Warning: This article contains spoilers from the October 2 episode of The Masked Singer.
The Masked Singer fans can check Panda off their list. The adorable bear was the latest singer to be eliminated from the Fox celebrity singing competition, and now fans know it was former pro boxer and fitness expert Laila Ali behind the gigantic mask.
After performing Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” and the smackdown song, DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win,” Panda was sent packing. But her costume was one of the most buzzed-about this season, and it totally hid her identity — complete with a backside that was designed by special request.
In a post-show interview with The Wrap, Ali revealed that she went to great lengths to hide her real body type with the Panda suit as she worked closely with Masked Singer costume designer Marina Toybina. The undefeated boxing champ even requested her character have a “nice booty.”
“I told them to make sure the Panda had a nice booty. I was like, ‘Don’t just give me a fat suit just stuffed in the back looking like a pancake back there. Like shape the booty, give me some curves so that when Panda turns around you’ll see that booty!'”
Ali also explained that she chose the Panda costume because she wanted to remain “totally anonymous” in terms of her body shape and size.
“I didn’t want to wear a bodysuit or anything, because I thought just my physique alone would be a dead giveaway,” the daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali explained.
Ali noted that there aren’t a lot of women who are 5-foot-10 and physically built like her with a deep voice. She felt that showing her real body type would have been a giveaway combined with the package of clues given out by The Masked Singer producers.
“So I knew I wanted to be covered up and wear the fat suit,” she said.
Ali revealed that she also added jewelry like rings and necklaces to Panada’s look just to be “cute.”
Ali’s extra work to beef up her character’s body worked in her favor. While she was eliminated from the show, the judges remained clueless about her identity, with names like Oprah Winfrey and Queen Latifah thrown out by Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong, and Nicole Scherzinger.
As The Inquisitr previously shared, early fan guesses on the Panda’s identity also included names like Missy Elliott, Melissa McCarthy, Paula Dean, and Rebel Wilson.
The Season 2 cast of The Masked Singer includes masked characters Black Widow, Butterfly, Eagle, Flamingo, Flower, Fox, Ladybug, Leopard, Penguin, Rottweiler, Skeleton, Thingamajig, Tree, and the already eliminated Panda, Ice Cream, and Egg.
The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays on Fox.