as soon as the mask came off she went: ‘daddy!’ watching the TV. It was beautiful.

It wasn’t easy! I was cringing watching it back last night, I had a pillow in front of me and my hand over my ears like a horror movie trying to get through my song.

Mark says his son Nicholas called him the “coolest dad in the world” following his performance on The Masked Singer.

(Image: @mphilippoussis/Instagram)

Can you tell us a bit about what goes on behind-the-scenes to make sure no one knows who you are? The security must be even tighter now as the show is being filmed in Melbourne while they’re in lockdown?

This year, the number one priority was safety for everybody. Everyone had to wear a mask at all times, sanitise, keep their distance… Then after that, of course was trying to keep the identities of the celebrities a secret.

We couldn’t talk in case someone heard your voice and they recognised it. No one would see each other at any stage. We were all as separate as possible.

How’s lockdown in Melbourne been treating you and your family and how are your son and daughter coping?

It’s not an easy situation but all of Victoria is in the same position. I feel more sorry for the kids in a situation like this. Yeah, my wife and I get a little stir-crazy at times but having kids, where they have endless energy and are unable to leave the house except for one-hour a day is tough.

Then you have to stay within 5 kilometers so it’s like the same route, the same block, the same walk… It’s not easy.

Home-schooling for a six-year-old is hard! Not being able to see his friends and go to school, that’s what makes me sad about the situation.

“It was stressful going so far out of your comfort zone and doing something so different. But I did enjoy myself!”

(Image: @mphilippoussis/Instagram)

You and your wife recently rung in your seven-year wedding anniversary. Did you do anything special in lockdown to mark the occasion?

There was nothing much to do, to be honest! I ordered flowers. I gave her 7 white roses – one for every year we’ve been together. When we’re together as a family, we’re so incredibly blessed. As long as we’re together, we’re happy no matter where we are.

I made sure she didn’t cook on the day so I cooked. But for me cooking is UberEats! We had Thai delivered to the door within 20 minutes. How can you beat that?

What’s next for you?

For the past few months, I have been working on a luxury basic clothing line. I love fashion and I’m excited to have a passion project to wake up to and work on.

Everything is made in Australia, it’s 100% organic cotton. It’s soft and melts on your body.

It’s called As We Create and release date has been put on hold during lockdown but I’m hoping it will be released by October.

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