Larry, 51, and Jessie, 22, a father-daughter duo from Brisbane, open up about their emotional motivation to enter The Block.
What made you decide to take part in The Block?
Larry: With Jessie’s mum, when we were still married, we did a fair bit of renovation. We did a few personal homes and a few other properties. And after we divorced she kept going on with it, and Jessie, as she grew up, she was involved in that.
Jessie: So I have lived through all the renovations going on. But I haven’t able to be in charge before.
What made you decide to do the show?
Jessie: I am a huge Block fan, and I always have been. I don’t know how to say it without getting too deep…
Larry: She was going to do it with her mum – they decided to do it before the last season went to air – and then unfortunately her mother was killed in a plane crash six months ago. But she still wanted to do it. One thing led to another, and I saw what a Block tragic she was…I don’t know how it really came about, but I remembered she was going to apply as a mother and daughter, and people suggested she do it anyway with her cousin, and they said, ‘No,’ and then someone suggested me. And next thing you know – I’m doing it.
You must have a close relationship to be embarking on this together?
Jessie: We do.
Are you looking forward to spending this quality time together?
Jessie: Yes and no.
Larry: It depends what you mean by quality.
Jessie: We have a bit of a unique relationship in a way, because we are pretty close as father and daughter. I was close to both Mum and Dad. And I am looking forward to spending this time with him. But I am sure there will be plenty of little arguments along the way. But hopefully they won’t be too extreme.
Larry: We’re pretty unique in that I don’t think that whatever happens on The Block is going to ruin our relationship.
Jessie: We’re pretty safe that way…
Larry: There might be a few divorces coming, and some break ups, but it won’t happen with us.
Jessie: We are pretty lucky though, because if we ever argue, it’s over in five minutes and it’s forgotten.
Larry: You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family.
Have you come with ideas of what you want to do?
Larry: She has got so many ideas, it’s unbelievable…
Jessie:I have a few! I study Production Design at uni, so I love going with a theme. So I think that will be the hardest thing for me, deciding on one theme and sticking with it, rather than going with a whole lot of themes.
What do you think will be your strengths you’ll bring to the competition?
Larry: We are organised. And because we spend so much time together, since this whole process happened, we are in sync in terms of discussions about things. Every time I look sideways, Jessie is saying, ‘I like that.’ And I’m like, ‘So do I.’ One of the unique things we do have is basically what I said before, which is because of turning a tragedy into something positive, we’ll approach every day with a fresh approach. We will live in the moment. Even though we know how to plan and work towards something, every day is just going to be fun. We will put everything into every day , because we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. I have been around the block, so to speak, and there is a minimal generation gap between the two of us – children keep you young.
Melbourne is a long way from home. It's nice you've got each other…
Jessie: It is a long way from home, yes.
Larry: This is Jessie's first trip to Melbourne. I have been to Melbourne many times over the years.
Jessie: I have been trying to get here for a while...
It's so nice you’re a father-daughter combination…
Jessie: Yeah, I think it’s the first one.
You're young at heart then Larry?
Larry: I am. And I have grandchildren too.
Jessie: Yes, he’s a granddad now. My older brother has two children.
Larry: So I feel that all keeps you young. So with the internet, and Facebook, and that whole thing, this generation has been brought up so differently. When I grew up there was none of that, and mobile phones were just coming in and they were like suitcases! So people communicated by telephone...
Jessie: You are really showing your age now...
Larry: But I am trying to say that that sort of opens up my ideas too. I have all this experience, and she has all this new stuff. So as a 22 year old, she is light years ahead of my generation when we were 22. So she is a lot more mature for a 22 year old. And I still haven’t grown up yet.
Are you excited about getting the opportunity to spend this much time with your dad?
Jessie: Yeah, I am.
Larry: For the last six months she has been living with me anyway, on and off. Because I have been travelling…
Jessie: Well, sort of. I have been living with my boyfriend…
Larry: I have been in the house.
Jessie: Dad cramps our style…
Larry: It’s like, ‘When are you going to Sydney, Dad?’
Jessie: It’s nice though, that we can be together...