When Deni Hines took to the stage under an elaborate, glittering Unicorn costume on The Masked Singer Australia she couldn't have predicted how quickly fans figured out her identity.
Deni was a popular guess among viewers, with many citing her unmistakable voice as reason for their choice.
"Look, it's been a long time since Australia's played me on the radio," Deni tells TV WEEK after her unmasking. "I put out albums and they don't play them, but I don't really care. I've got a record deal in Japan and I release outside of Australia.
"But I was thinking, it's been a long time since Australia played me on radio, they've probably forgotten my voice," the 49-year-old says.
"I thought my voice would be somewhere in the memory of the Australian public, but not in the forefront - I didn't think they were going to pick it that quickly."
Deni, who's been in the music industry since she was 15, moved to Thailand with her husband two years ago.
Working in Bangkok and Japan with songwriters and bands, Deni has recently recorded a new album that she's excited to release soon.
Then, she'll be kicking off another tour in Japan. Though she wouldn't rule out a tour down under, Deni admits she's "done" focussing too much of her energy on Australia.
"There's only so much I can flog a dead horse, you know what I mean?" she says. "I've tried in Australia for a long time. I don't want to. I'm tired.
"I'll take Japan. I'll take France. I'll take Asia. I'm not bashing my head against that wall anymore, I'm tired. I say that, but with the world today though, I'm on Spotify and iTunes. I'll be there if you want it."
As a fan of the show, Deni jumped at the chance to appear on The Masked Singe when 10 approached her.
"I knew about the show, because I live in Bangkok and Thailand is on their third or fourth season. I was like are you serious? That would be so cool!"
Though, she never thought she'd return to reality TV after her stint on The Celebrity Apprentice Australia in 2011
"It was an awful experience for me. I thought I would never do another one. But the fact that I could do this behind a mask, where I wasn't being judged by the colour of my skin – because I got a lot of racist comments on the back of that other show – or the way I looked, or whatever... the world is very judgemental.
"So I thought, you know what, try and judge a unicorn! So I was really happy to be part of The Masked Singer Australia."
With tough security measures and rules about who she could tell, Deni says it was hardest to keep the secret from her mum, Marcia Hines.
"Security was a different level, but it has to be!" she reveals. "We were totally concealed. The hardest part was trying to keep it secret from my mother, you know she's been in the business for longer than I've been breathing. So to lie to her was tough.
"I live in another country, and I was in Australia for seven weeks and I had one dinner with her. One! But I couldn't tell her, I couldn't talk! So that was hard."
Deni also had to work hard to conceal herself around the show's guessing panel, and host Osher Günsberg.
"I know these people! The first day of recording when I came to set, as the unicorn, Osher came up and said hello to all of us and he shook my hand, and his response was 'ooh I know that touch'.
"And I never touched him again," she says, laughing.
"And Dannii knew my movements, and knew my voice," she reveals. "I sang on a tour with Kylie, and Dannii and I had the same manager we used to hang out in Melbourne, we used to hang out in each others houses and drink tea and talk s—t."
Fortunately, Deni managed to keep her identity a secret until the big reveal - which you can watch at the top of the article.
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Now To LoveJan 17, 2020