The Masked Singer

EXCLUSIVE: Paulini reveals how she clawed her way back up from rock bottom after bribery scandal

In 2017, the singer pleaded guilty to bribing a government employee in order to obtain an unrestricted driver's licence.

By Anita Lyons
Australian Idol alum, Paulini Curuenavuli was unmasked as the Spider on The Masked Singer on Tuesday night, much to the delight of the guessing panel.
With a career spanning over 15 years, the Young Divas star was the perfect addition to the show, who touted the appearance as her "comeback to Aussie TV".
And while she has recently had mega success playing the iconic Rachel Marron in the hit musical Bodyguard, the journey has not always been smooth sailing.
In 2017, the now 36-year-old bribed a government employee to obtain an unrestricted driver's license.
After appearing in court, the singer was given a six-month suspended jail term in December 2017 after pleading guilty to paying an official $850 for a fake licence.
At the time, Paulini wrote a letter, which was obtained by The Daily Telegraph,, saying that she had escaped a violent relationship and lost her money on a failed record deal, causing her "foolish" decision.
Paulini Curuenavuli was unveiled as The Spider on The Masked Singer. (Source: Getty Images)
Now, in a new interview with Now to Love, Paulini recalls the intense media scrutiny she went through at the time.
"A lot of what the media said at the time was incorrect. You always have people creating rumours and not everything you read is true."
"It really used to get to me," the singer admits.
"I've grown up and I've got such a thick skin now and things like that don't bother me anymore.
"At first when I did go through all of those things, it used to break me down. It still does. We're all human. We still react to these things and it still affects you in different ways, but I've learnt how to deal with it."
WATCH NEXT: Paulini gets roasted on Have You Been Paying Attention. Story continues...
Paulini attributes a change in lifestyle to getting through the scandal and reveals that she has maintained a weight-loss of two dress sizes over the past few years.
"I work out so much and I try and eat as healthy as possible. I try to keep away from the more Fijian foods that I used to eat before because it's quite carby. I enjoy muy thai boxing and I love keeping active and I find it helps me mentally and physically."
While she has her routine down pat, it wasn't always like that.
"When we did the Young Divas, I did lose a lot of weight while I was doing that, but it wasn't a healthy way of losing it," she recalls.
"But now I've learnt more about nutrition and I love being active. It relaxes me and focuses me and it's good for my head."
Paulini in 2003 on Australian Idol and in 2019, during the successful run of Bodyguard. (Source: Network Ten/Getty Images)
Now, Paulini is focusing on a bright future away from the licencing scandal and says that this is the reason she decided to be on The Masked Singer.
"I haven't been on TV for such a long time, so this was going to be something that kind of got me out there again into people's living rooms," she says.
"And just remind people of who I am as an artist."