We all sit in our lounge rooms and judge the contestants and their finished rooms on The Block – everyone’s an expert, until you’re actually a part of it.
When we got the call from Scotty Cam that we were on The Block the first thing we did was basically freak out! We kept thinking ‘What had we gotten ourselves into? Is this real?’. We had no idea about interior design or renovations besides quick paint on some walls and changing carpet! We had so many questions running through our heads but nothing could have prepared us for what we were about to embark on for the next 12 weeks…
So here’s what it’s really like…
Day one: reality
Day one on The Block was the hardest 24 hours ever. The shock and the realisation that, firstly, we were actually in Melbourne (and it was cold!) and it was actually happening – we were on The Block! Once Scotty gave us the first 24 hour challenge that’s when the reality all sunk in for us…
We were thinking ‘Where’s the tradies behind the scenes ready to come and help once they turn the cameras off?’ Well there aren’t any – you’re on your own! The producers just laughed as they handed me the keys to the car. They didn’t tell us where anything was or what to get. Everything is up to the contestant – us! We had to google our builder (and no they aren’t just standing there ready to jump in and start building), call all our trades and organise everything!
The emotional roller-coaster
Once we saw how the show actually runs and what we had to do, it was hard not to get stressed. When you see contestants crying and stressed out on the show, it’s real. The difference between some contestants and us is we just hid it well!
On the inside you have a million things running through your head of what you have to do – and on the outside you just have to as look calm and collected as much as you can. Each day they wake you up at 6am, you’re micro-phoned straight away and there’s a camera in your face. There is no privacy on The Block at all and they hear everything! Sometimes you forget you’re micro-phoned, but to play the game we learnt to shut up and write things down that we didn’t want anyone to hear. Just had to get the job done!
After tools down I always felt like crying, and I don’t cry that much at all! But being on this show was so exhausting even the toughest cookies crack.
Having respect on this show, and for other people will get you a long way – not just on the show, but in life, and that was our motto. We woke up every day on The Block and loved it! We had to have a positive attitude or we would have ended up hating the entire experience (like some past contestants have).
Yes it’s crap that you have no hot water to have a shower, that you don’t shower for days,and have to brush your teeth with bottled water. Yes you are exhausted every day. But you just have to remember how many people apply for the show and how blessed we were for this opportunity.
The funny thing is you actually get used to the camera, and you grow a bond and friendships with the crew and producers. Even though it was the hardest thing we have ever done in our lives, we definitely have some friends for life with the crew. They are with you just about 24/7 – they go through all the highs and lows with you.
After the first week, Kingi and I sat down and figured out our “roles”. There was no point in me staying at the Block doing labour duties when that’s not my strong skill set. Managing the budget and project managing was all me, and was just as exhausting as Kingi walking 18kms in the first challenge up and down scaffold!
We didn’t want to over spend like some contestants did! Every night I would always check our budget and see what we had spent that day and what trade invoices had to come in for that week.
We didn’t know our style when we first arrived on The Block. We wanted to wait and see the building first and grow our independent style every week based on the judges comments. The thing with The Block is you have to impress the judges to win rooms to get more money to finish the build. Contestants who say it doesn’t matter what the judges say and only care about whaat the buyers think are lying. Winning rooms takes a lot of stress away – and helps top that budget up of course. Who doesn’t want that?
Tools down & the all-nighters
How you see it on TV with contestants running around before the final minutes before Scotty whistles is real! We thought it was fake until we were running around cleaning and vacuuming before the last second.
Most nights we wouldn’t get to bed till after midnight, and at the end of the week we were awake from Friday morning all the way through till tools down at 9am on Sunday. At tools down we could finally go and have a shower before heading off to HQ for 3-4 hours of interviews about the whole week, and this is on hardly any sleep! Then we’d get to nap till about 6pm and then its back up again for judging with Scotty to see who’d win the week. Once the results were in we were back to the Block and more interviews about the results, to see if we were happy or pissed off! We’d finally get in bed on a Sunday night at around 11pm, ready to do it all again on Monday!
It’s scary going on a TV show that the whole of Australia will watch. You can’t help but think ‘Will people like us? Will people hate us? Will our marriage last?’.
We learnt quickly that you can’t control what other people think, and the best thing to do was to be ourselves. Being on this show definitely taught us how great we are at communicating, which is rare in some marriages! It made us stronger – if we can do The Block we can do anything!
You may remember Caro and Kingi’s apartment as Mater Prize Home lottery No. 264! Did you ever wonder who the lucky winner was? Check out their story here