Adam Middleton and Stacy Heyman are no strangers to marching to the beat of their own drum – or getting what they want.
And the 25-year-old, risk-taking creatives are out to prove they have what it takes to nail The Block.
"Yes, it all happened on a whim, but we're definitely glad we did it," reveals Adam. "It's an experience you'd never get in any other capacity of your life."
Aged 19, Adam dropped out of Massey University, where he was studying industrial design, to pursue his dream of working at the famous Weta Workshop.
"It was something I wanted to do since seeing the first Lord of the Rings many, many years ago," he shares. And it was a decision that paid off in spades. Within a year, he was working at Weta and now spends his days drawing as a senior concept designer on films, TV shows and video games.
Meanwhile, Stacy completed her design degree, but she too has forged her own path as a digital content producer, branching out as a freelancer two years ago. She balks at the idea of being called an influencer – saying she wouldn't use the term straight off the bat – but has a solid 45,000 followers on Instagram and represents top brands.
"I'm there to inspire people and, hopefully, have them aspire to something," tells Stacy, who is still juggling her social media work with her busy load on the Three series.
"What I love the most about my job is people asking me questions and for advice, and hoping I can help them out.
"It's certainly not as glamorous or as fun as it looks … there's no room for slacking off. Sometimes I'll be working 15-hour days, including weekends, just because I need to get stuff done.
"You can't go on holiday whenever you please or take time off because it's an everyday commitment. It requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline."
And the driven duo are no strangers to DIY. After meeting during their first year at Massey University, they became a couple four-and-a-half years ago, and purchased a small home in the Wellington suburb of Miramar in 2017. It comes as no surprise that on the day they took ownership, they decided to strip the carpet and underlay.
"We wanted to see if there were wooden floors underneath," Stacy laughs.
"We were extremely lucky because if there weren't, then we would have been in trouble!"
With their taste for monochromatic schemes and pops of colour, they've made their Welly home their own.
It was the perfect launch pad for their foray into The Block, but Stacy and Adam admit that the experience hasn't been without drama.
When first one and then the other was told to "shush" by fellow contestant Mikaere Gardner, Adam saw red and jumped in to put a halt to it.
"I'm usually a level-headed person, so to get to the point where I snapped takes a lot," he says, revealing that tensions were high after the hour-long conversation. "It just shows how stressful and frustrating the whole ordeal was."
But at the end of the day, the contestants are all after the same things – a level playing field and to win – and any drama isn't personal.
"We go into the challenges and everyone has a really good time," insists Adam. "It plays out pretty dramatically on TV, but we're all in the same boat and realise we've got to look out for each other at the same time."
While they've experienced everything from winning challenges to not completing their bathroom on time, the couple are dreaming of the future. Already parents to a Samoyed, Biko, they'd love to get another dog and invest in a second home.
"If we're fortunate enough to win some money from the show, that would be something we'd really like to do," says Adam.
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